Category Archives: So Called Liberal Media

GOP Impulse Control Blues: Greg The Goon & The Insane President Posse

Trump spawn and Greg the Goon. Photo via the Toronto Star.

A venerable expression of disputed origin that I’ve been using for years has become a cliché or truism. There’s a reason for that: “a fish rots from the head down” is true. It certainly applies to the Republican Party whose members have gotten crazier and crazier since the Insult Comedian became its bull goose loony. One wouldn’t think that impulse control would be a problem for candidates and office-holders, but it is in the New Gilded Age. Trump sets the tone for his party.  It’s an ugly and discordant tone; not unlike skinhead thrash metal complete with guttural vocals. Tremendous. Believe me.

I suspect you’ve all heard about the special behavior exhibited by Montana special election candidate/rich Republican malaka Greg (The Goon) Gianforte. He assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs last night. Jacobs’ offense was asking a question about Trumpcare. Gianforte does not like the Guardian because they wrote a piece about his ties to Russian companies. (Why is it always Russia with these fuckers?) Greg the Goon has been charged with misdemeanor assault for body slamming the bespectacled journalist. He should be charged with rampant mendacity as his campaign’s account is contradicted by a Fox News crew’s account:

Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey witnessed the incident at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Montana, according to an account published on the Fox News website. After Jacobs asked Gianforte his question, Acuna wrote: “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.

“Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’ … To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”

That’s right, Fox Fucking News; the home of Sean Hannity’s falling ratings. I wish I could say I was surprised that many GOPers defended Greg the Goon. Said defense inspired a brisk rejoinder from Never Trump conservative Rick Wilson. Here are the first three tweets of a 12-part tweet storm:

Yeah, you right, Rick. The president* has brought the WWE mentality to national politics. Only the impulse control impaired party practices it. You guessed it: the GOP. It’s not very grand of them is it? G should be for goon from now on.

It’s a pity that Greg the Goon may still body slam his way to victory. The downside of early voting is that 50% of the ballots have been cast. The race, however, has been tightening and Montana has election day registration. The assault cost Greg the Goon some newspaper endorsements. The Missoulian don’t play that.

Greg the Goon isn’t the only Republican having impulse control issues. The GOP’s bull goose loony, president* Trump has them as well and in a more lethal form.

I am referring, of course, to Trump’s propensity to leak classified information whilst in the throes of braggadocio. In addition to his Oval Office exploits with the Russian Foreign Minister and GRU Rezident/Ambassador. Trump bragged to fellow insane President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philipines about submarine positions. This is a big no-no: loose lips sink ships, especially subs. Submarines by their nature are stealthy. It would be a mistake for Trump to tell the leaders of Britain, France, or Japan let alone a member of the Insane President Posse.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is pissed off at Team Trump for leaking details about the Manchester bombing including the name of the alleged bomber. May plans to admonish Trump but it’s unlikely to have any impact. One doesn’t learn impulse control at age 70. Besides, Trump never listens to women even Brexiteering ones.

We’re at a depressing stage in the history of the Republic. One of our major parties is in the hands of a leader who reflects all of its worst qualities. The few diehard Never Trump GOPers are not office-holders but people like Rick Wilson, Ana Navarro, Evan McMullin, and David Frum. Congressional Republicans are content to be pro-Trump as long as they think he’ll sign anything they send to him. The good news is that scandals like the Russian affair have a way of paralyzing government, especially when the Insult Comedian’s specialty is making things worse.

I’ll give Peter Gabriel the last word with a song from the PG3 aka Melt album. Greg the Goon certainly had a meltdown last night as well as no impulse control whatsoever.

At the risk of being branded a last word liar, I came up with the second part of the post title after it was written. The piece was too tight to disrupt, so here it is. Greg the Goon & The Insane President Posse is a helluva band name innit?  I see them riding off into the sunset on their pygmy ponies after checking out the dental floss bushes. You really didn’t think I’d do a post about the place Gus McCrae always called Montany without mentioning Zappa did you?

Oh, the Courage of the GOP

They’re going to finish this, one way or another, and then we’re gonna let them do it again.

Really, Nixon should have died in federal prison, and that should have been the end of that party.

Really, murdering Central American schoolchildren and nuns in order to fight an illegal proxy war should have resulted in the GOP being thrown on the trash fire of history.

Really, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans and lies to the entire world about why, that should have caused decent people to turn away from the word “Republican” in disgust.

Really, turning the entire mechanism of federal government into a way to interfere in the Schaivo family’s tragedy should have been enough. Shutting down that same government to oppose health care for poor people, stealing a Supreme Court seat from the first black president, letting their surrogates call that same president illegitimate, promoting Sarah Palin as a real person, I could go on. Any one thing, in a sane world, should have been the end of it.

But we let them up off the mat. We said BUT HER EMAILS and UNLIKEABLE and WHITE WORKING CLASS OPPRESSION, and we said BOTH SIDES and SINCERELY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEFS and we let them be a real party again.

They’re gonna get rid of Trump and it’ll be like it never happened. It’ll be amazing how much it never happened. People will say “Donald Trump” and it’ll be like us Internet grandparents saying “George W. Bush is not our lovable great-uncle, stop it” and “John Yoo should be in chains” and everybody’s all, “Why can’t you let any of that go, God.”

I mean, just look at this shit:

Like others in Congress, Comer would have a week at home on recess to reconnect with his voters. Typically, a recess is a time for town halls. But this time, most members were not holding any. Comer’s plan was different — to hold four over the next three days.

“The perfect storm,” one aide told him, even as Comer’s Twitter feed showed video clips of a few other members facing angry crowds and stumbling to explain themselves.

“Everybody is ducking for cover right now,” he told her. “Everybody’s had the same advice for me — cancel them.”

But he wasn’t going to.

Wow, he’s going to do basic constituent services. Oh, the bravery. Let’s anoint this fucking guy like he’s Shackleton at the Pole.

He cleared his throat and then started talking about the most controversial thing he had been involved with so far, his vote to repeal the ACA. He said the ACA had deepened the problems in Kentucky by opening up such wide access to Medicaid, the health-care program for low-income Americans. He said so many had signed up across the state that nearly 1 in 3 were now covered under that program — and receiving free coverage. Some of those people, he said, desperately needed that help. But many were feeding off the system.

I’m so glad we’re humanizing this racist piece of shit.

The second town hall was in a county where Trump had won 85 percent of the vote. This time, there were no protesters, and Comer went in through the front door of the courthouse. He was cheered when he walked up to the lectern, and when he said, like Trump, that he wanted to make America great again, he saw 75 people leaning in, listening, not ready to pounce.

So he told his favorite Trump story. Two months earlier, he had flown on Air Force One with the president on the way to a rally in Louisville, and hours later he was returning to Washington in the same plane — only this time, with an invitation to join Trump in his private office. “Yes sir,” Comer said he told the president, and there he sat for 1 ½ hours, across from Trump and right next to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), as Trump talked about his plane and his election victory and his health-care plans. The plane landed at Joint Base Andrews, and Trump had another invitation for Comer: Did he want to take the Marine One helicopter back to the White House? Did he want to see the Oval Office?

“Why hello, poor constituents! Let me brag about how Trump let me near him to talk about the size of his electoral dick! Doesn’t that prove we’re all right to take your health care away? SHORE DOES!”

He looked out the window and started talking about the differences between being a politician in Kentucky and in Washington, of civilities and incivilities. “We used to ride together, go to O’Charley’s, go to LongHorn,” he said of the Democrats with whom he served in Frankfort, the state capital. “That never happens in D.C.”

I wonder why.

He rolled up to the last town hall, in Calhoun, population 763. He shook hands with some police officers and the county executive, and soon was standing in front of 75 people. “Trump won this district by 55 points,” he was saying, when a woman interrupted to say, “That’s very sad.”

I don’t know what’s sadder, that a Trump victory somehow proves he’s not a disaster as if terrible people never succeed in this country, or that this douche thinks it’s a defense of anything.

But hey, let’s keep pretending Trump is some kind of outlier, and the rest of the sensible Republican party — these people who talk about government handouts and “turning around” a country with 5 percent unemployment and (finally, some form of) universal health coverage just because it was led by a black guy — is just trying to sincerely gauge whether people still love Trump and, by extension, themselves.

Jesus H. Tits, we really don’t want to get better, do we?

A.

Le Sigh

I know that Pepe Le Pew is in bad odor in many quarters, but he still cracks me up. He’s a cartoon skunk who sounds like Charles Boyer, y’all. He’s not real. One of Monsieur Le Pew’s catchphrases was, Le Sigh. And that’s what I did when I checked on the French presidential election yesterday. In this case, it was le sigh of relief that Emmanuel Macron defeated the malodorous Marine Le Pen. How do you like that? I’ve gone from Le Pew to Le Pen. They’re both stinkers, but only one is dangerous and it ain’t the toon.

Watching CNN cover the results gave me a mild headache. Instead of talking heads who knew something about either French politics or foreign policy in general they had political consultants and even a former aide to that legendary Francophile Senator Mike Lee of Utah. Yeah, I was being sarcastic there. CNN’s coverage inspired this tweet:

I make no bones about being an expert. I know something about French political history but my French is at the Pepe Le Pew level: rudimentary at best, stinky at worst. I do, however, know that every country has its own distinctive politics and the equation used by many before the election was nuts: Brexit + Trump = Le Pen for le populist wave win. Merde.

That formulation conveniently skipped the poor performance by Gert Wilders’ far right party in the late Dutch election. Populist nationalism is not a contagious disease. Each country has its own strain; in France, the Le Pens are associated in the public mind with xenophobes, collaborators, Holocaust deniers, and Vichy Fascists. Besides, Le Pen blew it in the final teevee debate. Bigly:

In the end Ms. Le Pen failed to “undemonize,” spectacularly. She failed during the course of the campaign, when her angry rallies drew the Front inexorably back into the swamp from which it had emerged. And then she failed decisively in one of the campaign’s critical moments, last week’s debate with Mr. Macron, when she effectively “redemonized” herself and the party, as many French commentators noted.

It was an hourslong tirade against Mr. Macron, laced with name-calling and epithets, and woefully deficient in substance. She appeared lost on subject after subject, fumbling on one of her signature issues — withdrawing from the euro — that is opposed by a majority of French. Something essential about Ms. Le Pen, and the National Front, had been revealed to France.

Mr. Macron, on the other hand, demonstrated a quality that French voters, unlike many Anglo-Saxon ones, have long found essential in their successful candidates: cool mastery of the critical issues confronting the country. Where Ms. Le Pen repeatedly lost herself in the weeds, Mr. Macron sailed right through them. Whether he will now be able to translate that knowledge into action is another question.

Word. There will be two rounds of parliamentary elections in June and Macron’s new party needs to elect some deputies or else he will be le screwed and Vichy Fascism will make a comeback in 2022. Le Pen did receive 34% of the vote in this rout, which is nearly double her father’s performance against Jacques Chirac in the 2002 run-off. The Le Pens aren’t going anywhere. They’re playing the long game.

The biggest difference between our late election and Sunday in France is that the establishment right did NOT support Le Pen. They supported the Republic and democracy against the Vichy Fascist threat. In contrast,  the American establishment right made a pact with the orange devil. I almost said “sold their souls” but they’re souless stinkers. Has anyone ever seen Mitch McConnell’s reflection in a mirror? I thought not.

I must admit to saying “I told you so” yesterday on social media. Every election is not about America. France is not America, and America is not France. Vive la difference. Vive la France.

That concludes this inexpert post about the French election. Hey, at least I resisted the temptation to call it Pepe Le Pew meets Marine Le Pen.

All this talk of Le Pen and Le Pew has given me le earworm:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Don’t Be That Way

Mon Oiseau (My Bird) by Orville Bullman.

The bastards did it. Bastards is too polite a word: the fuckers did it. I’m referring to the vote to strip healthcare away from 24+ million Americans. It’s going to complicate things for people with employer based plans as well. And the House passed it without proper vetting, public hearings, or even reading a bill that’s a procedural and substantive atrocity. In the past, the Senate has been where bad and/or controversial legislation goes to die BUT it won’t happen without public pressure. Pick up the phone and call your Senator to either support a no vote or excoriate them for a potential yes vote.

We return to our regularly scheduled Odds & Sods programming with this week’s theme song. Don’t Be That Way was composed by Benny Goodman and Edgar Sampson as an instrumental for Benny’s big band. Mitchell Parrish’s lyrics were written later. The first version is by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra. The second is by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. I somehow missed marking the centennial of Ella’s birth on April, 25th. Oh well, nobody’s perfect.

It’s hard to top Ella and Louis, so we’ll go to the break and regroup.

Continue reading

Sometimes It’s Impossibly Depressing

That these people have jobs, and I’m including Mike “The Next Hurricane Will Give the GOP a Katrina Do-Over” Allen in “these people,” though to be honest the evidence he’s even a mammal is kind of sketch:

President Trump got a 100-day gift on Sunday from the paper he had called “totally failing” at a rally the night before: The New York Times’ Sunday Review began a campaign to get readers to “Say Something Nice About Donald Trump,” and a cover story of the section respectfully channeled the Steve Bannon world view.
What’s going on here: Neither of the pieces appeared to be sarcastic. Both appear to be part of the paper’s effort to be more relevant in the Trump era.

Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist hired from the Wall Street Journal, debuted in Saturday’s paper, calling for more balance in the climate-change debate.

At the time Stephens was hired, James Bennet, the paper’s editorial page editor, told the Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone it was an effort to “further widen” the range of views the paper presents to readers.

It’s just sad watching the ass-kissing that’s going on, because: It’s not going to save you. Trump isn’t gonna be nicer and his people aren’t gonna stop screaming for your deaths in ovens (hey, remember that “range of views,” it was like last week) and no one is going to praise your courage and your might. It’s not going to do any good, PLUS your commentary will be a laughingstock. You’re not earning anything.

Just fucking get it together. We don’t have time for two, three years of trying to play nice before you can relax into the comfy recliner that is your horse-race coverage for 2020. We don’t have time for you to relearn the multiplication tables every damn summer. Republicans hate you, that’s not going to change, so as long as it’s a fact of life why not do something with it? Why keep trying to be loved?

I don’t see the upside for ya here. Even Mike Allen, who as I may have mentioned six thousand times is a piece of shit’s piece of shit, is grossed out by your behavior and that is saying something.

A.

Quote Of The Day: Bill-O Flunks Out Of Old School Edition

Bill O’Reilly is off the air, finally fired after years of allegations of egregious malakatude. Literal malakatude in his case. The last wave of charges were too much for Bill-O’s advertisers to take. That’s right: capitalism, not morality got Bill-O shitcanned. Whatever works.

Bill-O has been whining like a big baby. He’s using a podcast at his website as a mini-Factor. It’s more of a platform for whining about how the Media Matters Meanies and other evil lefties hounded him off Fox News. Apparently, it had nothing to do with his inability to keep either his zipper or lip zipped. #sarcasm.

He has a new book out with an unintentionally funny title, Old School: Life In The Sane Lane. Whatever, dude. That brings me to today’s quote. It comes from a New Yorker piece wherein staff writer Margaret Talbot discusses what Bill-O means by old school:

And there’s another value that’s being traduced here, one that Old Schoolers often uphold: hard work. Bosses who treat their workplaces as their harems are, among other things, lazy. They can’t be bothered with taking the time and effort to get to know someone well enough to, for example, tell whether that person might at all be interested in having sex with them. They crudely leverage their power over people’s livelihoods rather than courting them; in other words, they cheat. Watch some actual Old School TV in which the leering boss is not a figure to be admired. Spend some time, for instance, in the late-nineteen-fifties world of “Perry Mason,” wherein Perry treats his secretary, Della, with companionable respect, and evidently finds his dates outside the office.

As a man who named his cat Della Street, how could I resist this paragraph? Perry Mason, of course, was a mensch, not a overage whiny titty baby like Bill-O and his pal Donald Trump. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Bill-O joins the administration* in some capacity. For now Gum Spice’s job is safe, according to his boss, because his ratings are good. Perhaps Bill-O could become the anti-PC Tsar and lead the charge against the war on Christmas. I hear Santa feels beleaguered and that the missus is concerned he’ll hole with an AK-47 and hold the elves hostage until people stop saying “happy holidays.”

Unfortunately, Bill-O won’t just fade away into obscurity and “write” his bad books with killing in the title. I guess that’s because he’s old school. Speaking of which, let’s give Steely Dan the last word:

 

Quote Of The Day: Fractured Fairy Tale Edition

Political families are in the news these days. In France, Marine Le Pen seeks to advance her father’s odious legacy. In Syria, Bashar al-Assad is making his bloodthirsty father look  like a Hafez-assed dictator. In North Korea, Kim Jong-un is a third generation nutter. In the good old US&A, Ivanka Trump is trying to make a dishonest buck just like dear old dad.

It’s story time, kids, The quote comes from Sarah Kendizor in an article that begins with a fractured fairy tale:

Once upon a time, there was a dictator who had a daughter. The dictator, who came to power vowing to make his country great, enacted a series of repressive policies under the guise of nationalism. He persecuted the media and the opposition, used “war on terror” rhetoric to justify a clampdown on civil rights, maintained a close but complicated relationship with Russia, and built a kleptocracy that ensured the country’s riches lined his pockets.

The daughter seemed different – or at least, she wanted to be seen that way. She was an Ivy League-educated cosmopolitan socialite who married into a powerful business family before making her mark as a fashion designer and businesswoman. Like her father, she encouraged an avid personality cult; and like her father, she hid her own brutal practices under the pretext of a soft “feminism”, claiming to represent the ideal modern woman of her country.

I’m talking, of course, about Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov and his daughter Gulnara Karimova. That this description evokes the burgeoning Trump political dynasty should concern you.

It does indeed. I was delighted that Ivanka was booed in Berlin for defending her pussy grabbing pop’s record on women’s issues. I was not surprised that MSM toady Chris Cillizza admonished the boo-birds. His logic does not apply to Ivanka who has an office in the White House and whose husband is the president’s* wispy renaissance man. They’re NOT non-combatants like past first families. They’re in the fray and subject to scrutiny. I think CNN hired the former Mr. Fix so the Trumpers would think they’re fair and balanced, not fake news. It won’t work but Cillizza is a world-class bootlicker so I guess it qualifies as winning.

If you’re on Twitter and don’t follow Sarah Kendizor, it’s time to do so. She’s an expert on 21st Century authoritarianism. It’s a depressingly relevant subject in America’s New Gilded Age.

Since I borrowed Fractured Fairy Tales from the Bullwinkle Show, it’s only fair to present an episode about another misbegotten, greedy ruler:

Instead of giving the mellifluous voice of Edward Everett Horton the last word, here are the Hollies with a song that describes the first 100 days of the current occupant:

Donald Trump *is* King Midas In Reverse. A new nickname is born and you are present at the creation. It’s a helluva catchy tune as well.

You Also Can’t Suck

Guys, if you want to have a good news organization, it can’t be bullshit, or be based on bullshit. It’s amazing to you all, I know: 

The company has been unraveling—slowly and spectacularly—for more than a decade now. But this particular moment is a good one for reflecting on how Yahoo’s troubles are likely to be replicated in a wave across the web, and soon, among businesses like news organizations that rely heavily on advertising revenue for their survival.

Print newspapers will continue to fold, but Yahoo’s demise is a signal that web-native companies are next. If you run a business that relies on digital-advertising revenue for an outsized portion of your funding, you need to find new streams of revenue. Now. It may already be too late.

Unless you’re Facebook or Google, that is.

Print newspapers will continue to fold, of course, since they continue to rely on shoving fistfuls of cash up the bungholes of idiot CEOs and clueless consultants and screwing over their paying customers. It has nothing to do with digital ad revenue, which you don’t need a roomful of Yalies to tell you was never going to take the place of the the print ads that aren’t coming back. Learning to live on less than 17 percent profit margins 15 years ago might have saved them, but they didn’t want to do that. Easier to drive those profits into the negative, blame the customers and newsroom, and fuck off to Aruba for a “quarterly meeting.”

This shit will make me angry forever because none of it had to happen.

A.

I Can’t Believe this Garbage Shithouse Organization Housed Shit and Garbage!

Filthy hippies were once derided for cautioning that treating Fox News like a legitimate part of the journalism brotherhood would lead nowhere good, and HOO BOY WHO COULDA KNOWED? 

The letter also includes new allegations of racism in Fox News’s accounting department. According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Slater demanded that black employees hold “arm wrestling matches’” with white female employees in her office, just down the hall from Ailes’s office on the 2nd floor of Fox headquarters. “Forcing a black woman employee to ‘fight’ for the amusement and pleasure of her white superiors is horrifying. This highly offensive and humiliating act is reminiscent of Jim Crow era battle royals,” the letter says, referring to the practice of paying black men to fight blindfolded at carnivals for white spectators’ entertainment. The lawyers argue that Efinger bragged about wanting to “fight” a black employee.

It’s almost like there was a culture of the kind of virulent racism that lies under the entire Republican party managed to somehow magically infiltrate the conservative news network! How could that have happened? It surely couldn’t be that building a brand on the back of the resentful white male who conflates “black person who cut me off in traffic while playing ‘raps’ on his stereo” with “all people of color everywhere” could lead to a general contempt for racial minorities that infected every department including accounting, right?

I mean, Jesus, it was like magic, how it managed to be this cesspool of sexist power-worship and racism when that’s all that was on its air, day after day after day after day.

A.

Richard Cohen Finds a Nut

HAHAHA THIS IS ALL SO FUNNY RICHARD COHEN: 

In the past week or so, Donald Trump has decided not to be totally Donald Trump. He has changed his positions on many issues, often by simply contradicting himself and sometimes by repudiating what he once said. However he does it, it comes down to this: If policies were gender identities, Trump wouldn’t know which bathroom to use.

Okay, that makes TOTAL sense, except that transgender people generally do not describe themselves as having made the choice to be trans, whereas Trump has told us at least 49 times that he chose to be an anus.

And … is there not another analogy you’d reach for? In times like these? In the first place, I doubt Trump takes as much time studying policy as anyone takes finding the shitter of their choice. In the second place, just shut up, Richard Cohen, you’re not tall enough to be on this ride.

The column gets dumber.

His foreign policy 180s are welcome, but those were not what won the hearts of his ardent supporters. They wanted something more — jobs, affordable health care and a general sense that Washington would once again be their capital.

I can’t imagine what convinced them Washington WASN’T their capital the past 8 years. Can’t imagine it at all.

During the campaign, he lambasted both Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton for their relationship with the bank. “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs,” Trump said. “They have total, total control over [Cruz]. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.” Now, though, the total controllers are prominent in the administration — Steven Mnuchin at Treasury and, in the White House itself, Dina Powell, the aforementioned Cohn and even the odd-man-out, Stephen K. Bannon.

This reversal by personnel was not triggered by unforeseen events — Syria’s use of a nerve agent, for instance. It is, instead, a strong indication that Trump’s campaign was a lie. His wooing of the American working class was insincere.

If only someone had warned you about 27 bajillion times, including on national television in some grand fashion. Like with a speech, before a political convention. Then you’d be spared this astonishment.

“Strong indicator.” What was your first clue you weren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy? The munchkins or the Technicolor?

Maybe if someone had spent less time before the election looking at that wicked, wicked female and yelling BUT HER E-MAILS AND THE FLU we could have figured out that Trump was a train wreck from day one.

A.

Even For Politico This Is So Gross: Happy Easter!

This isn’t how God works: 

President Donald Trump has increasingly infused references to God into his prepared remarks — calling on God to bless all the world after launching strikes in Syria, asking God to bless the newest Supreme Court Justice, invoking the Lord to argue in favor of a war on opioids.

That … isn’t finding religion. It’s finding a sales pitch.

For, let us be clear, war, war and more war.

“I’ve always felt the need to pray,” Trump said in that late-January interview. “The office is so powerful that you need God even more because your decisions are no longer, ‘Gee I’m going to build a building in New York.’ … These are questions of massive, life-and-death.”

FAITH IS NOT FIRE INSURANCE. You do not get to torch the place and be like, “Well, I prayed about it.” This is why I find so much born-again rhetoric bankrupt. There’s no such thing as a clean slate.

“I believe the weight of the office that he now holds and the burden of responsibility that it carries is humbling him somewhat and causing him to acknowledge and admit his reliance on God,” said Darrell Scott, an Ohio pastor who has known Trump for six years and supported Trump’s campaign and served on his transition team.

FAITH IS ALSO NOT A BOOTY CALL. (Says the girl who frequently Sees Other Deities yet winds up outside church with a boombox over her head every December blaring O Come O Come Emanuel, but I’m me, and not the president, and I’ve never claimed to be anything but a sinner who does not expect forgiveness.)

The White House did not respond to questions about whether Trump has been attending church as president, and if he has, it has been without the knowledge of White House pool reporters.

Still, Trump’s frequent invocations of God in his remarks as of late are a change from both his past life as a businessman and his time on the campaign trail.

So he hasn’t been going to church (which, let’s be fair, no more makes you a Christian than pulling into the garage makes you a car), he’s pursued policies of war and suffering and exclusion (which actually SHOULD disqualify you from from the Flock), but he’s USING MOAR JESUS WORDS HERE ARE A THOUSAND POLITICO ANALYSIS THINGS.

I hate our political journalism right now.

A.

Sean Spicer’s Odyssey From Gum Spice To Malaprop Spice

I planned to call this post Gum Spice Is Gassed. No, not the kind of gas they used at the Holocaust Centers. I was referring to the fact that dignity wraith Sean Spicer appears to be used up and spit out like the Orbit gum he crams in his gob. He’s gassed. He’s done.

Gum Spice’s meltdown Tuesday was the worst since Presidents have had press secretaries dating back to 1929. He made Ron Ziegler look like JFK’s crack spokesdude, Pierre Salinger. You’ve all heard Spicer’s inanely incoherent contortions on Assad, Hitler, and chemical weapons. Subsequent explanations have only made matters worse.

The only way Spicer survives in his job is if Trump gets stubborn over the calls for his spokesman’s pinhead. The Insult Comedian likes to do his own firing, thank you yery much, or as he would say very, very, very, very, very, very much. I do wish he would vary his verys…

If you get a chance to see Rachel Maddow’s Tuesday segment on the Spicer incident, it’s must see teevee. It turns out that Gum Spice has a hard time speaking the language, which is odd given his chosen profession: political flack. He fucks up names: he keeps calling the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Trumbull. His name is Turnbull. T-U-R-N-B-U-L-L. I wonder if there are any flash cards left over at the White House from the Reagan years: they helped Ronnie, why not Seannie? Spicer also has an eerie inability to pronounce the name of the dictator he’s denouncing: Bashar al-Assad.

Since Spicer cannot pronounce, he should renounce his title as Press Secretary. End of Jesse Jackson/Johnnie Cochran moment. Public speaking *is* hard but that’s what he does for a living. Spicer needs a new First Draft nickname as well. I’ve been calling him Gum Spice in honor of his gum habit and my post about it, Sean Spicer Can Lie and Chew Gum at the Same Time. It turns out that I got the lying part right, but when it comes to speaking he’s hopeless. That’s why I am giving him an alternate First Draft nickname, Malaprop Spice. It may be the reason he gets shitcanned: the Insult Comedian is in charge of malaprops in this administration*, thank you very, very, very much.

Every time I think Team Trump cannot be more incompetent, they top themselves. That’s what happens when an entire administration* wings it. I may not be a prophet (with or without honor) but I wrote a piece about Trump in December, 2015 entitled Winging It With The Insult Comedian:

Trump’s tendency to spout off and utter unfiltered bullshit is the most alarming thing about his candidacy, not his ideology. The Insult Comedian has no ideology: the only thing he believes in is himself and the roar of the crowd. The last thing a country with the world’s largest military needs is a guy who wings it as the Oval One. Impulse control is a very important quality for any President to have. The Insult Comedian has none, he’s like the kid who eats all his Halloween candy in one sitting and wonders why he’s puking his guts out.

I stand by my prediction in that post that this would blow up in Trump’s face. I certainly was off in my timing but it’s happening as I write. Between lies and incompetence, the Trump administration* has no credibility left. The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman argues that Trump has had five Syria policies and counting in the last two weeks. He’s absolutely right. It’s what happens when you’re winging it with the Insult Comedian.

Back to Malaprop Spice, the artist formerly known as Gum Spice. I almost feel sorry for him right now. Almost. He’s a beaten man. He’s licked…all over.

Rumor has it that the Trumpers want to hire Reagan’s White House spokesman, Larry Speakes, to replace the man who has gummed up the works. Speakes had the best name ever for someone in his position. He was never formally White House press secretary because Jim Brady continued to hold that title after being shot. Besides, it was more fun to call him White House spokesman, Larry Speakes.

The problem is that spokesman Speakes died in 2014. Perhaps Bannon, Jared, Ivanka, Kellyanne, and Reince can have a seance and bring back spokesman Speakes. I have spoken.

Repeat after me: if you cannot pronounce, you must renounce.

Wingnut Publisher Now Sad Publishing So Wingnutty

Another wingnut sees money to be made bemoaning the State of Things Today, and another company jumps to pay him money for it: 

During his 30 years in editing, Adam Bellow has handled some of the most controversial and notorious right-wing books of our era, including “The Bell Curve” by Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein, Dinesh D’Souza’s “Illiberal Education” and David Brock’s “The Real Anita Hill.”

But last fall, in the middle of one of the most acrimonious and divisive presidential elections in American history, Mr. Bellow, 60, made a surprising pivot. He left his post as editorial director of Broadside, a conservative imprint at HarperCollins, and started a new imprint at St. Martin’s Press, where he plans to edit authors from across the political spectrum.

As a well-known neoconservative culture warrior, Mr. Bellow is an unlikely emissary for fostering bipartisan dialogue. He’s not softening his views, or renouncing the right-wing polemics he’s edited over the decades, some of which continue to kick up controversy. (Last month, Mr. Murray faced violent protests when he gave a speech at Middlebury College in Vermont.)

Instead, Mr. Bellow said he hoped to bring Democrats and Republicans together — or at least onto the same publishing list. “I saw an opportunity to get myself out of the box that I was in,” he said. “Both sides need to re-examine their assumptions, and I want to sponsor that process.”

Both sides need to re-examine their assumptions, even though I made shitloads of money on one side explicitly NOT examining any assumptions, but hey, at least I admit it!

Mr. Bellow played a role in widening the ideological divisions he now maintains he wants to bridge. At Broadside, which he founded in 2010, he edited partisan books by Donald Rumsfeld and Ted Cruz. He helped fuel the right’s attacks on Hillary Clinton as a corrupt career politician, with works like Daniel Halper’s “Clinton, Inc.” and Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash.”

“I plead guilty,” he said. “If it’s true that our public culture has become overly polarized and people no longer argue in a respectful way with one another, I’m sure I had something to do with that.”

You know, I’m not so much mad at this guy as I am at the people who looked at his schtick and said, “Okay, let’s give him a giant pile of money to buy books with.”

This is the natural consequence of us constantly talking about “partisan politics” and America’s “political polarization” as if the state of us just happened, like the weather, as if we all just woke up one morning batshit crazy and full of rage at poor people’s grocery carts. The people who made us this way get to slither on out of the swamp they created and stocked with piranhas, clucking their tongues at how terrible it is to be here these days.

(See also Sykes, Charlie, and “talk radio is terrible now I’m done making money from wrecking Wisconsin.” I swear, every time some liberal approving retweets that asshole into my timeline I want to make them have holiday arguments with my relatives, who all think Charlie is just the shiznit because he helped bust up those dastardly public employee unions back in ’11. The north remembers, motherfucker.)

We have been sold this, for decades, sold a story of America that has never been remotely true, sold a story of selfishness and resentment and paralysis in the face of need, sold a story of government ineptitude and waste and abuse beginning in the 19goddamn30s when those commies wanted to put on plays with YOUR MONEY. We have been offered, night after night at our dinner tables, a meal of rotting meat and blighted potatoes and when some of us got hungry enough to eat it, NOW comes someone to tell us all it’s time to get healthy again?

Just spare me the paychecks written to these types, when I can throw a rock and hit a dozen writers and editors and publishers who have never been wrong about anything political in the last two decades, who are not morally bankrupt or punishingly stupid, who are working day jobs and night jobs to keep writing because there is no Big Publishing Money for being FUCKING RIGHT THE FIRST TIME AROUND.

If you want a job describing the wreckage these days, it seems you have to have had a hand on the detonator.

A.

Let’s Use Death in Syria to Obsess over Trump’s ‘Character’

For shit’s sake, this nonsense: 

Most of what President Trump has done and said in his brief time in office has bordered on squalid, incompetent or unbalanced. The bold moral clarity of his missile attack against a Syrian air base involved in chemical warfare deepens rather than resolves the mystery of the real character of this president.

He started his campaign calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers.

He thinks you can grab women by the pussy.

He wants to ban Muslim refugees from America based on their religion.

He has told you who he is, over and over and over. At this point even the guys from True Detective are like, “I think we have this figured out.”

I suspect that Trump had something like that deterrent effect in mind as he ordered the missile strikes shortly before he sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Palm Beach to discuss the urgent threat to global stability presented by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. It is much more difficult now for Kim Jong Un — and Xi — to dismiss Trump’s warnings as bluster.

They struck an airfield from which planes were flying again later. Trump spent a year on the trail promising to “bomb the shit” out of anyone who looked at him funny. I think Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping know exactly what they’re dealing with.

Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson know the Arab, Sunni-led regimes of the Middle East well. Unlike the anti-Muslim activists on Trump’s White House staff, they are well-positioned to fashion a Middle East policy that should recognize and respond to the real dangers that Iran and Syria pose, without letting their Sunni clients’ fears of, and paranoia about, Shiites lead the United States deeper into dangerous quagmires like the civil war in Yemen.

They’re only “well-positioned” in the sense that their offices are physically within shouting distance of Trump. They have the ability to craft a policy … I WOULD FUCKING HOPE SO, given they’re the secretaries of State and Defense. The problem isn’t that Trump had no one to write nice memos. The problem is that the asshole can’t read.

Perhaps Trump will come to see the wisdom in Charles de Gaulle’s adage that nations do not have friends. Instead, they have interests.

Perhaps I’ll suddenly become a DD cup and learn to make soufflés. All things are possible in Christ. More likely, the first time Trump’s asked about Charles de Gaulle, he’ll respond that de Gaulle is doing a splendid job for us and should be recognized for all his hard work, because it’s early days in this presidency and I don’t think they’re that far down in the flash card deck.

In his statement announcing the U.S. retaliatory assault on the airfield from which the chemical attack that killed at least 80 Syrian civilians was launched, Trump characteristically emphasized his personal revulsion and horror at the images of the gas attack.

But he also identified the “vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” It is a clear commitment to principle that has been uncommon in his presidency.

And which does not mean dick without massive amounts of follow-up and a consistency that is beyond Trump, demonstrable if you have paid any attention to the candidacy and presidency that currently exists, instead of the one in your head.

A missile strike does not a policy or a worldview make. Giving this spasm of violence real meaning will depend on Trump showing a consistency, discipline and attention to detail that have been foreign to him in two-plus months in office.

He has instead publicly shown a blithe inability to care about the consequences of what he says and does. He has seemed content to say, tweet or do whatever pleases him at the moment, and let others clean up after him.

But presidents, like all humans, are the product of their experiences as well as the creature of the character they bring into office.

I spent 8 years of Bush’s presidency watching the national press try to convince the public that a deeply unintelligent human being would suddenly transform himself into Alexander Hamilton, and 8 years of the Obama administration watching the national press make a middle-of-the-road safe-as-houses moderate into the second coming of Eugene Debs. I didn’t think they had this much fiction still lurking in their souls.

I doubt that Trump will ever be the kind of person that many of us can admire. His blatant disregard for his monumental conflicts of interest — his surrender to greed, in other words — is too great for that. But if he can learn to let people who know what they are about be about it, there may be hope for him yet.

There isn’t any. Give it up. I’ve been saying this from like day three: Save as many as you can, for as long as you can, and fight them til you can’t. Don’t wait for help, don’t look for aid, don’t think anyone’s gonna come. Because if all Trump had to do was send out a few missiles and make a speech without falling on his keys for everybody to sigh with relief that we were “back to normal,” we’re not anywhere near normal at all.

A.

Journalism is Unprepared For This Moment

Says journalism: 

It was no secret during the campaign that Donald Trump was a narcissist and a demagogue who used fear and dishonesty to appeal to the worst in American voters. The Times called him unprepared and unsuited for the job he was seeking, and said his election would be a “catastrophe.”

Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck. Like millions of other Americans, we clung to a slim hope that the new president would turn out to be all noise and bluster, or that the people around him in the White House would act as a check on his worst instincts, or that he would be sobered and transformed by the awesome responsibilities of office.

For shit’s sake. This editorial got approvingly passed around like a new baby on every social network to which I belong all weekend, and while it wasn’t the dumbest thing about my weekend it ranked right up there with a fourth glass of wine before 10 p.m.

You wanted the pivot. Everyone including the woman running against Trump told you there was no pivot, pivot wasn’t coming, pivot is a bullshit self-serving political journalist cowpie anyway, but oh, how you longed. You and yours wanted so badly for this all to be normal, and that wanting is as destructive as any of the falsehoods told by Trump himself.

His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation — these traits were, of course, at the very heart of his scorched-earth outsider campaign; indeed, some of them helped get him elected. But in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, they are nothing short of disastrous.

In a campaign, unhinged shit is permissible, even admirably effective. As president, you just can’t do what you said you were gonna do! It’s unthinkable! A violation!

Although his policies are, for the most part, variations on classic Republican positions (many of which would have been undertaken by a President Ted Cruz or a President Marco Rubio), they become far more dangerous in the hands of this imprudent and erratic man.

Right. If he moved slowly and deliberately with regard to his racism and sexism and xenophobia we could justify it as just another point of view, the equal opposite of those filthy hippies who in similarly deranged fashion wish to teach people to read and cure diseases.

On Inauguration Day, we wrote on this page that it was not yet time to declare a state of “wholesale panic” or to call for blanket “non-cooperation” with the Trump administration. Despite plenty of dispiriting signals, that is still our view.

Signals. That’s what ICE raids on churches and two separate executive orders banning Muslim travelers are, to the LA Times. Signals. And not even very strong ones, such as would call for “blanket ‘non-cooperation’.” Maybe there are still some tax cuts for the rich at the expense of schoolteachers that the Times and Trump can get together on!

I mean, it’s not like there’s NO HOPE. America is resilient!

This nation survived Andrew Jackson […]

The Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Creek and Cherokee nations, not so much.

and Richard Nixon.

Twenty-one thousand Americans in Vietnam would like a word.

It survived slavery.

To think all it took was a civil war that in about a third of the country is still going on. Man, do we bounce back or what?

It survived devastating wars. Most likely, it will survive again.

But if it is to do so, those who oppose the new president’s reckless and heartless agenda must make their voices heard. Protesters must raise their banners. Voters must turn out for elections.

THREE MILLION MORE OF US turned out for Hillary Clinton, and protestors have been “raising their banners” for months now. Don’t sit on your ass and lecture us.

Members of Congress — including and especially Republicans — must find the political courage to stand up to Trump.

The only reason I laugh is that screaming just makes the headaches worse.

State legislators must pass laws to protect their citizens and their policies from federal meddling.

State legislators can’t rename a post office without falling on their keys, but you keep hoping somebody will save you.

The United States is not a perfect country, and it has a great distance to go before it fully achieves its goals of liberty and equality. But preserving what works and defending the rules and values on which democracy depends are a shared responsibility. Everybody has a role to play in this drama.

It’s not a play, shitsacks. And correct me if I’m wrong but it ain’t the opposition to Trump has needed this kind of call to battle, so spare me AUX ARMES, AUX BARRICADES while young women, women of color, minorities everywhere have been organizing against this kind of thing for decades.

Everybody has a role to play in this drama. It’s fucking Act SIX, and you show up with your lines barely memorized and want to play Henry V? Get back in the chorus where you belong.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Roll With It

Composition VIII by Vasily Kandinsky.

It’s April Fool’s Day. I’m not planning to prank y’all but if I were I wouldn’t tell you. I like to keep my readers off-balance with this offbeat and off-kilter feature. I hope the previous sentence wasn’t off-putting.

We’re going to a kid’s birthday party/crawfish berl today. That’s boil to you auslanders. It’s young Harper’s second birthday and she’s already out of fucks to give. She actually reminds me of Della the cat. That’s how she is. Of course, the toddler will stop being a cat whereas Della Street is defiantly feline for life. It’s a good thing that she’ll never learn how to speak: she’d never shut up.

We’re back in same title, different song country with this week’s theme songs. I hope y’all can Roll With It, baby. We begin with Steve Winwood’s tribute to Stax-Volt soul music followed by Oasis and *their* song Roll With It.

I’m keeping it relatively light this time around. It’s going to be heavy on the magic and light on the Nazis and such. Of course, *that* could be the April Fool’s joke. You’ll find out after the break.

Continue reading

Your President* Speaks: Easy To Be Hard

The lies are flying thick and fast in Trump’s Washington. One day, I expect to wake up to banner headlines proclaiming; TRUMP TELLS THE TRUTH. Now, that would be newsworthy.

Even in defeat, the Insult Comedian cannot stop bragging. He’s still talking about ACA repeal and how he can make it so:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening told senators that he will make a deal with lawmakers on health care despite the fact that House Republicans were forced to pull their bill to repeal Obamacare due to a lack of support for the legislation.

“I know that we’re all going to make a deal on health care. That’s such an easy one. So I have no doubt that that’s going to happen very quickly,” Trump said at a reception at the White House for senators and their spouses. “I think it will, actually. I think it’s going to happen. Because we’ve all been promising, Democrat, Republican, we’ve all been promising that to the American people.”

“We are going to be doing a great job. Hopefully it will start being bipartisan,” the President added.

If it’s such an easy one, why was the bill pulled from the floor twice?  At least he knows who to blame. He’s decided to take a tough line with the so-called Freedom Caucus:

The message is: defer to the dear leader or else. I don’t regard that as a credible threat; most of these bozos are in safe districts and Trump’s approval ratings are in the crapper. It’s going to be hard to run at them from the right. They’re as far right as it comes. I just realized I used the word credible. That was incredible…

Remember when the Insult Comedian made his Frederick Douglass gaffe? It’s Susan B. Anthony’s turn in what Roger Stone memorably called the barrel:

“Have you heard of Susan B. Anthony? I’m shocked that you’ve heard of her — who dreamed of a much more fair and equal future and an America where women themselves as she said helped to make laws and elect the lawmakers, and that’s what’s happening more and more.”

I’m shocked that he’s shocked and I don’t shock easily. Some media outlets are trying to pass this off as a “quip” but I’m applying the first rule of Trump punditry: don’t believe anything he says and never give that sucker an even break. Believe me.

USA Today asserted that it was a quip. I wonder if they’re rattled by this tweet?

It may be throwback Thursday on social media but it’s threatening Thursday on Trump’s twitter feed. I prefer the former, which is why I’m giving Three Dog Night the last word:

All Of This Has Happened Before

Guys, I know it’s fashionable to pretend this is a New Moment for American Journalism, but check it: 

It was already widely believed in the South that black men had been brazenly stockpiling ice picks, pistols, rifles and explosives in anticipation of a larger race riot. With millions of white men now serving in the armed forces and stationed away from their families, the story went, white communities were vulnerable to an impending assault. When that day came, black women—many of whom worked in domestic service—intended to force their white employers to cook and clean for them. “Eleanor Clubs are stirring up trouble that never should have arisen,” a white North Carolinian observed with worry. “Clubs are making the Negroes discontented, making them question their status.”

A.

Don’t Let Them Come Back From This AGAIN

You guys, I am enjoying, so much, the humiliation of Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, the jackass Trump rented to run Congress for him so he could play president.

I should be a bigger person, but THEY TRIED TO LET INSURANCE COMPANIES OUT OF COVERING NEWBORN BABIES, so I’m gonna keep laughing for a few more days and I don’t really care if it gives some imaginary non-racist non-sexist Trump voter who just wants a job a sad.

But as I point and laugh at President Failstick and as I give all due credit to the Democratic voters who jammed phone lines and went to town halls and hounded Republican stooges who hadn’t heard from their constituents in months, I get angrier and angrier, because they never should have been allowed to get this far.

We keep letting them off the mat.

We keep letting them be a party. They pull shit, over and over, as should disqualify them from polite society, and we keep pretending they simply have a different point of view.

The GOP started an illegal war that killed thousands, based on nothing but lies, and we said we need to look forward, not back.

The GOP instituted a regime of torture and spying and we said bygones.

The GOP led a festering mass of racists as they burned Obama in effigy for being a black man. They invited the people who made Trump into their homes, and gave them space in their elite conservative publications.

Their conventioneers put Purple Heart Band-Aids on their faces to mock a war hero. Their advertising vultures morphed a triple amputee into Osama bin Laden. Their commentators said journalists deserved to be raped and murdered.

The president who led their party during this time — a man currently described as a very nice fellow who paints quite well — refused to meet with the mother of a dead soldier because she questioned his war, ignored an American city as it drowned, presided over the worst financial crisis in almost a century, and ignored intelligence briefings that might have warned him about 9/11.

This is just the stuff in recent memory, for the GOP. This isn’t even getting into Ronald Reagan and AIDS, Iran-Contra, Watergate, any of the shady shit the first Bush pulled at the CIA, any of it. This isn’t even mentioning the impeachment charges over a blowjob, the hit pieces they put out on a 15-year-old First Daughter, anything they did to Jimmy Carter. This is just THE LAST GOP PRESIDENT.

After all that, we let them be a party again. For eight goddamn years they howled and screeched that a free-market capitalist moderate, who would have been a member of their party in a less racist Eisenhower era, was a screaming pinko commie crackhead. For eight years, they courted every crazy they could in an effort to ruin anything Obama accomplished.

For eight years, they promised that they would repeal Obamacare. THEY SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT, and they were given airtime and column inches and treated, again, like just another opposing point of view. Like we had two parties with sensible disagreements, because Both Sides Did It, and We Can’t Be Bothered With Details.

Then they ran Donald Trump for president, and he grabbed America by the pussy, and they pretended not to see. They pretended they were better than the serial sexual predator and deeply unintelligent person they nominated, whose convention they ignored. They clung to his voters and they pretended he didn’t exist as he moved into the Oval Office.

Like he’s doing his thing, and we’re doing ours. And once AGAIN, America said okay, let’s listen to you. So what is your thing?

Kicking newborn babies off their health insurance.

That’s their thing.

Joking about mammograms.

That’s their thing.

Telling cancer patients to go to the ER.

That’s their thing.

They put out a bill so breathtakingly cruel even Republican voters were like goddamn, son. Do you know what you have to do to shock a mainstream white suburban Republican? You have to propose eliminating a minimum standard of care, that’s what you have to do.

We let them up again after this, where the hell do they even GO? I mean it, what do they even do from here? Their president wants to eliminate Meals on Wheels while carpet-bombing the Middle East and giving tax cuts to billionaires. We haven’t even talked about Russia.

What more do they need to do? At this point it would be a fucking thought experiment, if actual lives weren’t at stake: What does it take to destroy a modern political party? A year ago I would have said one’s presidential nominee being caught on tape bragging about sexual assault would do it, but here we are. Ten years ago I would have said the Iraq war being proven bullshit would have done it, or getting caught up in Planned Parenthood hoax videos, or paying lip service to someone who thinks Sandy Hook was a fake. Here we are.

How much farther does the GOP have to fall to prove it’s not a party anymore? To prove it’s not a set of ideals?

Should I check back in a year, when we’ve sold the nuclear codes on Ebay for 50 bucks? Is that what’s next? Fucking hell, how many times do they have to tell us what they are before we believe them?

A.

Stop Pretending We Ain’t Seen This Before

Of the many tired arguments that this is a New Era to which Journalism Must Respond (most likely by cutting newsroom jobs and reducing distribution), FAKE NEWS is maybe my least favorite: 

The production of fake, semi-false, and true but compromising snippets of news reached a peak in eighteenth-century London, when newspapers began to circulate among a broad public. In 1788, London had ten dailies, eight tri-weeklies, and nine weekly newspapers, and their stories usually consisted of only a paragraph. “Paragraph men” picked up gossip in coffee houses, scribbled a few sentences on a scrap of paper, and turned in the text to printer-publishers, who often set it in the next available space of a column of type on a composing stone. Some paragraph men received payment; some contented themselves with manipulating public opinion for or against a public figure, a play, or a book.

But … but … you mean to say satirical and/or politically motivated AND/OR just plain bullshit publications have always existed and maybe a bunch of Macedonian teenagers are not responsible for the stupid-ing of America forever? You mean maybe critical thinking skills and the nurturing thereof might be more important than the blaming of Facebook? YA DON’T FUCKIN’ SAY.

A.