Thursday, October 20, 2016

Debate & Switch III: The Ultimate Clump

For those of you who wisely missed the big event, here's a condensed and creative but essentially accurate transcript of Wednesday's final "debate" between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Pitching the softballs at Team Clump was Chris Wallace of Fox News.

Chris: I want to drill right down.... like an oil rig in fragile, shallow Arctic waters. No audience participation will be tolerated. What -- you thought this was a participatory democracy and the debates weren't funded and controlled by the corporations that own the place? So shut up already, and let these two plutocrats spew their dreck at the enthralled TV audience.

First topic, Supreme Court. Will you let the Founders lead the country from their graves?

Hillary: You know, what kind of country is this going to be? We need a Supreme Court that will stand up for women's rights and do away with the kind of dark money that my campaign has had absolutely no qualms about accepting.

Chris: Trump, same question.

Donald: I love all the amendments but mostly the Second, which is under trauma.

Chris: Clinton, what's wrong with everybody having a gun?

Hillary: Nothing. I love guns and I love gun-owners. Arkansas and Upstate New York, which I represented, are chock-full of the yahoos with guns. But I sure wouldn't want someone to kill us with one. Especially a redneck toddler. We have to keep guns out of the chubby little hands of toddlers living in trailer parks in Arkansas and Upstate New York.

Chris: Trump?

Donald: Hillary is very strongly against the Second Amendment. She was very angry about the Heller decision. People were angry about her anger.

Hillary: I hate it when hordes of toddlers go around shooting each other. Their deplorable parents don't lock up their guns.

Chris: Trump, you support national open-carry.

Donald: Chicago has the toughest gun laws and the most violence. Just thought I'd get the obligatory racist dog whistle out of the way early. I will appoint only Second Amendment lovers to the Court.

 Chris: Now that you mentioned violence, let's naturally segue into the hot button issue that wasn't a hot button issue until I said it was. Abortion. Trump, will you overturn Roe v Wade?

Donald: Let the states decide. For purposes of this election, I am pro-life. I have no other choice as a Republican.

Hillary: I love Roe v Wade. Donald hates cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. He wants to punish women who get abortions.

Chris: As a loyal Fox News employee, I will now gratuitously bring up the constitutional rights of Fetuses. Why, Clinton, are you against fetuses?

Hillary: I am for the health of mothers.

Donald: I think that is terrible! Hillary just wants to rip babies right out of wombs! In the final day of the ninth month!

Hillary: That's not what happens. You should meet with the women I've met over the course of my life. The government should stay out of wombs.

Chris: Since climate change is never an issue at Fox News, let's move on to immigration. Trump?

Donald: In the audience are four parents of kids killed by illegals. You have thousands of relatives all over the country. Drugs are pouring in. The border patrol endorsed me. Hillary and Obama cause heroin addiction. We have some Bad Hombres here and we have to get them out. 

Chris: Clinton, is he wrong?

Hillary: When he was talking I was getting my next talking point lined up. I met a girl in Vegas named Carla whose parents are going to be ripped away from her the way Donald's imaginary full-term fetuses are getting ripped out of wombs. I don't want to rip. I am not a ripper.

Donald: Hillary wanted that Wall!

Hillary: I only want appropriate walls.Trump exploits undocumented shadow-workers.

Donald: Obama deports record numbers of my undocumented shadow workers!

Hillary: I do so too want borders! Why can't Trump be more like Saint Ronald Reagan? And my other Republican icon, the great George W. Bush?

Chris: But in $260,000 WikiLeaks speeches, you said you wanted open borders!

Hillary: But not for people. That was only for capital. Read the whole WikiLeaks why don't you. Oops, on second thought, don't, Because it's a Russian plot to rig the election. Why can't Trump just admit that he is a secret Russian agent?

Donald: That was a great pivot from open borders.

Chris: Hold on a minute. This is getting out of my express control. Silence!

Trump: Putin has no respect for Hillary.

Hillary: He'd rather have a puppet president.

Trump:You're the puppet.

Hillary: No you're the puppet.

Trump: Am not!

Hillary: Are too! The Russian plot is deeply disturbing to the secret heads of a multitude of secret American agencies which collect all your emails and phone records without your knowledge or permission.

Chris: Hey, what about me? Trump - will you condemn Putin or won't you?

Trump: Sure. I have no idea.

Chris: Wait, this has nothing to do with immigration!

Hillary: He wants to put his short fingers on the nuclear button in a very casual fashion. I am terrified. It would take Donald Trump only four minutes to blow up the whole entire world.

Trump: I have 200 generals and admirals and Medal of Honor recipients. Am too!

Hillary: The United States has kept the peace! The only way to keep the peace is enlisting many other NATO countries to spread the war around.

Chris: Now the economy. I hope you handle this as well as you handled immigration. I'm gonna drill down in your icy cold shallow waters a little bit more now, and hope the blow-out preventer gizmo works better than it did in the Gulf. So, Clinton, what about jobs and growth?

Hillary: If I can believe in more middle class Ladders of Opportunity, so can you. Think lovely thoughts. Donald doesn't believe in Ladders. He only believes in Chutes. He's a sore loser.

Donald: Saudi Arabia must pay. Also too Germany and South Korea and Japan, not to single them out, but why aren't they paying for our free college tuition? We're going to cut business taxes on massively rich people very massively. We're dying at One Percent GDP.

Hillary: Let me translate that if I may, Chris.

Donald: No you can't.

Hillary: I will not raise taxes on poor struggling people who make only $249,000 a year. When my husband, on whose coattails I am riding, was in office, we had a surplus caused by the bubble economy that was pumped up and later blown apart by deregulation. So we know how to control hot air. Obama's austerity measures for the middle class and poor then cut the deficit by two-thirds. Hooray for the plutocracy! We have to invest in people to make money off of people. Free-market neoliberalism with a happy face works for the One Percent!

Chris: So more Obama stimulus? Since I work at Fox News, let me get the usual dig in and falsely assert what a total drag it was on the economy.

Hillary: I've never seen plutocrats so physically distraught from an economic catastrophe as they were in the  Bush administration. It was touch and go for the poor things for a couple of months. President Obama simply doesn't get the credit he deserves for ensuring that more than 90% of the gains have gone straight back to them. It was a terrible recession for them.

Donald: The economy is so bad I should be winning. Clinton can brag, but the results of NAFTA didn't kick in until they were out of office. Now she wants to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She lied, they fact-checked, and I was so honored.

Hillary: When I saw the final fine print of TPP when I announced my candidacy I decided to be against it. Unless it "creates jobs, increases national security and raises incomes" I'll be against it after I am president too. And that is being deliberately vague and pragmatic. As I said in my leaked speech to bankers, there is a public stance and a private stance. And Donald built his Tower with Chinese steel.

Donald: You had a chance to stop me for 30 years and you didn't. You're a mess.

Hillary: When I was working for the Children's Defense Fund for a minute, Donald was kicking children out of their homes. When I was going against teachers' unions in Arkansas, he was inheriting millions from his Daddy. When I wore a soft powder pink suit to China as the consort of a president, he was fat-shaming Miss Universe. When I was curled up in the Situation Room, watching the violent porn of the Osama bin Laden execution, Donald was taping Celebrity Apprentice. Oh the humanity. Oh the things I have endured for this country.

Donald: You're fired. Go directly to jail.

Chris: Clinton?

Hillary: He never says he's sorry for anything. At least I admit that mistakes were sometimes made and I might do things differently all over again if I possessed even a smidgen of insight. But Donald even went after my war-mongering Republican friend John McCain. Ugh. Very, very dark. That's not who America is.

Donald: I'd love to talk about ISIS and stuff.

Chris: Okey-dokey. What about the emails and the corrupt Clinton Foundation, Clinton?

Hillary: Everything I did, I did for America. I'm thrilled to talk about it. So let me dodge the question and say that the Trump Foundation is for the enrichment of Donald Trump.

Donald: We put up the American flag at Mar-a-Lago.

Hillary: Release your tax returns!

Donald: It's because of people like you that I can avoid taxes. You could have changed the laws when you were a senator. Your donors are just like me and even worse than me.

Hillary: Chinese steel.

Chris: Will you accept the result of this election, Trump?

Donald: I see dead people. Voting. Stay tuned. It's rigged because Hillary should be in jail and never have been allowed to run.

Chris: But tradition, tradition!

Hillary: Horrifying to only now pretend to discover that Trump is not a gracious person. The FBI investigated me for a whole year. What more can you ask of a candidate? What's more, he complained he was cheated when he didn't get an Emmy for Celebrity Apprentice.

Donald: I should have.

Hillary: His mindset is funny, yet troubling. He's a big fat loser. This is not how democracy works. Democracy is a game and, as Obama said, you should not start whining before the game is even finished. Donald is rudely denigrating and talking down to a sporting event.

Chris: Hold on, folks. This kind of straight talk is no good to anyone at the top of the heap. So on to Foreign Hot Spots. What's hot and what's not? Give it your best Michelin Guide ratings. How's about Mosul? 

Hillary: So glad there are boots on the ground and I will forever object to boots on the ground. And then on to Syria! We desperately need an intelligence surge. And a no-fly zone with lots of collateral damage and death in order to humanely protect Syrians.

Donald: So sad. MacArthur and Patton are rolling in their graves.

Hillary: Donald went on the Howard Stern show to support the invasion of Iraq.

Donald: Did not.

Hillary: Did too. I got audio. He thinks he's better than me just because I voted for a sham war. I watched bin Laden get brought to justice with a hundred bullets while he was doing stupid Celebrity Apprentice. Nonny nonny boo boo. He's unfit every time he talks.

Donald: No, you are. John Podesta said some horrible things about you, and he's right. Bernie said you have bad judgment.

Hillary: Bernie really likes me and he really hates you.

Chris: Let's go to Aleppo! Trump, you falsely said it had fallen.

Donald: No, I said it was a catastrophic mess. Heckuva job, Hillary.

Chris: A hotshot general said your no-fly zone would mean war with Russia, Clinton.

Hillary: War saves lives and makes wars end. But maybe we can strike a deal. Rome wasn't built in a day. And I am not letting any Syrian refugees in without being vetted. Even that little boy in the ambulance with the blood and dirt all over his face who we use as propaganda. We rely on Muslim Americans to spy on other Muslim Americans. And let me gratuitously add that the Muslim American who shot up the Orlando gay nightclub was born in the same New York borough as Donald! We have to up our war games and be smarter.

Donald: ISIS is in 32 countries. Don't make me spell them out.

Chris: OK. Now let's move on to the false claim that Social Security and Medicare are going broke.  Why are you both ignoring this totally non-existent crisis?

Donald: I am going to create tremendous jobs.

Hillary: Back when Saint Ronald Reagan was president, Donald took out a full page ad and said America was the laughingstock of the world. I don't add to the national debt, which is indeed a very serious problem of the very serious people. We are going to politely beg the wealthy to pay their fair share. I want to invest in people and make them grow just like commodities. Donald's father was a millionaire and my father was only comfortably bourgeois.

Donald: I'm going to stick with the lie that cutting taxes on rich greedy bastards will create more jobs.

Chris: But what about entitlements for greedy widows, orphans and retirees?

Donald: Repeal and replace Obamacare. I'm not saying with what.

Hillary: Replenish the Social Security trust fund by taxing Donald Trump more -- unless he can figure a way to get out of it.

Donald: Such a nasty woman.

Hillary: Means-test Social Security, which is a sneaky way of turning it into a welfare program ripe for future cuts, instead of the social insurance program it is at the present time. I am euphemizing this for debate purposes as "harder decisions."

Chris: On a lighter note, let's end with some funny unrehearsed closing statements on why people should elect either one of you president. Clinton, it's your turn first.

Hillary: It's my turn. Awesome, incredible, mission, life's work, children, families.

Donald: She's raising money to control people. Me, I want to Make America Great Again.We have to take care of the military better than we take care of immigrants. We need law and order in mainly black inner cities. I will do more for them than she can ever do in ten lifetimes.

Chris: That brings to an end this series of corporate-controlled sham debates to which third and fourth party candidates have been barred because of low poll numbers caused by deliberate lack of coverage by the mainstream media. Now, America, the decision is up to you.

(Cheers, applause, spin, mainstream media becomes uniformly aghast that Trump thinks the whole process is rigged at the very same time they keep spreading the fear that Russia is trying to rig the election.)

Now, to be totally fair to all concerned, and in case you suspect that my creative editing of the debate transcript is too over the top for belief, here's a supplementary video that truly captures The Banality of Clump. It's going viral under the alternate title of "Creepy Grandma Grin."


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Shake, Rattle, and Rickroll

And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this.  It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.  So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.
Her voice was shaking so dramatically, I thought for a minute that First Lady Michelle Obama was talking about the latest lethal attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital by American forces or their Saudi surrogates. Or maybe she was reacting to one of the almost daily shootings of a black person by militarized American police, or the shocking news that one American citizen is being arrested on a drug charge every 25 seconds.

But why dwell on such mundane nightmares affecting vulnerable people, both near and far, when one can pretend to be shocked that Don John Trump is a vile-mouthed oafish sexual predator who forgot to take a charm school course in the Fine Art of Seduction? It's been common knowledge for decades that the man has been a gross serial groper of women, but nobody important much cared until the final weeks of the presidential campaign. When they weren't ignoring his criminal history, they were laughing at him. When they weren't laughing at him, they were giving him more than a billion dollars' worth of free advertising, the better to ignore Bernie Sanders's liberal policy ideas and Hillary Clinton's own scandals, lackluster campaign, and paranoid penchant for secrecy. As America's highest paid media mogul Les Moonves gushed to a group of Morgan Stanley bankers last winter, Trump "may not be good for America, but he's damned good for CBS." 

If disgust at Trump during the final weeks of the campaign isn't enough to propel consumer-citizens to the polls to vote for Hillary, then maybe shaming them and intimidating them and impugning their patriotism will do the trick.

Today's message from The Establishment: if you report on or even so much as read the hacked Podesta emails, you're going to hell in a deplorable hand basket.  

There's more than one reason that elite cores are shaking this week. As reported by The Hill, Clinton's Deep State advisers held a McCarthyesque emergency conference call with reporters on Friday to hysterically warn them that revelations about the shoddy inner workings of their corporate political party are a threat to national security and to democracy itself.

"I'm simply enraged by these Russian hacks," fumed Clinton surrogate and former acting CIA Director and CBS analyst Michael Morell.“It shakes me to my core. This is a direct assault on our democracy. It’s a direct assault on how we choose our leaders. And quite frankly, I can’t think of a more serious issue at the moment than Russia trying to interfere in our election.”

It matters little that no proof exists that Russia is actually behind the leaked emails. The truthiness is out there in a million Tweets and Retweets and Clintonoid propaganda in the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN and MSDNC.

It matters little to Morell that the CIA's entire 70-year-old raison d'etre has been to interfere in the politics of other countries and to foment violence, coups, proxy wars, and death. It matters little that in the leaked emails, Hillary Clinton acknowledged - and not for the first time - that Saudi Arabia (recipient of billions of dollars' worth of American weaponry) is the prime backer of ISIS and other extremist groups.

What matters is the deflection of public attention away from the tawdry content of the Clinton machine's anti-democratic correspondence and toward the alleged source of the damaging information. What matters is ramping up the attack on press freedoms and the public's right to know what our candidates and our government are doing in all our names.

The waning days of this dreadful election season have devolved into the two kinds of pornography that sell the best: sex and violence. The elites have all but abandoned any pretense at caring about poverty, health, jobs and most of all, climate change.

Thanks to the wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump's imploding campaign and psychopathy and the endless reverential coverage of the pseudo-rattled First Lady's feminist outrage at same, a meeting on Friday of her husband's National Security Council to weigh a deadly escalation of the undeclared American war in Syria went almost unnoticed by the media. Ditto for the US naval missile attack on poverty-stricken Yemen the previous day, in a direct escalation of that undeclared war. Ditto for the American-backed Saudi bombing of a Yemeni funeral last week that resulted in the deaths of 150 innocent people. Including many women and children.
  But pay no attention to the mass atrocities and the  looming World War III and unhinged American aggression abroad. Instead, be outraged and amused and shaken to your very core by the unhinged Donald Trump and #PussyGate. Support President Obama's pledge to vanquish Putin by secretly launching an "unprecedented" cyber-attack of our own on the Kremlin.

In case you hadn't guessed, the media-political complex is attempting to punk, or "rickroll" the American public with the usual weapons of mass distraction. But their methods are becoming increasingly desperate. They're as inept at disseminating their self-serving propaganda as Donald Trump apparently is at consummating his own serial predations.

From all accounts, the Trump victims coming forward this week managed to escape his grotesque slimy tentacles right in the nick of time. It's too bad we can't say the same for the silent and silenced victims of the unending state-sanctioned economic, social, physical and mental violence directed at millions of innocent people all over this country and all over this world.
America you don't really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen.
And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.-- Allen Ginsberg, 1956. 
 "I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact." -- Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzi, then 17, recounting her October 2013 meeting with Barack and Michelle Obama and one of their daughters in the White House.
Visibly Shaken Right Down To Their Apple Cores

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

It's Great To Be Obama

President Obama is feeling so juiced about his the future, he jumped at the chance to guest-edit the November issue of Wired.

He's feeling so wired that he even turned the word "science" into a verb for the occasion. After all, it's the best time in the history of America to be alive in America. All you need is to get down with the "churn" of technology, baby. Whether you're a desperate entrepreneur in Maryland fiddling around with a 3-D printer to make stuff for Etsy to pay off your onerous college debt, or an out-of-work fracker in North Dakota dreaming of going green now that the oil is being exported via bomb trains to New Jersey for shipment across the wide Atlantic, life has never been better.

Obama's cheerful editorial celebrating an alleged reduction in crime rates received ironic pride of place right above a reprint of an older article instructing readers how to make "an untraceable ghost gun in America" with a 3-D printer. But never mind all that. Because he is so celebrating the greatness of skipping the middle-man Uber drivers so that Uber investors can rake in ever more profits with driverless vehicles. People who need robots are the luckiest people in the world.   

As for humans, he wants to put them on Mars by 2030. No surprise that it was an outlandish blockbuster Hollywood movie called The Martian that inspired him:
 Of course, I’m predisposed to love any movie where Americans defy the odds and inspire the world. But what really grabbed me about the film is that it shows how humans—through our ingenuity, our commitment to fact and reason, and ultimately our faith in each other—can science the heck out of just about any problem.
With writing like that, is it selfish of me to be impatient for the first of his many, many overpriced autobiographies to hit the bookstores?

And if you're feeling sad and blue and poor and not excited about billionaires traveling to outer space, then it's all grouchy Donald Trump's fault (And as ever, Obama reduces crushing social problems to the neoliberal buzzword, challenges.)
Here’s another thing I believe: We are far better equipped to take on the challenges we face than ever before. I know that might sound at odds with what we see and hear these days in the cacophony of cable news and social media. But the next time you’re bombarded with over-the-top claims about how our country is doomed or the world is coming apart at the seams, brush off the cynics and fearmongers. Because the truth is, if you had to choose any time in the course of human history to be alive, you’d choose this one. Right here in America, right now.
Because anybody this self-satisfied should make you feel satisfied, too:

 Obama is so wired on capitalistic crack, he starts getting redundant:
This kind of progress hasn’t happened on its own. It happened because people organized and voted for better prospects; because leaders enacted smart, forward-­looking policies; because people’s perspectives opened up, and with them, societies did too. But this progress also happened because we scienced the heck out of our challenges.
This is truly presidential talk. When Trump goes low with the F-word and violence toward women, Obama goes high with heck.

No way would he ever plagiarize Matt Damon's original line from The Martian:

Obama and Damon actually owe each other. Once an ardent critic of the president's bellicosity and conservatism, Damon abruptly changed his mind after a very special visit to the White House to screen Monuments Men with Democratic bundler George Clooney. Obama took Damon aside and helped him see the neoliberal light. Obama is now quoting him and pimping out his movies every chance he gets. Matt Damon is now totally wired for Hillary Clinton.

To show how bipartisan they all really are, another fine upstanding folksy family guy is also extremely wired on Churn Baby Churn. Back when the elites on both sides of the Uniparty were still into sabotaging Bernie Sanders while insanely propping up Clintchurian candidate Donald Trump, Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich of Ohio praised Wall Street for its churning expertise.

He told CNBC's John Harwood that he didn't understand why Bernie was saying Wall Street's business model is a fraud. "Wall Street's there to provide some of the glue to make that economic system churn," he seethed, oddly thinking that glue makes for more creamily efficient whipping. "Did we have problems there? Nah.Of course. Is there too much cream at the very top greed? Never never never. Of course. Are there rules and regulations that are necessary? Of course not. But what's he think we should do, abolish Wall Street? I mean, it's so sane absurd. You talk about Donald Trump talking in broad generalities."

Feel the Churn, Not the Bern

Kasich, neoliberal centrist that he is, sounds exactly like Hillary Clinton. She must be thanking her god-given talents that Donnie bumped the moderately extremist Kasich out of contention when he did. That whole "Pied Piper" strategy and collusion with mainstream media to elevate Trump is working out beyond her wildest dreams. She really scienced it.

So I do wish everybody would stop singling out and picking on Hillary Clinton for those WikiLeaks revelations about her coddling and canoodling with Wall Street and bragging about her own "economic good fortunes." Because Obama isn't exactly talking to the lower orders in his Wired screed either:
That’s how we will overcome the challenges we face: by unleashing the power of all of us for all of us. Not just for those of us who are fortunate, but for everybody. That means creating not just a quicker way to deliver takeout downtown but also a system that distributes excess produce to communities where too many kids go to bed hungry. Not just inventing a service that fills your car with gas but also creating cars that don’t need fossil fuels at all. Not just making our social networks more fun for sharing memes but also harnessing their power to counter terrorist ideologies and online hate speech.
I'd always thought that one responds to challenges, not that one must "overcome" them. And that gives credence to the notion that neoliberals use the word "challenge' as a euphemism for distracting the poor and working classes from the capitalistic horrors unleashed upon them by neoliberalism.

 But, I quibble.

The better to further distract you from record wealth inequality and the militarization of our domestic police forces and spy agencies, the special Obama edition of Wired also devotes a whole section to fear-mongering about the cyber-espionage emanating from Russia and China. This helps the ruling class racketeers set the paranoid stage for public acceptance of World War III to supplement the creeping erosion of our own civil rights. The recent unproven claims that Putin is attempting to throw the upcoming elections through the series of embarrassing (and mostly, pretty boring) WikiLeaks revelations about Clintonland is the new casus belli meme wherever you go on the social networks these days. 
 That’s one reason why I’m so optimistic about the future: the constant churn of scientific progress. Think about the changes we’ve seen just during my presidency. When I came into office, I broke new ground by pecking away at a Black­Berry. Today I read my briefings on an iPad and explore national parks through a virtual-­reality headset. Who knows what kind of changes are in store for our next president and the ones who follow?
I'm afraid to ask. But in my own little virtual-reality headset, I'm sort of hoping for a bottom-up democratic counterrevolution against increasingly dangerous capitalistic churns-for-profit, accompanied by the emergence of third, fourth, even fifth parties. I'm hoping for more WikiLeaks revelations on, say, Obama's own closed-door speeches to the war-hungry and money-hungry plutocrats pulling the strings. And I don't much care whether the leaks come from Russia or from Mars.

Jobs, not drones. Education, not a trillion-dollar nukes upgrade. 

Meanwhile, here's Neil DeGrasse Tyson giving Obama a satirical reality check on his big spacey distracting Martian propaganda.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Debate & Switch... Ad Infinitum

Democracy is dead. Short live the oligarchy.

As our two favorite despised plutocrats met for Round Two of their Neoliberal Death Match Sunday, you didn't really expect the show to be about anyone else but themselves, did you?

 Oh, sure, Hillary for the millionth time delved into that time 30 years ago when she liked children well enough to actually have taken a short-lived job devoted only to them. She stressed over and over again that those who work hard with their "god-given potential" are not in her basket of deplorables. Nor are Muslim American citizens who patriotically spy on their fellow Muslim Americans in order to keep the domestic blowback arising directly from American military aggression against Muslims abroad in check.

  And between his own chronic sniffs and snuffles, Donald emitted scowling, sullen concern for "the African-Americans, the Latinos, the Hispanics" in a sort of amplified dog-whistle that he totally doesn't relate to anybody outside his own race and class. And that was about it for the empathy.

The debate results seemed to be a wash, despite many ominous predictions in the mass media that Trump would implode and die right on the stage, if not physically assault Hillary. He nearly had a Lloyd Bentsen moment, after Hillary delivered a creative history lesson equating backroom neoliberal sausage-making with Lincoln's prosecution of the Civil War. He cleverly observed that Clinton was certainly no honest Abe. (You might remember that famous debate moment when Bentsen told goofy Dan Quayle that he was no Jack Kennedy.) But the fact that Trump was still reeling from that damaging sexual assault fantasy tape kind of took the bite out of his riposte.

 I am very sad to report that Donald's worst lie of the night was when he shockingly accused Hillary of being for Single Payer health care. Neither she nor the moderators bothered to burst that balloon with a fact-check. They were probably too busy thinking about crotches and the sexual predations of rich and powerful and privileged men.

And when asked at the end of the debate to name one good thing about each other, Hillary allowed that despite the awful Trump gene pool in which they are immersed, his own kids have turned out almost miraculously well. They might be grifters like their Dad, but at least they don't go around snatching at people's crotches while they're raking in their millions and cheating investors. And Donald graciously admitted that Hillary was a fighter, which almost brought a hint of a smile to her pursed lips, if not a sparkle to her glazed eyes. She obviously can't wait to establish a no-fly zone in Syria and get that direct war with Russia started.

And it won't be a minute too soon. She blamed Russia for everything from the Wikileaked emails showing she has never given up her neoliberal agenda (unfettered free trade, Bowles-Simpson safety net cuts, privatization of the public sphere), to messing with the election and secretly backing Donald Trump.

But America is great, she said several times, because America is good. See Spot Run. Run, Spot, Run. See Spot Run, Jane. I see Spot run, Dick. Hear Donald Sniff. See Hillary Cringe.

Nobody won. In fact, everybody lost, except for the corporate sponsors. And the media. The Hill emailed me the first breathtaking headline of the night: "Clinton, Trump Don't Shake Hands!" Cooties, not Crotches!

 According to the Times, it was "bitter" right up until the bitter end. There were "remarkably tawdry accusations of groping and abuse," enthusiastically sniffed the Gray Lady. The Paper of Record has been acting as though it just discovered the secret porn stash in Daddy's closet, and doesn't know whether to be disgusted or turned on. It's obviously a bit of both.


Before I forget, here are my published comments on three of Sunday's Times op-eds.

Maureen Dowd managed to write a whole column about Trump going to the dogs without mentioning Hillary even one time. I think that must be a record for this election season.

My response:
The feckless fleet of GOP ships is leaving the sinking rat.

That should fool nobody. Forget about telling Trump to resign, they should all hand in their resignations.

The reactionaries clutching their pearls because Trump wants to grab female crotches are the same perverts who want to force vaginal ultrasound wands into women seeking abortions. The GOPers now demanding that the female folk be treated with respect punish women every chance they get. They refuse to pass a law requiring equal pay for equal work. They refuse to take the epidemic of rape in the military seriously. They sadistically deny expanded Medicaid health coverage to women in red states. They force poor women off the welfare rolls into low-pay, no-benefit jobs at the same time that they refuse to subsidize universal preschool and child care and affordable housing and food assistance and higher education.
Trump is only the latest, most glaring example of the institutional pathology which passes for GOP governing strategy.

It takes a loathsome, painful, unavoidable symptom to alert benumbed voters to the disease that lurks beneath. Is it too late to excise one single Trumpian metastasis and declare America cured?

Probably. There are plenty more predators lurking, and plenty more media outlets and and lobbyists and corporations and SuperPacs to give them all the air and sustenance they need.
There are unabashed hogzillas like Trump, and then there's the whole passel of pigs posing as prigs.

Frank Bruni whines about Hillary's Poisoned Prize.  Even when she wins, she'll lose, because Washington is broken and the country is hopelessly divided and gridlock caused Donald Trump and if gridlock won't go away, neither will Trump. (And you thought the debate was remarkably tawdry? I mean, sniff!)

My response:
This is a very misleading column, steeped in the usual inside-the-Beltway corporate centrism. Mr. Bruni cannot actually believe that the rise of Trump has been caused by congressional partisan gridlock, a simple failure of two bickering sides to make nice and compromise.

Trump has been paradoxically and deliberately enabled by the same media-political complex that is now feigning outrage in a feeble pretense at reining him in. Just as he has personally profited from the pathocratic system that has replaced our democracy, so too are the ruling class racketeers profiting mightily off one of their own. They are co-dependent parasites, and we everyday Americans are their food.

Bernie Sanders might have lost the battle, but the war is yet to come. He and Elizabeth Warren and soon-to-be elected down-ticket progressives (such as, I hope, Zephyr Teachout of New York) will be leading the charge. It's not the gridlock, which mysteriously disappears whenever there's a war to be fought or a bankster to be rewarded or a secretive spy agency to be funded. Because nothing unites the political and media servants of the plutocracy like the almighty dollar.

Bruni is right, though, that the ugliness won't go away with the Clinton restoration. Trump will be a constant cable TV guest, maybe even start his own media empire. He'll laugh all the the way to the banks he leverages, thanks to the laws and tax codes his lawyers have dictated to that terrible, horrible, dysfunctional Congress.

Times Public Relations Flack Public Editor Liz Spayd answers reader complaints that the paper didn't go after Donald Trump soon enough and hard enough. She split the difference, asserting that the coverage was a tad late -- but tough, very tough... and powerful. Give the Gray Lady a little credit, readers, because at least the old gal finally broke down and wrote "fuck" and "pussy" and the presses didn't explode. Spayd forgets to acknowledge that David Cay Johnston did much of the legwork years ago. The Times really hates to be seen playing catch-up.

My comment:
Trump has been such an integral part of New York's tabloid gossip /entertainment/high society scene for so many decades that, as Ms. Spayd acknowledges, The Times simply gave him a pass when he first started what initially was a pseudo-campaign. This entertainer certainly saved the pundits from doing much investigatory work. Writers, most notoriously Maureen Dowd, spent valuable column space just letting him go on and on and on for months and months and months. We were immediately clued in that Donnie was, if not a friend of Maureen, at least a highly accessible source. At least one of the interviews took place in an intimate dinner setting at Trump Tower. Very insider-y, especially the part where she gushed about all the little people peering in at them with awe and wonder.
Now she's finally taking him to task, once he cinched the nomination. Too, too late.

David Cay Johnston is the reporter who truly wrote the book on this character. Trump never could have gotten where he is today without the complicity of the media-political complex. New Jersey state officials, for example, gave him the green light to turn Atlantic City into another Boardwalk Empire. Trump became his own bank: too big to fail and too big to jail.

And thanks to the serial Trumpian outrageousness taking almost permanent possession of the top of the digital home page, there simply wasn't enough space to cover Bernie Sanders in any but the most condescending of terms. What a shame. Couldn't be helped.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Commentariat Central: Mewling Neocons Edition

Here's a quartet of recent New York Times comments by yours truly:

Maureen Dowd, Girl Talk At Trump Tower, Oct. 1.

Synopsis: Dowd casts Trump and his buddies as 13-year-old girls prematurely saddled with menopausal hormones, and thereby outdoes Trump himself in insulting females of all ages:
Every minute of every day, Trump debunks that old “science” when he shows that the gossipy, backbiting, scolding, mercurial, overly emotional, shrewish, menopausal one in this race is not the woman.
Trump is surrounded by a bitchy sewing circle of overweight men who are overwrought at the prospect of a distaff Clinton presidency.
Cool, but watch out for the usual Clintonoid non sequitur. Never mind the teeny-boppers and the withered old witch-hags. Because like a bad case of teen acne, here come those "bimbo eruptions" again:
As former Clinton consigliere George Stephanopoulos wrote in his memoir: “She had to do what she had always done before: swallow her doubts, stand by her man and savage his enemies.”
Usually women candidates have the so-called virtue advantage, but Hillary does not because of her reputation for being shifty.
Cue the Meow Mix cat food commercial. My published response:
We come not to neuter Trump, but to spay him.

Forget the standard nip and tuck in the nether regions for this misogynist who spews his vitriol as freely as a tomcat sprays his whatever from his wherever. Trump needs the full invasive procedure, without the anesthesia. If he couldn't be bothered to do debate prep, then why should we bother with surgical prep? Let's take Trump at his word and show him that he can, indeed, be treated as unfairly as he currently only imagines he is.

Unfortunately, because Maureen is compelled to yet again drag Hillary Clinton into her Trump operating theater, we never quite see the end of the procedure. I suppose the rationale is, when writing a catty piece about male cattiness, a catty polemicist simply cannot resist.

To Maureen, Hillary is pure catnip. What starts out as kneading the keyboard quickly pivots into the unsheathing of the claws. Trump licks his wounds just like an embarrassed but unharmed gib caught falling off his luxury perch. Enter Hillary, once more portrayed as the coldest,cattiest creature of them all, what with her purrfect plotting against the "bimbo eruptions."

Maureen has effectively neutered her own anti-GOP, anti-sexist argument. It's one more example of false equivalency. Trump and his catty clowder of chowderheads are bad in their way, Hillary is bad in hers. Who's the lesser evil, and who's the evil lesser?

Enough of this cheap reality show supplanting democracy.

We are citizens. Hear us yowl!


 Paul Krugman, Trump's Fellow Travelers, Oct. 3.

Synopsis: No, Krugman isn't red-baiting Trump from the right again. But it's close. In this pro-Hillary go-round, the Conscience of a Liberal chides Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell for not joining a fickle fleet of Republican ships deserting the sinking rat. He again blames the mainstream media for the unbelievable closeness of the race. He again ignores the job-destroying and and wage suppressing globalization and the corporate coups known as free trade. He again ignores the class war and income disparity and a crappy Democratic candidate. He instead holds up war criminal Paul Wolfowitz as a model intellectual conservative profile in political courage for deserting the sinking rat. I knew that Krugman had sunk low, what with all his catty Bernie-bashing this year. But this was a brand new low. Even for him.

My published response:
Krugman writes that "you have to give people like, say, Paul Wolfowitz some credit for political courage."
No, you don't. As one of the architects of the Iraq invasion, he should actually be hauled into an international court to answer a whole litany of charges, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. Endorsing the better presidential candidate should absolve him of nothing. It's actually scary that he is supporting Clinton, because it's a sign that he might wield influence. He has, after all, served both Democrats and Republicans since the 1970s.

As a founding member of the odious neocon think tank Center for a New American Security, he urged Bill Clinton to ignore the UN Security Council and get rid of Saddam Hussein. He authored a document called the "Defense Planning Guidance" while working for Dick Cheney. It says the US can take unilateral military action whenever it feels like it.
 He is neither a "conservative" nor an "intellectual." Hillary should reject his endorsement forthwith. He's as dangerous as Trump, if not more so. His tortured thinking has led to the deaths of thousands of American troops and the deaths and displacement of millions of innocent Iraqis.

Trump is only the latest, most glaring symptom of the American pathocracy.

So yes, let's defeat him. And once Clinton is elected, let her know in no uncertain terms that we won't tolerate neocons anywhere near the White House, ever again. End the wars.


Paul Krugman, The King of False Equivalence, Oct. 4 

Synopsis: PK again gives favored whipping boy Paul Ryan another (ugh!) 50 lashes with his wet neoliberal noodle:
Ugh. Ryan is not, repeat not, a serious, honest man of principle who has tainted his brand by supporting Donald Trump. He has been an obvious fraud all along, at least to anyone who can do budget arithmetic. His budget proposals invariably contain three elements:
1. Huge tax cuts for the wealthy.
2. Savage cuts in aid to the poor.
3. Mystery meat – claims that he will raise trillions by closing unspecified tax loopholes and save trillions cutting unspecified discretionary spending.
My comment:
 Paul Ryan couldn't survive in politics without Democratic complicity. The DCCC has never backed progressive challengers in his purple district, which Obama actually won in 2008. Why do you suppose that is?

Ryan might be a fraud, but he's a useful fraud. He's personable and he's young and he's telegenic. While he may devote his whole life to punishing poor families, he loves his own family so very, very much. Even the president has praised him for being a fine, upstanding family man.

When the GOP lost its "safe" NY-26 seat in a special 2011 election, Bill Clinton approached Ryan at the annual Pete Peterson Catfood Confab for Elite Greedsters to offer some friendly advice on "reforming" Medicare in a less extreme way than had originally proposed by Ryan. An open mic picked up their conversation:

Clinton: "I'm glad we won this race in New York. But I hope Democrats don't use it as an excuse to do nothing."
 Ryan: "My guess is it's gonna sink into paralysis, is what's gonna happen. And you know the math. I mean, It's just -- out there. But you gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving."

Bill promised to give Paul a buzz.

My guess is there's gonna be some friendly triangulation among Bill and Paul and the Dems in the not-too-distant future. After all, Hillary has promised to put Bill in charge of "fixing the economy."

Fasten your seat belts.


Nicholas Kristof, A Blot on Obama's Legacy, Oct. 6 

Synopsis: The title of this column has now been changed to "I Am Very Afraid I Will Die Tonight." - no doubt because the original doesn't fit with the concerted mainstream media Obama-burnishing campaign, now underway with a vengeance. 

Before you get all excited and think that Kristof's column is about Obama's abysmal domestic record, his coddling of Wall Street banksters, or his push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or is a broadside against the president's pathological drone policy, think again. Kristof is upset because Obama hasn't yet declared World War III by way of a "humanitarian" escalation of the war in Syria. He actually uses a child who Tweets to him in English to sell a new war to the American public.

As far as I'm concerned, the president's refusal to bomb Syria in 2013, once he'd determined that Assad did not, in fact, kill his own people with Sarin gas, was actually a rare profile in courage for him. And even though I am certainly no fan of Obama, I think that I will actually miss him once Hillary moves in and wastes no time displaying her Bush-like neocon qualities from behind the safety of her security detail and a fawning, war-hungry press corps.

My comment:
Kristof has got it exactly backwards. Obama's reticence to start a full-scale war in Syria is not a blot on his legacy, but rather a mark of rare statesmanship amidst all the war-mongering hysteria being fomented by the media-military complex.

When will we ever learn, Kristof ironically asks from behind the safety of his computer screen, as he disingenuously fails to remark upon lessons apparently unlearned from the debacles in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. How will little Bana, whom Kristof shamelessly uses as a prop in his liberal interventionist propaganda piece, benefit if Obama does his bidding to bomb bomb bomb Syria as an act of aggression toward Russia? Perhaps the columnist missed the Senate testimony of Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford last month, in which he warned that a no-fly zone would be tantamount to declaring war on both Syria and Russia.

Hillary Clinton is all for a no-fly zone. So be patient, Mr. Kristof - the real blot on the landscape may be yet to come.

 Too bad Obama can't get a third term like the Clintons.
Coming Soon: A Hybrid Neocon Third Term