THE SCENE: A conference room at the DNC’s Washington headquarters. It’s clear that a long meeting is in progress, from the various soda cans and coffee mugs on the table, scribbles and diagrams on the whiteboard, and the generally exhausted and disheveled air of the 6 participants. At the head of the table is TOM PEREZ, the newly-elected head of the Democratic National Committee. Sitting to his right is KEITH ELLISON, his second-in-command. There are four other people around the table: BERNIE SANDERS, loser of the Democratic Primary by 4 million votes; BILL MAHER, mansplainer extraordinaire; CHUCK SCHUMER, head of the Senate Democrats; and The One, former President BARACK OBAMA. There are, of course, no women present.
As the curtain rises, we see PEREZ and ELLISON in earnest and quiet discussion. SANDERS’ head is down and his eyes are closed; gentle snores issue from his nose. SCHUMER is gazing raptly into OBAMA’s eyes, while MAHER is on the phone, pacing, at the other end of the table. PEREZ and ELLISON decide to bring the group back in.
PEREZ: Guys, hey! (The men in the room reluctantly begin to shift into “pay attention” mode.) I know it’s been a long day so far. But I think we’ve made real progress. Let’s take a look at the whiteboard one more time. Keith, can you give Bernie a nudge?
ELLISON (checking his watch): Yeah, I guess it’s still light outside. (goes over and gently shakes SANDERS, who unelegantly snorts awake.)
SANDERS: Oh! Sorry about that. I must have napped for a minute there.
OBAMA (muttering) More like the past 90 minutes, man. (SCHUMER snickers.)
MAHER (on the phone): Crap. I’ve gotta go, Ann. Of course I’ll have you on my show again. I don’t care how conservative you are; you’re my kind of woman. (Hangs up) Sorry about that. It’s hard for me to say no to a hot blonde, even if she talks a lot of sh*t sometimes. Am I right?
(SANDERS is the only one who laughs.)
PEREZ (into the awkward silence): Uh. Right! So, to recap: we want to rebuild the Democratic Party to prepare for 2018 and beyond. We can’t just focus on the Presidency every four years. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place!
SCHUMER (smoothing it over): Sorry, Mr. President, but you have to agree that we should have spent more money and time building up Congress, the governorships and state legislatures. Now look what’s happened! The lunatics are running the asylum, and we don’t even have the option to impeach the schmuck squatting in the Oval Office to get his d*mn kids and that Breitbart wacko out of there. I feel like I’m living in Bizarro World!
SANDERS (standing up): I couldn’t agree more, Chuck. If it weren’t for that d*mn woman losing the election, we would be in the catbird seat right now. Thankfully you guys took over from that idiot Schultz, so we can take the Party back from the millionaires and billionaires! (sits down, self-satisfied)
(OBAMA rolls his eyes.)
MAHER (snarkily): Catbird seat?! How old ARE you?! (goes back to his phone and stops paying attention)
SCHUMER (politely): Uh, Bernie, that wasn’t actually what I said. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite. And I think it would be just terrific if you would stop obsessing about the primaries now. You know that 4 million more Democrats voted for Hillary. There was no rigging, except what the Russians did for Trump!
OBAMA: That’s right, Chuck. I knew those Russians were up to no good! But it shouldn’t have mattered. They should have come out for her the way they came out for me. (shaking his head) D*mn! I can’t believe my inspirational speeches didn’t work.
PEREZ (muttering): You mean those condescending lectures? Yeah, shocking.
ELLISON: (standing up and going to a whiteboard that turns around) Guys, guys! Come on now. We’re all on the same side, trying to do the same thing. Right? Let’s focus on beating the Republicans in 2018! Take a look at my strategy. I think we can all agree it’s a winner!
(ELLISON dramatically turns the whiteboard around. There is a picture of two people: one woman and one man. The man has unexpectedly sprouted a cartoon p*nis, and the woman has grown very large cartoon breasts.)
MAHER (grinning): Hey, Keith baby. I improved on it a bit.
PEREZ: Oh my God. (puts head in hands)
ELLISON (furiously erasing the offending bits): Bill, what are you even doing here? You’re not a politician. I don’t even know if you’re a Democrat!
MAHER: (standing up) Yeah? Well I figured you’ve got Bernie here, and he’s no Democrat. So what the f*ck, why shouldn’t I weigh in? After all, I know why you liberals always lose – it’s because you focus on the wrong things, like political correctness, instead of appealing to normal people like me.
OBAMA (finally a bit exercised): Oh – you mean we should cater to arrogant white guys who think they’re all that? I was President of the United States, you jackass. Have a little respect!
THE MEN GO SILENT, CHASTENED.
MAHER: Mr. President, I apologize. I got a bit carried away. It’s been a long day. (smarmily) Keith, why don’t we get back to your whiteboard. I promise I won’t touch it again.
ELLISON (not at all mollified, but willing to play along): All right. I cleaned up Bill’s mess, and here we are. These, gentlemen, are our new targeted Democratic voters.
First, we have Brenda. Brenda is an affluent white woman in the suburbs, who usually votes Republican. Our message? We feel your pain. You don’t want to think about the environment, or foreign policy, or how your vote affects people less fortunate than yourself. You just want lower taxes and an easy life for you and your family. And Brenda, you deserve it!
SANDERS (interrupting): Uh, Keith, I’m sure that’s not the message you want to send to Brenda. Don’t you want to talk to her about millionaires and billionaires taking over the country?
OBAMA: (interrupting): Nah, she’s a woman. Talk to her about taking care of her children!
SCHUMER (interrupting): What about abortion? Why can’t we talk to her about that? That’s the main issue for all women.
MAHER (interrupting): Women care about only one thing – a big schlong and a nice house. Why do you think I get so much action? (pointing) Hung like a horse, my friends.
(The meeting dissolves into chaos and yelling.)
PEREZ (commandingly): STOP! (The chaos calms.) Team, this is a mess. I forget, why are we targeting affluent white women again? And the man, isn’t he white too?
ELLISON (sheepishly): Uh, yes, Tom, yes he is. But remember, white people swung the election to that creep. We’ve got to get them to vote for us so we don’t lose again in 2018!
ELLISON (gaining confidence): I mean, look over here at the map of the United States. Come on, everyone, gather round the other whiteboard!
(Everyone gets up and dutifully looks at the whiteboard.)
SANDERS: Wow, is that Vermont? Huh. I thought it was bigger.
OBAMA (sarcastically): We know, Bernie.
ELLISON (clearing his throat): Ahem! Right. So look where the Democrats have all their support…in the East, West and some areas of the South. There’s very little in the middle of the country. That’s where we have to focus our efforts!
(The group murmurs in agreement, except PEREZ, who is scratching his head.)
PEREZ: So, uh…not to be a party pooper here, but…what about our base? African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, etc.? Shouldn’t we focus on turning them out rather than trying to convert people who never vote Democratic? And what about making sure people can vote in 2018? I heard that voter participation dropped 2-3 percentage points because of all those restrictive voting laws in those middle of the country states. If that hadn’t happened, plus all the Russian hacking and the Comey letter, Hillary would have won in a landslide!
SANDERS (getting red in the face): Oh please. She’s a loser! You should all listen to me. I would have won! It would have been YUGE!
ELLISON: I agree with Bernie. She only won by 3 million votes, and that’s mostly because of California. Who cares? It’s the middle of the country that counts.
SCHUMER: Wait a minute. What about New York? The greatest state in the nation!
(The room starts to get contentious again.)
OBAMA: Hey, hey, everyone. Look, it’s clear that we have some differences of opinion, but I’m confident we can work it all out. The notion that somehow Republicans could win in 2018 is patently absurd. Let’s all reconvene tomorrow, when we’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, and look at everything with fresh eyes. Okay?
(The men mutter and shake hands reluctantly as OBAMA ushers them out. PEREZ lingers behind and takes out his phone.)
PEREZ (quietly, making sure no one is around): Hello, Hillary? It’s me, Tom. (pauses) It was rough today. We really need you back. These guys have no clue! Obama does nothing but talk about himself. Maher makes dirty jokes and snarks. Bernie just yells “millionaires and billionaires” and says you’re a loser, then falls asleep.
(A hearty laugh issues from the phone.)
PEREZ: (chuckling) Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous. Meanwhile, Chuck is too afraid of making enemies to stand up to the others, even though he knows they’re on the wrong track. And Ellison backs whatever Bernie says. It’s a disaster!
(PEREZ pauses for a long moment as CLINTON talks.)
PEREZ: Really? You think it’s time you came out of the woods? Tell me more…
The lights dim and fade out as PEREZ listens to CLINTON.
It’s Sunday. Another weekend down, another week coming up. Fredster will resume his Sunday activities next week, I am filling in today. Let’s try to unwind our exhausted brains before we hurl ourselves into a new week of insanity.
As everybody (?) knows, I’m something of a movie buff. I studied film in college and currently work as an editor in television. I thought we would spend this Sunday combining movies and music with some of our favorite movie music! It could be orchestral melodies or songs from musicals. Whatever your hearts desire. It just has to either come from a movie or have been featured prominently in a movie.
Here are a few of my favorite things to get things started (I have sooooooo many):
Operator: Hello, this is the Spitefulness Hotline for Inhumane Troglodytes, S.H.I.T., how may I help you?
Caller: I just called because I’m scared. Really scared.
Operator: Why are you scared?
Caller: I’m a Republican and I’m having doubts.
Operator: Doubts about what?
Caller: Doubts that we are running out of ways to actually hurt people. The only thing that helps me is drinking. Drinking a lot. Well, and the cocaine. That seems to help. Then there’s the sex with my congressional staff. Then there’s the sex with the spouses of my congressional staff. And occasionally there’s the sex with their kids, but…
Operator: Okay, I get it. You’re just an average god-fearing, family values Republican trying to make a difference by delivering spitefulness to those hateful hordes back home.
Caller: You are incredibly perceptive.
Operator: Thank you. I used to work as a Planned Parenthood protester. I could spot those pregos at 50 paces. Everyone said, “If pigs had a nose for truffles, I had a snout for amniotic fluid.” Now, what seems to be the problem today?
Caller: I’m just worried and depressed. What if we can’t come up with new ways to hurt people? I mean how else are we going to hypnotize the bloodthirsty Tea Party types? What are we going to rant and rave about? What if Ann Coulter couldn’t buy that cheeseburger she needs? And how is it fair that Ailes and O’Reilly only got $65 Million?
Operator: Is this the first time you’ve felt this way?
Caller: No. I had a bad case of the sads when we softened up on Civil Rights and the lunch counter thing. And that Bush prescription drug plan! Don’t get me started. The only thing that kept me going during the Bush years was bombing some brown people. Now those were some good times.
Operator: That’s why we’re here. If you are feeling charitable or bighearted, we are here to put the Freon back in your veins. Why’d you want to S.H.I.T. talk today?
Caller: It’s like what happens when you are coming down off a really good coke high. You know no matter how good it gets, it won’t get any better than nose sledding through that pure white snow. I mean really. How does it get any better than charging cancer patients $142,000 more a year for piss poor insurance coverage? How’s it gonna get better than hitting minimum wage working mothers with $17,000 more a year just because they might have a kid at some point? If we don’t have that to look forward to, is life worth living? Can you feel me bro?
Operator: I can feel ya.
Caller: I mean we made sure mentally ill people could get guns. We finally got more mercury back where it belongs – in our air and water. We even said, in our out-loud voices, that cutting Meals on Wheels was the compassionate thing to do. Does it get any better than that? Amirite?
Operator: Have you tried talking with anyone else about these feelings?
Caller: Well, we have cheerleading sessions down in the basement of the Capitol. After we sacrifice some goats, the anime-eyed granny starver gets up and promises to take Medicare away, but he’s just talkin’. Daddy won’t deliver.
Operator: How do you know?
Caller: He’s actually going to give the old folks vouchers. Vouchers, I tell you. Like grocery stores won’t take vouchers for cat food? Of course they will.
Operator: There are always wars. Think about that. Those young Bernbrained bros are about to get a camo-clothing allowance. That’s something to look forward to.
Caller: I know, but how many times can you watch chemical weapons and still get that cold fuzzy feeling? I love the smell of Sarin in the morning.
Operator: Do you have a family?
Caller: No, I ICE’d ‘em last year. Had them deported. It was just a little early Christmas present I gave myself.
Operator: Hey listen, like all good conservative think tanks we run an intellectual support group for those who might be feeling a little too altruistic and not getting their venom on.
Caller: Really, what’s it called?
Operator: S.H.I.T. for Brains. Can we count on you?
Caller: You bet.
Operator: We like to keep anonymous data on our callers for statistical purposes. We have a few questions. Just exactly how white are you?
Caller: I was the centerfold for Cracker Quarterly.
Operator: What sign were you born under?
Caller: Tuscaloosa 12 miles.
Operator: Who has been your greatest influence?
Caller: Porn stars.
Caller: On camera, no one changes positions faster.
Operator: That’s all I need. Thanks for calling. Spread S.H.I.T. around.
Caller: I feel better. Here’s a little virtual fist bump just like the one Kush, ever so gently but firmly, gave me as we reached for the same Egyptian 1,500 thread count sheets.
End of recording.
What’s on your mind today?
A few weeks ago Dump’s chief cheerleader Kellyanne Conjob said that journalists’ Twitter feeds “are a hot mess.” The obvious irony of her remark can’t be avoided, of course. But like a broken clock, for a person who talks as much as she does, she’s bound to say something true and that might have been her one true statement. Journalists’ Twiter feeds are a hot fucking mess. I’ve been following a few, and see many more re-tweeted. And the problem with legitimate reporters having Twitter feeds is that their commentary turns them into pundits. Maggie Haberman (everything is Clinton’s fault all the time), Katy Tur (after SOTU Dump became President with Capital P) and Jake Tapper (everything is Clinton’s fault) constantly engage commenters, defending their own opinions. I don’t particularly care that they have anti-Clinton opinions, but any opinion they so openly express and defend makes them no different than Jeffrey Lord. Of course we can’t expect reporters not to have opinions. But airing them as they all do brings into question their reporting. Bill O’Reilly mixes news and opinion into one telecast. Is it really so different when Maggie Haberman files a Clinton story in the NY Times and then writes on Twitter that Clinton is obviously at fault for not pushing Trump/Russia story harder during the election? The line between Haberman and O’Reilly blurs.
The latest onslaught of Hillary bashing comes from publication of a new book called “Clusterfuck” by Fuckface Fucktard and Fuckity Fuckass. I might have gotten the name of the book wrong and misspelled the names of the authors. But it’s something like that. The book is the first in what will surely be many years of autopsies of Clinton’s campaign. The gist of it is that it’s all Clinton’s fault, and mostly Robby Mook’s fault. (Nobody was allowed to speak to Hillary except via Huma and Mook is a “professional political assassin”.) The sources are, of course, largely anonymous. And the content isn’t really surprising.
What is also not surprising are the reviews. I know a graph I posted last week showed that Washington Post’s anti-Hillary coverage was only second to Fox’s, but somehow New York Times’ has always carried much more weight. (And I wonder if Chris Cillizza’s Clinton Derangement Syndrome skewed WaPo coverage overall. He is truly demented and has transferred his psychosis to his new job at CNN. More on Cillizza below.)
Michiko Kakutani reviewed the book in New York Times:
“Shattered” underscores Clinton’s difficulty in articulating a rationale for her campaign (other than that she was not Donald Trump.) And it suggests that a tendency to value loyalty over competence resulted in a lumbering, bureaucratic operation in which staff members were reluctant to speak truth to power, and competing tribes sowed “confusion, angst and infighting.”
Kakutani has a long history of reviewing both Clintons’ books and it’s not a good history. Compare to Steven Ginsberg review in Washington Post:
Does it really matter who was pissy at whom in Brooklyn when we still don’t know what role the Russians played in the election or why FBI Director James Comey publicly announced a reopening of the e-mail investigation in late October? Those questions are largely left unexplored here, other than as targets of Clinton’s post-election ire.
I also liked this paragraph from Ginsberg:
Much of the post-election analysis has criticized Clinton and her campaign for focusing on “reach” states such as North Carolina instead of putting more resources in the upper Midwest. That view is both echoed and called into question in “Shattered,” which depicts a vexing Goldilocks-style problem for Clinton across the region.
In Wisconsin, she didn’t show up enough. In Michigan, local organizers thought it was best that she stayed away. In Pennsylvania, she campaigned as aggressively as anywhere in the nation. In all three, she lost by less than 1 percent of the vote. So what should she have done?
Charles Pierce wrote a great takedown of New York Times’ Clinton problem. It’s worth reading in its entirety. Pierce reaches back to William Safire and Whitewater, the source of Times’ Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
Several other reporters and writers also pointed to the nonsense of the book’s premise and the subsequent flogging of Clinton.
Dave Weigel of WaPo tweeted: “Obviously Clinton screwed up by forcing every cable channel to play Trump speeches live for a year.”
Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo: “Remember: Every losing campaign was run by idiots. Every winning campaign by geniuses. Rinse, repeat.”
Greg Sargent of The Plum Line: “Weird how people who cite Nate Silver constantly suddenly don’t ever cite his conclusion about Comey impact.”
And, of course, Paul Krugman: “When journos who hyped e-mail pseudo-scandal pile on over HRC campaign errors, it’s partly CYA over their own role n Trump disaster.”
I do wish Krugman would walk over to Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush and smack them.
A note about Cillizza. His Clinton hate is truly one of the most rabid among the media. I try to think of someone who might match it at the moment and really, I can’t think of anyone who’s not, say, Rush Limbaugh. After his latest “It’s all Hillary’s fault” article from today, an Unworthy writer Parker Malloy put together a collage of some of Cillizza’s articles from WaPo on Clinton. (The handle in the images reads CillizzaCNN, but that’s because he’s changed it to his current job; the old username from WaPo days was not archived separately.)
If you want to know what real, fearless journalism looks like, read the story of Elena
Milashina from Novaya Gazeta. Milashina is the reporter who told the world about the kidnapping and torture of gay men in Chechnya, reports that put her life in danger. Novaya Gazeta is the same newspaper Anna Politkovskaya worked for. Politkovskaya reported a lot on Putin’s actions in Chechnya. She was murdered.
Another example of courageous reporting, also from Russia, is in this Jim Rutenberg report.
It’s important American journalists pay attention to these stories. Because Trump wants to be like Putin. And if Trump becomes Putin, he’ll go after journalists first.
Released on: April 18, 2017, 9:01 am (EDT)
Industry: Fashion Press Release
38th Parallel, DMZ, South Korean side — /M.A.D./ — From the world’s greatest designer lacking both perspective and a hint of humility, comes Don Saint l’Orange, who is thrilled to announce the Spring 2017 opening of MADwear – Mission Accomplished Duds.
This is not virginal MADness. The world has seen Mission Accomplished Duds before. These are the duds for the man who longs for big things that come easily to those who have long toiled in the vineyards of wealth and privilege. MADwear gear was first spotted on a carrier dick deck in 2003. Fast forward to yesterday with Powder body double and Oedipal Complex support group dropout, Mike Pence, sporting a MADwear bomber jacket as he squinted longingly and menacingly toward North Korea.
Don St. l’Orange, much like all things in his life, retroactively appropriated the design and recently sported the gear on his bulbous rind. After he went missing and a Golden Alert was issued, Don l’Orange was found roaming the naval carrier Gerald R. Ford. When told about the Golden Alert, DoLo wondered aloud, “Will there be pee?” and “I thought Carrier made air conditioners.”
You may know DoLo by his other sobriquets – the Incredible Papaya Limpet and the Vermillion Versace, but he is best known in the business world for being an unmitigated FOCKer (Fiend of Carbon Kibitzing).
MADwear is thrilled to announce the opening of its e-tail shop with its inaugural photo shoot, MADness Amid Chaos. DoLo has always coveted e-tail and wanted to take advantage of its vulnerability by grabbing it. Along with rot gut wine and inedible offal marketed as steak, the shop will feature MADness as a wearable metaphor for the pre-dementia psychopathic narcissist living out a lifelong fascination with strong military-types. MADwear is homage to these “manly men” and the supple brown, Barcalounger pleather bomber jacket is a natural follow-up to the original jumpsuit codpiece sported by the unmanscaped raging Bush.
Based in Mexicali, Mexico, MADwear showcases a unique clothing perspective by providing Duds for Dudes (Duds for Duds will be a subsequent marketing push). Just as the MAD jackets are reversible, so is the name — Duds Accomplishing Missions Naturally (DAMN) is a brother label and given the fraternal bro popularity, the movement has become known as DAMNation.
Says owner l’Orange, “our MADness Amid Chaos photo shoot is a metaphor for how treasonous incompetence can masquerade as persimmon perfidy only until the spring when the pleather rash blooms. Without fail, 2017 will be a year of MADness — a fashion forewarned trend.”
Please note: MADwear does not own the trademark to Mutually Assured Destruction and any similarity to the elements of thermonuclear war are entirely coincidental.
What is on your mind today?
Good Sunday Widdershins
Am I blue? Well yes, indeed I am. I’ve actually been blue since, oh, maybe November of last year. Instead of having the most qualified person to possibly ever be the Chief Executive of the country, we instead have a person that we can legitimately ask of him “Is he playing with a full deck?“. This is not the way I intended to head into my “declining” years, so to speak.
Years ago, Fletcher Knebel wrote a novel called Night At Camp David about a president who’d gone mad. The evidence for that was that the bughouse president was lost in grandiose delusions about his place in the world.
I have come to the conclusion that the president* has slipped his gears and that his control over the military—and over foreign policy—is as tenuous as his hold on rationality is. I have not felt this shaky about the state of the world since October of 1962.
Which brings us to the second part of the Knebel Paradox. It’s becoming very clear that the president* has farmed out his responsibilities as commander-in-chief—and most of his foreign policy—to the generals and ex-generals with whom he has surrounded himself.
So yeah, that might tend to make one feel a bit azurish and with that in mind let’s listen to some songs about the blues.
* * *
1. Falling back into the blue ~ Miller Anderson
2. When a blind man cries ~ Gary Barden
3. Kind of blue ~ Miles Davis & John Coltrane
(4) Damn Right I’ve got the blues ~ Buddy Guy
(5) I’m torn down ~ Freddie King
* * *
BONUS VID CLIPS
You say you live on the left coast and you’re worried about those Korean rockets/missiles? Fear not. Let’s call these “When Good Rockets Go Bad”
This was an entertaining one
Another Russian S-300 fail
This Chinese missile just couldn’t figure out which way to go
One from the Brits that didn’t go quite as planned
And lastly a Trident sub launch that didn’t go well
* * *
So there you go Widdershins. Take this in any direction you wish.