Monday, October 31, 2016

Parents Must Stick

I never noticed how remarkably peniform it is. Donald Trump's new lingam, the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue, via Wikipedia.

The valedictory tone of some of Trump's recent verse seems to be intensified in this piece, from his recent reading in Charlotte, NC (October 26)—it doesn't matter, he seems to be saying, if he doesn't make it to the White House, since he's got some property on Pennsylvania Ave., the Old Post Office, "and it's mine", he plaintively reminds us.

And whatever it is, he did it to encourage the children.

Parents Must Stick
a poem
by Donald J. Trump

1. Now is the time to embrace a new direction
I’ve been very lucky and I’ve led a great life.
Now I want to give back to the country
which I love and which has been so good to me.

I just left a hotel – beautiful, beautiful building.
It was the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue
in Washington D.C. and it’s mine.

And it was just built. It’s right between
the Capitol building and the White House.
So this way, I figure I’ll get to Washington
one way or the other, right?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday Tweets

I want to say I thought this was kind of encouraging; not that these numbers have any kind of predictive application I can see, but in that 13% of Clinton voters saying the FBI director's weird maneuvers actually make them more likely to vote for her, substantive signs of a sentiment I hope would take hold, of just rage at the way these dark and powerful forces are trying to manipulate us, and determination not to be manipulated.

(While the Republicans who say they're less likely to vote for her are wrong; they couldn't be any less likely than they already were.)

Had a sort of popular tweet referring to the wonderful David Farenthold report on the generosity of the Trump Foundation

and a not-so-popular one, or frankly a wholly ignored one that I liked a lot, using a format related to the Radio Yerevan joke, as in "In Soviet Russia, television watch you":

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Significant risk of being misunderstood

Cassoulet stage 9, via Meilleur du Chef.

There is no chance, as far as I'm concerned, and based on what actual journalists are reporting, that the FBI has any new information that is of any relevance to the question whether or not Hillary Clinton ought to be president, regardless of your feelings about that question, since the emails that "may have been related to" Clinton's private server, which Huma Abedin seems to have chosen to print from a home laptop that was also used by Anthony Weiner to transmit pictures of his penis, or not, as the case may be, are neither from Clinton nor to Clinton, and are absolutely not documents that have been withheld from the investigation; the FBI is already perfectly familiar with their content, at least so far (there are thousands, naturally, and it will take many weeks, until long after the election is over, to finish looking at them). They could conceivably be relevant to the question whether Huma Abedin mishandled classified data, but nobody's saying that there's any likelihood of that either; they're just checking them out from an "abundance of caution".

Why does David Brooks like prosperity gospel cult churches best?

New York Post, which seems to think on Brooksian lines, says the sexiest congregation in New York is the 7 PM Mass at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral. Photo by Stephen Yang.

Because they have the cutest congregations! I'm not even kidding:
the polls now suggest Millennials are becoming disaffected from religion, and I get that. But as I go around, especially to cities, I see just an exploding religion that, believe me, is deeply religious but the opposite of Trumpism.
Say, pick New York City. There is a burgeoning supply of these churches, these Trinity Grace churches that are all around the city. There’s C3 churches, which I went to one in Williamsburg in Brooklyn a few months ago, and every beautiful hipster in New York seemed to be at that church. If you wanted to be where the cool crowd was, that church was it. And the Redeemer plants that are spreading.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Some Fraction of More Than 6.5 Million Wealthy Americans Threatened with Massive Health Care Premium Increases

Updated Friday afternoon to fix some bad numbers
Could see their premiums skyrocket. Liberal writers are poor enough to get government subsidies. Then again subsidies from the Koch brothers are pretty generous.
That's how the headlines should have been reading in the serious media (New York Times, Guardian, NPR, Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert) but it's not how they've gone at all. Nearly all of these sources imply in their ledes that premiums are going up for some kind of everybody, either everybody who has health insurance or for the more sophisticated everybody in the much smaller group who have "Obamacare" proper, Marketplace policies; and if they make an attempt to correct the impression in the body paragraphs—yes, it's not quite that bad—continue to suggest that it's terrible and nobody can really know how bad it is because that's a total mystery and anyway it's "out there" and "people are saying" etc., like Renée Montagne on NPR Wednesday morning, apparently utterly baffled and incapable of understanding what her expert is trying to tell her:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Whitesplanation from Dr. Stein

Or perhaps because she isn't fully aware that voters of color exist.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Monsignor in dark wood

Update: Hey Shak, thanks for the shout-out!
Dante and Virgil by FreakingArG at DeviantArt.
Shorter Ross Douthat, "What the Right's Intellectuals Did Wrong", New York Times, October 26 2016:
The trouble is that in the first place conservatives are badly underrepresented in the managerial class that runs the legal establishment, government bureaucracy, culture industry, and academia, all dominated by liberal meritocrats; and not represented at all outside the managerial class, where all the people who think they are conservative are actually right-wing populists. Thus the fact that true conservatives are nearly nonexistent puts us at a terrible and unjust disadvantage in the struggle to make our ideas prevail. Matthew Continetti thinks we should react to this by becoming more elitist, which sounds pretty attractive. Another possibility is that we should become more populist, only in an intellectually serious way. Intellectually serious populism could be a winner. Somebody just has to figure out how to do it, which will no doubt happen sooner or later, though at the moment things look pretty grim.
That's really about it. I can't understand why he skips the obvious solution, which is monarchy. If you have a king then he can appoint all 30 or 40 of the nation's true conservatives to run the legal and governmental and cultural and intellectual establishments and the lack of votes isn't a problem, which completely eliminates the other problem, of meritocracy, in which liberals keep winning out just because they do better in their exams. Monarchy, and a judicious use of prison torture and capital punishment. And it's very alt-right, which is so fashionable just now.

He ends with a literary reference that many readers will recognize:

History does not stand still; crises do not last forever. Eventually a path for conservative intellectuals will open.
But for now we find ourselves in a dark wood, with the straight way lost.
(Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura/Chè la diritta via era smarrita...)  More properly, because the straight road is lost. I guess Ross's best hope is for some dead Latin poet to turn up and show him around the afterlife. Then he can write a big book.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Don't worry, be sappy.

Says the man whose face is covered in pie hurled by Marion Davies. From King Vidor's Show People (1928), via Fritzi.
Shorter David Brooks, "The Epidemic of Worry", October 25 2016:
America, you need to stop worrying so much. It's not even healthy and it's making me very anxious. 
Concerned David Brooks is concerned about all this worry! If the country needs worrying, step aside and let him do it! "I'm a professional, ma'am." He can even meta-worry, if need be.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Old Devil Brooks

Spiritual Conception totebag, now only $14.95 from Cafe Press.
I don't generally watch when David Brooks is on television, which is easy for me, but on Sunday morning he invaded my radio space—because for all my nastiness I'm really a soft old Birkenstocker at heart and a sucker for the totebag spirituality of the Krista Tippett show, which I listen to, for my sins (literally!), as the old helpmeet sleeps in until the weekend Puzzle wakes her up, at least to the extent I can stay awake, which varies with the quality of the guest, and Brooks was on it—I knew this would happen sooner or later—for a public-broadcasting spiritual lovefest-duet, with Dionne, chatting about the spiritual state of our union.

He's very comfortable in the role, joking easily, recalling the beloved camp counselor he used to be when he was 19:
DR. BROOKS: ...I didn’t know E.J. went through a youthful liberal Republican phase. It’s pathetic in your 50s. In your 20s, it’s just tragic.
DR. DIONNE: That’s the second-worst thing David ever said about me. The worst thing David ever said about me is that I was the only person he ever met whose eyes light up at the words “panel discussion.”
Wait, Dr. Brooks? Doctor of what for fuck's sake?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ross wants to make your flesh creep

Thomas Nast, 1873, illustration for The Pickwick Papers, via Victorian Web.
Monsignor Ross Douthat, apostolic nuncio to 42nd Street, also known as Joe the Fat Boy ("I wants to make your flesh creep"), would like to alarm you if you think that America is out of the woods now with the impending crushing of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump—you may not have thought about "The Dangers of Hillary Clinton":

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Name that Decimation! II

You could even girdle your selfishness in plaid, if you had the moral capital to pay for it. Image from Vintage Dancer.

We dumped Brooks ("How to Repair Moral Capital") this morning just as he was throwing down the gauntlet personally to me, to get some names rectified:
It’s becoming ever clearer that the nation’s moral capital is being decimated, and the urgent challenge is to name that decimation and reverse it.
I think I'll name it "Howard", after Howard Kurtz. Or maybe "Radical Islamic Terrorism".

But seriously, folks, before I jump into naming stuff, can I ask what "moral capital" is? Because it puts me in mind of a society in which most people are allotted just the amount of moral value they need to stay alive, while a fortunate few are able to accumulate tons of surplus moral value, which they can invest into creating still more.

Name that Decimation! I

Mary Pickford in Maurice Tourneur's The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917), via perfectmistake13.
OK so Driftglass has naturally zeroed in on the single most (also, he's having a fundraiser, and he's reprinted one of his earliest pieces, from 2005, which is so good it hurts) grotesquely reprehensible moment in yesterday's Brooks ("How to Repair Moral Capital"), the point where, after the fairly specific, though incomplete, denunciation of the Trump, he makes his ritual bow to denouncing Hillary Clinton as well, just in case you got the momentary impression that both sides may not do it:

This year Trump is dismantling those restraints [the "codes" that "adorn" the "struggle for power" in "decent societies", which I'll be getting back to] one by one. By savagely attacking Carly Fiorina’s looks and Ted Cruz’s wife he dismantled the codes of etiquette that prevent politics from becoming an unmodulated screaming match. By lying more or less all the time, he dismantles the fealty to truth without which conversation is impossible. By refusing to automatically respect the election results he corrodes confidence in our common institutions and risks turning public life into a never-ending dogfight.
Clinton has contributed to the degradation too. As the James O’Keefe videos remind us, wherever Hillary Clinton has gone in her career, a cloud of unsavory people and unsavory behavior has traveled alongside. 
It hadn't even occurred to me to bother to look at the James O'Keefe videos, given that every one of his projects to date has turned out to be a fraud. Expecting an O'Keefe video to provide a useful reflection of anything is like expecting Han van Meegeren's new painting to be an authentic Vermeer—it's never happened before, why would it happen now?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Donald Trump, Dada Comedian

I wonder what he meant by that? I mean, I realize it's a reference to the zombie wingnut lie that Hillary Clinton was fired from her job as a staff attorney with the House Judiciary Committee during its Watergate inquiries in 1973, which of course she wasn't, but how does it work as a punchline? The form suggests that the Watergate investigation was especially corrupt so that HRC had to be extremely corrupt to fall out of favor with it, which is an unconventional view of the Watergate investigation. As in "Donald Trump is such a welcher the Mafia sued him for breach of contract."

And strangely enough, half or more of his routine at the Al Smith Dinner last night had this strange quality of inappositeness to the punch line or, as laypeople might put it, they weren't jokes.

Or alternatively, it's an entirely new kind of joke, one that just joys in pointlessness. That's probably why the audience is booing, because it's just too avant-garde, like the premiere of the Rite of Spring in 1913.

If I'm getting this right, we could soon be seeing comedians trying out one-liners like these:
A Catholic, a Jew, and a Muslim walk into a bar. What a mistake! I mean it was a disaster! Never should have happened, and it won't happen when I'm president, believe me.
Your mama's so fat, she's disgusting. Seriously, it's horrible how she's let herself go, I'm sorry, I know I'm not supposed to say that kind of thing. But I always tell it like it is.
Take my wife--no, really, I was getting ready to trade her in anyway.
I was in this restaurant the other day, there was a fly in my soup, I called the waiter over. "What's this fly doing in my soup?" "It looks senselessly overactive and irritable," he says, "I'd guess it's doing some kind of meth." So I had him fired.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? A: To take your job and rape your daughters. And some of them, I assume, are good chickens.
Image via Geek Tyrant.
More from Steve.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Atheist liberal war on Halloween!

Update 10/21: Revised and expanded for clarity.
Lady Gaga getting into costume for a Halloween party in Paris, 2014, as a table. Photo by Splash News via Daily Mail.
A little "humor" or at least Reductio ad Turdum from Katherine Timpf at the National Review:
I am sick of articles telling people how to choose what to “be” for Halloween without being insensitive . . . because the truth is, dressing up as anyone or anything other than yourself is always offensive.
Let me say it again: It’s all appropriation, it’s never okay, and there are no exceptions. You may think that I’m being extreme, but if you follow the very same logic that people use to explain why costumes like “Pocahontas” or “geisha” are offensive, you will realize that my conclusion is the only one you can possibly draw.
Yes, because if you say wearing tan-in-a-can and a black wig with a turkey feather and a leather minidress with cleavage and calling yourself Pocahontas is hurtful to Native Americans, you might as well say that dressing up as Headmaster Dumbledore is hurtful to people who identify with elderly British wizards. That's just logic.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tom, this is not really helping

By Directioner via WeHeartIt.
Thomas P. Friedman, better known as Thomas L. Friedman, Mystax Contrarianisticus, has a fun take:
Thank God for WikiLeaks.
After all these months of nailbiting over what kind of monstrous evil Hillary might be revealed by the transcripts of her secret meetings with the employees of the Goldman Sachs firms, now that WikiLeaks has published them it turns out she's nothing but a left-deviationist Friedmanite! Exactly what the mustache ordered!
I confess, I was starting to wonder about what the real Hillary Clinton — the one you never get to see behind closed doors — really stood for. 
Right, how come the Clinton we see behind closed doors is never the real one? Wait what?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

But let loveliness roll down like waters

Frederick Soulacroix, Tea on the Terrace. Via "A Return to Loveliness" at adelightsomelife.
Kathy Fletcher is national director of the Turnaround Arts Initiative, a public-private partnership within the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities dedicated to bringing arts education and materials—art supplies, musical instruments—to struggling elementary and middle schools around the country. Her husband David Simpson was at Issue One, a 501(C)(3) organization that "conceptualizes and funds the strategies necessary to reduce the undue influence of well-financed special interests over politics and policy-making.... to help create the political strength, critical mass, public presence and funding levels necessary to achieve substantive reforms at the state and national levels that put every day citizens back in the driver's seat of American politics" but left it last month to head up a new charity, AOK-DC, which aims, I think, to fund college for the 15 or so local DC kids from low-income and in some cases desperate situations who've been coming over to Kathy and David's house for dinner on Thursdays for the past couple of years.

They're obviously truly nice and sincere people, so kind that they even let David Brooks ("The Power of a Dinner Table") come over for the Thursday dinners and hugs all around:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Beleaguered, Battered, and Bewildered

Update: Welcome back MBRU readers, thanks as always Batocchio!

Eggs Benedict, via Wikipedia.
Monsignor Ross Douthat, apostolic nuncio to 42nd Street, rises "In Defense of the Religious Right"—that's the "beleaguered, battered, all-but-broken religious right" to you, but he's not defending them against the forces that broke them, the indifference to theological niceties of their own voters, who turn out to be more invested in xenophobia than in the man who hung out comfortably with the Samaritan woman at the well in spite of her foreign culture and her colorful sexual history (John 4:4-26); what he's defending them against is words, from those mean old liberals mocking the theocrats in their moment of grief and weakness:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Speaking of Amy Chozick

If by "virtually silent" you mean putting it at the center of your agenda for the past two years.

And using it for your climax move in your first debate
CLINTON: You know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said...
TRUMP: I never said that.
CLINTON: .... women don't deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.
TRUMP: I didn't say that.
CLINTON: And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman "Miss Piggy." Then he called her "Miss Housekeeping," because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.
TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?
CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.
TRUMP: Where did you find this?
CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet...
TRUMP: Oh, really?
CLINTON: ... she's going to vote this November.
 And basically making it the rope on which her opponent has been hanging himself ever since?

 That kind of virtual silence?

Saw that tweet via Eric Boehlert:

Encounter with a vampire squid

I had no idea, but there actually is such a thing as a vampire squid, Vampiroteuthis infernalis. Not because it sucks blood, it doesn't, but because of its red eyes and the webbing on its tentacles, making it look as if it were wearing an opera cape. Threatened by predators, it "inverts its caped arms back over the body, presenting an ostensibly larger form covered in fearsome-looking though harmless spines" in what is known as a "pineapple" or "pumpkin" posture. So it's actually kind of cute! Image via Wikipedia.
Everybody knows Hillary Clinton refused to release the speech transcripts because she didn't want us to see her cozying up to those bankers (and cardiovascular researchers, Canadians, Jewish organizations, Silicon Valley women, and pro-camping lobbyists, among many others, who also paid her upwards of $200,000 a pop to address them in 2013-15, as we know thanks to the fact that she released complete tax returns in July 2015). But it's possible that she was really much more worried about somebody entirely different seeing the transcripts, like Xi Jinping, you know, or King Salman.

Or Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Donald Trump, who still wields real power in Italy as a news magnate and opposition politician. Speaking of that third Chelsea Manning dump of 250,000 diplomatic cables in late 2010, she told an audience of Goldman Sachs "builders and innovators" three years later,

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Annals of Derp: "Anchor Babies"

Wong Kim Ark, via New York Daily News. Great article, too.

Comment thread, from Mother Jones:

That "anchor baby loophole", aka the 14th Amendment.

Probably never intended to confer birthright citizenship upon the offspring of illegally present foreign nationals.

There was no such thing as illegally present foreign nationals at the time. There was literally no immigration law in the US, until the racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Nevertheless it was in exactly a case about a child of Chinese noncitizens that birthright citizenship was established as settled law, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).

    Semantics: Update

    Damage done to the HSV Swift, leased by United Arab Emirates, in a missile attack that the Houthi rebels admitted to the week before. Via USNI News.
    There was another much more important Yemen event last week that the Times hardly seems to have covered, let alone NPR, that should have figured into the way I wrote the previous post: after the horrifying attack of October 8 when the Saudis bombed a Yemeni funeral party, killing 140 people and wounding several hundreds more, the US announced that it was going to do a big review of the policy of giving assistance to KSA.

    I was aware of this for about five minutes—
    —but forgot it as the Trump continues to occupy larger and larger swaths of our overtaxed brains.

    Juan Cole seems to have bypassed it too, but it turns out that the review is ongoing, and serious, at least according to anonymous officials quoted in Missy Ryan's story in the Washington Post:

    Cheap Shots: Locker Room Talk

    Trump National Golf Course, Westchester: "Superbly appointed locker rooms are a welcome respite from spirited competition. Changing facilities and lounges join an array of spa services including steam and massage, all in an atmosphere that revives the spirit." How butch is that?
    Recently unearthed remarks of 2013 by Donald Trump, Jr. (Jezebel, via LGM), resolve a deeply confusing mystery:
    Donald Trump Jr., the embodiment of every stereotype about people named “Jr.”, said in 2013 that women who can’t handle harassment at work “should go maybe teach kindergarten.” He also opined that all-male golf courses are “cool” and that everybody is so uber-sensitive these days. How original!
    The comments were uncovered by Buzzfeed News: Trump Jr. made them during a March 2013 episode of The Opie and Anthony Show, a year before one of the hosts was fired for going on an extended racist rant about black people. Trump Jr. said first that he had a hard time letting go of all-male golf courses: “If you have a guys’ place you have a guys’ place.”
    That's where those locker rooms are!

    Everybody insisting that Trump is all wrong about locker room talk is thinking of the kind of locker rooms where athletes congregate to change their clothes and shower and perform needful activities of that sort, where the talk is of secondary importance and nobody stays a lot longer than he has to. Trump was thinking about locker rooms on golf courses, where the rich and obese hang out to pretend they've just worked up a sweat.

    And to pretend, further, that they had an erection sometime in the previous month, to make the other guys jealous, so that the talk naturally gravitates to snatching at lady parts and "when you're a star they let you do it, you can do anything". The Trumpian locker room.

    Which is not to suggest Trump could be innocent of the charges, because only somebody who actually does such things could think it's something to boast about. But #NotAllBillionaires. Some, I assume, are good people.

    Semantics, how does it work?

    Update: I'm as annoyed with NPR as ever on this, but the US position looks a lot better to me in the light of some neglected Yemen news.

    The port of Aden, 1876, via Qatar National Library.
    Bizarre exchange on NPR Thursday morning in reference to the Navy attack on missile installations held by "rebels" in Yemen that (very ineptly) attacked a US ship:
    TOM BOWMAN: Well, there's a civil war going on in Yemen right now. The Houthi rebels are aligned with the former president of the country, fighting the current president. And the U.S. is providing support to Saudi Arabia, who's fighting to keep the current president in power. The U.S. is providing air refueling capability, intelligence capability as well. And they've refueled as many as 5,000 bombing flights over Yemen.
    And a concern here, Renee, is that there have been a lot of civilians killed here in this effort to support the Saudis, as many as 4,000 civilians killed. And there was one incident last week where 140 civilians were killed at a funeral. So this is the first time the U.S. has actually been involved militarily here.
    RENEE MONTAGNE: Right. I mean, that's a key here, that the U.S. is actively supporting these Saudi airstrikes. It's not a passive sort of support. And this funeral has really kicked up a big controversy there, a lot of resistance. What is that doing to - what kind of problem is that for the U.S.?
    Where Bowman says the US has never previously been militarily involved, and Montagne agrees that, yes, we have been very seriously involved. And then Bowman comes back to say that in fact with this strike we are also not involved, disagreeing not so much with Montagne as, weirdly, with himself:

    Friday, October 14, 2016

    Personally, I don't think you have a clue

    From Gaston Velle's Voyage autour d'une Étoile (1906), via somebody's Pinterest.
    Sentences you'd probably never get to read if there were no David Brooks ("The Beauty of Big Books"):
    Personally, I have issues with born-again paganism. 
    This is not coming out of nowhere, I should say. He's been checking it out, in the form of a very big new book, Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan, by Anthony T. Kronman, a Yale law professor who did a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1972, before he went to law school, and has found his mind going back there in recent years, toward the elaboration of a systematic sort of pantheism.

    Brooks has looked at the book, or several of its pages—you can get a good idea how many of them by listing the quotations he has culled from it:

    Thursday, October 13, 2016

    Mazel Tov, Bob!

    Harold Keller, 1963, The Four Seasons. I can't believe I found this picture, which I literally remember seeing, this or its twin in a sequence of interrelated paintings beginning with a representational image of women standing in a subway car, when it was new.
    My first experience of the music of Bob Dylan was connected with politics, in a fun way, at the end of August 1964, in Saratoga Springs, NY:

    Wednesday, October 12, 2016

    Oh snap: Postscript

    Image via Giphy.
    Thomas P. Friedman ("Can the U.S. Win This Election?"), better known as Thomas L. Friedman, Mystax Mirabilis, hopes Congress goes Democratic in an overwhelming way, so Clinton will be able to push through some Republican policy:

    we have to hope not only that Hillary Clinton wins the national election but also that Democrats retake at least the Senate, so she has some real leverage to forge trade-offs with a more sane G.O.P. to start fixing things: putting in place common-sense gun laws, like restoring the Assault Weapons Ban, requiring universal background checks and making it illegal for anyone on the terrorist watch list to buy a gun; borrowing money at near-zero interest rates to rebuild our infrastructure; replacing some income and corporate taxes with a revenue-neutral carbon tax to stimulate more clean-energy production; fixing Obamacare; and implementing sensible immigration reform and responsible tax and entitlement reforms.
    The bigger Clinton’s margin of victory, the less dependent she’d be, I hope, on the left wing of her party, and the more likely she’d work with Republicans, as she vowed during the last debate, by “finding common ground, because you have to be able to get along with people to get things done in Washington.”
    I'll stick with that old-fashioned kind of logic, thanks, where the consequent is kind of attached to the antecedent, and the better the Democrats do the more ability they'll have to implement the Democratic platform, and the less power the Republicans have the more things can get done in Washington without them.

    Don't know where Tom is hoping to get those votes for a carbon tax, revenue-neutral or otherwise, other than the despised "left wing of her party"; for Republicans, it's the worst of all possible tax hikes and permanently off the table, and Clinton herself has not been very supportive. The Sanders forces were unable to get her to sign on for it and had to make do with a deliberately ambiguous declaration that

    Tuesday, October 11, 2016

    Oh, snap. Now she wants to make war on poverty.

    This—Trump defying a fire marshal trying to enforce crowd restrictions for safety reasons—put another, dreadful picture into my mind, crystallizing the sense of Trump is doing to himself and his whole filthy following at this point:

    Meanwhile, as Trump works to set his funeral pyre ablaze inside the great hall or big tent of the party he's occupied and some Republicans sneak out to look across the plain for some place of safety, Hillary Clinton has chosen a very odd way of picking up new Republican voters for herself, by proposing the first program dedicated to the profoundly poor since Lyndon Johnson was president.

    I think (you'll correct me if that's an exaggeration). Certainly the first since her husband unwittingly enabled Newt Gingrich to destroy the old welfare leg of the New Deal.

    A Twisted, Tortured Shrivel

    PM Updated: A little more fisking and video at bottom.

    David MacDonald's Devil Girl from Mars (1954), via Jimmy at Pinterest.
    That's actually a phrase used in David Brooks's latest attempt ("Donald Trump's Sad, Lonely Life") to demonstrate that the Trump phenomenon has no relationship to conservative ideology or the Republican party:

    Imagine if you had to go through a single day without sharing kind little moments with strangers and friends.
    Imagine if you had to endure a single week in a hate-filled world, crowded with enemies of your own making, the object of disgust and derision.
    You would be a twisted, tortured shrivel, too, and maybe you’d lash out and try to take cruel revenge on the universe. For Trump this is his whole life.

    Monday, October 10, 2016


    The Lincoln cabinet as pictured by the pro-slavery press in 1864; drawing by John Cameron, via Wikipedia.
    When WikiLeaks sends out a new document dump on a Friday evening, also known as the "death slot" because it's where you make a news release when you're hoping nobody will read it, that could be a sign that the organization doesn't have a lot of confidence in the news value of the material.

    That seems to be the case with this latest dump released Friday night (shortly after the Access Hollywood pussy-grabbing video, I think), featuring emails presumably hacked by Russian intelligence personnel and associated with John Podesta, chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign (and not, contrary to Julian Assange, in "control" of the Podesta Group lobbying firm, which he co-founded with his brother Tony in 1988 but hasn't been involved in for years). There isn't a whole lot of thereness there.

    The centerpiece of the thing is a document apparently collated by or under the direction of Tony Carrk, research director of Hillary For America, in 2015 during the Democratic primary campaign, consisting of passages from some of those 2013 paid speeches of which the transcripts have never been released, though the Sanders forces kept demanding it. The excerpts flag moments that might look to the left opposition like evidence that she's in cahoots with the forces of corporate evil: telling the banksters, in particular, what she really thinks while publicly telling all us liberals she's one of us, so it looks as if the campaign gathered them as part of the process, maybe, of deciding whether to release them or not—how damaging would it be? Or maybe of preparing for the storm that would follow after they were released; each passage contains some phrase or clause that could be pulled out of the context to make it seem as if she was revealing some horrible secret plan to her audience, and there's a helpful headline telling the reader how opponents will read it (could be the headlines were supplied by the hackers, though):

    Sunday, October 9, 2016

    Unnerved? If anything, more nerved than ever.

    Trump after the third debate, as portrayed by actress Glenn Close.
    Corey Robin, at the end of a useful set of reflections on IDidTryToFuckHerSheWasMarriedgate, wanders off into trolling Democrats:
    I would be remiss if I didn't note here the panic among Clinton supporters that all this talk of Trump's possible stepping down has provoked.
    On Facebook, quite a few people seem genuinely unnerved by the possibility that Trump would step down, leaving Pence or some other improbable figure (John Kasich?) to rally the Republicans to victory. With just five weeks to go until the election.
    Here's a message for my Clinton-supporting friends: You can't scream for months that Donald Trump is a unique threat to humanity, different from all other Republican threats we've seen, going back Goldwater, and then, when it seems like we might finally and happily be spared this unique fascist threat, panic. Just because you fear that it would mean your candidate won't win. That kind of response undermines everything you've been saying these last few months.
    I don't spend a lot of time, or indeed almost any, on Facebook, so maybe that's why I'm missing out on this phenomenon, but I really haven't seen it on the old Twitter. In any case I'd like to say that I, as one Clinton supporter, am not even somewhat unnerved by the prospect of Trump stepping down. In fact I really wish he would, for an assortment of reasons: