Posts Tagged ‘Breitbart’
There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their—certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.
It’s not. But so said Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s senior advisor with an office on the 2nd floor of the White House (because he doesn’t like stairs), and the first woman to run a winning Presidential campaign. She is also the person who invented the phrase “alternative facts” and the Bowling Green Massacre. (Also fun fact: Conway’s husband, George T. Conway III, is a litigation partner at law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, whose previous notable alumni include Glenn Greenwald.)
Conway’s rise to power and fame has been long and steady. She first gained prominence as a right-wing blond pundit in the 1990s, along with Laura Ingraham and Barbara Olson. Over the years she has worked for Newt Gingrich and Todd “Legitimate Rape” Aikin. In 2016 she endorsed Ted Cruz for President and campaigned for him and against Donald Trump. Her numerous media appearances blasting Trump blasted her into election year stratosphere, so much so that when Cruz folded his wings, Conway was brought to the Trump campaign by the very scary Mercer family. (Mercers are just like the Kochs, but 100% more evil. They own Breitbart, among many other notable acts of devilry.) Once at the helm of Trump’s campaign, Conway really began to shine. Her dizzying feats of triangulation, circular talk and topic avoidance, became an Olympic sport. And it’s really not too crazy to say that she is a yuge reason Trump managed to “win.” She helped humanize him. Somehow, for a very long time, people managed to see Conway as a human herself, even SNL (where she is played by Kate McKinnon) always portrayed her as a good person stuck in an impossible situation working for an awful man, but not knowing how to stop him. (Same fantasies still exist about Ivanka Trump and Melania, contrary to all existing evidence.) That is patent nonsense, of course. Conway knew exactly what she was doing and helped give the world Trump. She is not a victim.
But everything that goes up must come down. And Conway is on her way down. Her TV appearances have dwindled because nobody wants to book her. She was temporary banned from CNN. She has been permanently (?) banned from Morning Schmoe. Shep Smith on Fox openly mocks her. (“…senior adviser Kellyanne Conway — who we don’t quote much anymore because, well, history”). Each time she gives a major interview she invents a crazy story (Bowling Green Massacre and spying microwaves are most notable over the past few weeks.) She also got a fair amount of… shall we call it “alternative feedback” to a photo of her sitting on the couch in the Oval Office with her feet up while surrounded by a large group of black men. Granted, she was prepping to take a photograph and that was one way to do it. (One way, not the only way). But when you combine all the nonsense, Conway really does seem to be coming undone and unhinged.
In a February piece in the New York Times, Erin Gloria Ryan, summarized her growing dislike for Conway, which to her centers on Conway’s faux feminism.
Once she took the reins of Donald Trump’s campaign, though, she went from smooth to slippery. She’d hammer Hillary Clinton for talking too much about gender and duck behind her femininity in the face of legitimate criticism. If she succeeded, it was because she was Kellyanne. If she failed, it was because she was a woman.
As Kellyanne’s once-forceful cable news denials have disintegrated into whimpers, I can’t say I feel anything for her at all. I don’t mind when people point out how tired she looks. I simply cannot dredge up any sympathy for a person who has acknowledged the structural problems most women face only when she is personally facing them, or used them as derailing tactics when she’s losing an argument. I can’t mourn the downfall of a fair-weather feminist, a woman who has used her power to hurt other women.
Ms. Conway made her bed. And now it’s time for her to get some sleep.
In different, lighter and more empowering news: it took 188 years for Fanny Mendelssohn to get some recognition she deserves, but better late than never. Fanny was the older sister of Felix Mendelssohn, one of the great Romantic composers, who – among many great works of music – gave us the Wedding March. In 1829 he is said to have written a piano sonata. The manuscript, which was discovered in the 20th century, was autographed “F Mendelssohn” and the assumption was that it was Felix’s. But in 2010 a Duke graduate student proved that “F” was Fanny, not Felix, and last week the work was finally performed with Fanny’s name attached as composer. We actually know that Fanny composed over 460 pieces of music. It was unusual for women to openly composer and publish, so Felix arranged to have a handful of her works published under his name. In 1842, when visiting Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace, the Queen told Felix that she intended to sing one of his songs for him. Felix confessed that the song was actually composed by his sister. Fanny died in 1847 and is buried in Berlin.
It seems that every week I say something about how difficult it is to keep up with the news. And gosh darn it, I’m gonna do it again. I wrote a post on Sunday that by Monday afternoon was no longer entirely relevant. So here I am re-writing it on Tuesday night. It may or may not be up to date on Wednesday morning.
The big news development of the last 48 hours has been the very very rapid downfall of Conservative hero Milo Yiannopoulos. Why does anyone care about this degenerate and why are we taking pleasure in his unraveling? Though he was an active asshole before, Milo became famous in 2014 as a result of GamerGate. For those who may not know this travesty, here’s a brief synopsis: Several prominent female video game developers became the target of harassment and death threats on the internet, especially Twitter, because they were accused of colluding (having sex with) journalists for flattering coverage. Yiannopoulos published articles about it for Breitbart and led many attacks on the women. And so his right-wing, misogynistic public persona was born. He became a hero of the right, he hated political correctness, and his attacks on women, Jews, African-Americans, immigrants, transgender people, etc., made him a Conservative super star. His college campus tours brought out protestors, which fed his fame among Conservatives/neo-Nazis/white supremacists. It was a curious thing because Yiannopoulos is gay (and British. He also fetishizes black men. He only has sex with black men, which he insists is what makes him not racist. He doesn’t realize it actually is one of the most racist things about him.)
Earlier this year his fame extended after he led on-line attacks on actress Leslie Jones, SNL cast member and one of the stars of the “Ghostbusters” reboot. Yiannopoulos led racist Twitter assaults on Jones. Around the same time these people published private photos stolen from Jones’ phone. (If you think you can stomach it, see some of the racist Twitter attacks here. The overwhelming assaults briefly led Jones to leave her social media accounts. Protests against Yiannopoulos finally led Twitter to ban him. (But he did get a $250,000 book deal with Simon and Schuster.) These things made him a hero of the Right/Conservatives who claimed he – and the Conservative point of view – were being censored by the corrupt Libtard media. Ultimately Milo’s behavior – and the keynote address speaking slot he was given at CPAC this year – have revealed that modern day Conservatism is morally and intellectually bankrupt. The young leaders of Conservatism, like Yiannopoulos and bobble-head Tomi Lahren, are proudly anti-intellectual. The days of someone like Bill Kristol – a man you may disagree with, but you can’t argue he’s probably read a book or two in his life – are long gone for Conservatives. They exist solely to offend. Even many Conservatives recognize it.
On Friday night Yiannopoulos (wearing a pearl necklace) appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time. Maher has been consistent on his support of free speech – and he has hosted many deplorable guests over the years. But his interview with Milo was the equivalent of Jimmy Fallon tossling Trump’s hair on the Tonight Show. An embarrassingly soft fluff piece, in both its official on-air interview and on the internet only Overtime segment. And Maher’s attacks on liberals who protest Milo are preposterous. I actually think over time Maher might become radicalized to the far Right. There is a very thin line between Far Right and Far Left. Maher’s long-standing Islamophobia and support for people like Yiannopoulis, could turn him into a Right-wing crusader.
But, back to the degenerate Yiannopoulos. He was still riding high through the weekend after his triumphant appearance on Real Time, when on Sunday an anonymous Republican Twitter group, Reagan Battalion, published previously public but unknown interviews with Yiannopoulos, in which he waxed rhapsodic about sex with 13 year old boys. And all hell broke loose. Though the Breitbart crowd fiercely defended him (including Michael Flynn Jr.), slowly establishment Republicans turned on him. Pressure was put on CPAC to cancel his appearance. It took over 24 hours for CPAC to withdraw their invitation. Simon and Schuster cancelled his book. And word came out that Breitbart employees revolted, demanding that he be fired. Eventually Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart (where he was an editor) before they could fire him. In his sorry/not-sorry resignation, he said he was sorry for his choice of words but really, everybody knows sex with 13 year olds is good and everyone is overreacting and blah blah blah. Where this horrible human being goes from here is anyone’s guess. Pundit on Fox? I have no doubt he will be back.
One week into 2017 and it feels much longer than just a mere seven days. Much like the sands of an hourglass, these are the days of our “lies”. Bad pun I admit, but I’ve been sick.
As you’ve undoubtedly heard, the intelligence community (think “Spyville”) released their novelette on the election. It’s no thriller whodunit, we’ve always known it was Pootie Poot. Here’s a good summary from Vox.
When I wrote, “we’ve always known,” that isn’t quite correct. The “we” doesn’t seem to include Prez-elect BabyHands or his band of sycophantic nannies and mannies. Without delay, his merry band of prevaricating provocateurs issued a statement saying, “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.” Had they taken the time to read it, the official report said quite definitively, “the report did not assess the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.”
Fox, Breitbart, Drudge, talk radio, and indeed, the Republican Party plowed the fertile ground for these Russian Putinesque lies to take root. Such lies grow with reckless abandon in the siloed hothouses of profit over patriotism. With the Foxification of NBC and MSNBC, the Petri dish of disinformation continues to grow in pursuit of the dollars flowing from increased audience share.
Amazingly, the Wall Street Journal, in a fit of moralizing heretofore unaccompanied by its business practices, has decided not to use the word “lie” when describing King Carotene’s untruths. The reason? And I quote:
Lie implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead.
To translate – purposefully taking a fact and surrounding it with words giving that fact a completely different meaning, then purposefully transmitting that misleading set of words to 40 million people via Twitter is no longer a lie. That is the world in which we now live.
So I thought we should celebrate the weekend by reminding ourselves what lies are and what they sound like. Throw out your best songs or your best stories about lies and the people who tell them. Don’t feel constrained to just lying songs – any songs about things not being what they are supposed to be are welcome and encouraged.
Good morning folks. We are coasting downhill into a long weekend. It is my sincerest hope everyone has copious amounts of time to do absolutely nothing.
In preparing for the weekend we should aspire to the Zen state of Mushin. In sports circles, Mushin is often referred to as “being in the zone”. Mushin is characterized by a mind that is empty of all thoughts and exists purely in the current moment. A mind in Mushin is free from worry, anger, ego, fear or any other emotions.
So in this silly season, how can we free our minds from anger when cable news continues to exist? I find myself literally yelling at the teevee. My use of words beginning with an “eff” is through the roof. From overuse, I’ve worn out a blood pressure cuff.
Here’s my suggestion: Let’s take a few minutes and purge ourselves of the prickliest issues angering us most. Here’s how we will proceed. Paraphrase a typical question from a blather-head and then answer the way you would if you were Hillary’s spokesperson for the day. There are no limits as to what you can say.
Here are a few examples:
Q: Mr. Prolix, speaking on behalf of the campaign, how do you react to the latest Clinton email scandal or the Clinton Foundation scandal?
A: Oh, I see you have again been hanging around the Ann Coulter and Breitbart litter box. Let’s start here – can you form any question, any question at all, that doesn’t have as its subject the word “scandal” with the word Clinton just plugged in as a modifier.
Nothing can ever be an issue or a situation or a circumstance – if it involves the Clintons it has to be a scandal. Really, get yourself a thesaurus and have someone read it to you.
Q: Well Prolix, can you tell us why Mrs. Clinton last held a press conference when the sainted press pool still used stone tablets?
A: Well yes, I can, you fetid feculence with feet. You see, and make sure and write this down, the reason we have elections is to declare a winner. To become the winner you must have a strategy. It is not now or has it ever been Hillary’s strategy to mollycoddle the media. You see no one cares, not even a little bit, about how much respect you believe you are entitled since you are a bunch of privileged, spoiled, self-important arse-monkeys.
Q: Another question Prolix, why are people so focused on Hillary’s honesty and trustworthiness?
A: First, I have a question for you. Does being this stupid hurt? People aren’t focused on Hillary’s honesty. You drive the issue in your corporate, for-profit polls. You stack the results with a faulty question by increasing the qualifiers to drive down the favorable responses. So your contrived narrative works except for people who are not now and have never been susceptible to twenty-five years of constant, unflagging assault from haters. Because you know what, Hillary consistently scores above 75% favorability among Democrats.
Q: One last question Prolix, why is limiting contributions to the Foundation mandated if Hillary is President and not when she was Secretary of State?
A: Are you out on a day pass or are you monitored electronically? Eleven and a half million people rely on the Foundation to give them the drugs that keep them alive. We are not going to stop that tomorrow because you don’t understand this one fact: We take rich people’s money and give it to poor people. Most people think that’s a good idea. We give people medicine and healthcare and clean water and food and shelter and a chance at a better life. All the transactions are transparent. Why don’t you ask for the Yam’s tax returns or how deep in hock he is to the Bank of China or Russian oligarchs?
I could go on for days, but I feel better.
Go ahead, purge your anger.
What’s on your mind?
Good morning Widdershins.
What say we start with a little thought experiment? Let’s say that Barack and Michelle Obama had a credit card or car loan from the Bank of Bahrain. How would Fox, Drudge, Breitbart, Blimpbaugh, or Hannity react?
Now you are thinking, “Prolix, that is just plain three-legged dog stupid. Of course they would never shut up about it.” For example, Hannity, the dumbest man to ever be paid to talk on teevee and proud Trump adviser, still mentions Bill Ayers every third breath and that illicit entanglement is based on a chance meeting at a 1995 cocktail party.
So where is the outrage when the Republican nominee is in hock to the Bank of China and Russian oligarchs? In a backbreaking piece of research journalism, the New York Times article: Trump’s Empire: A Maze of Debt and Opaque Ties found:
Beyond finding that companies owned by Mr. Trump had debts of at least $650 million to the Bank of China among others, The Times discovered that a substantial portion of his wealth is tied up in three passive partnerships that owe an additional $2 billion to a string of lenders, including those that hold the loan on the Avenue of the Americas building. (A building that alone carries $950 million in loans.)
So where is the outrage when the clamoring Yam doesn’t make good on his commitments to charities, particularly, veteran charities? Or how about a little outrage over evidence of self-dealing when he jacked-up the rent on his own campaign five times higher when contributors started footing the bill?
When there are daily, even hourly, outrages the tongue-wagging press becomes anesthetized to them. Just like beekeepers being immune to stings, the sting of outrage has ceased to make an impression upon the keepers of the Trump press.
Instead the Yam and his Trumpanzees want to focus on the Clinton Foundation. It’s a charity with an “A” rating that enjoys contributions from 300,000 contributors, 90% of whom contribute $100 or less. Its good works have positively affected the lives of 430 million people in over 180 countries, including 31,000 American schools, 11.5 million needing HIV/AIDS drugs, and 85 million people in the U.S. through strategic health partnerships.
And the call is to shut the Clinton Foundation down. Shutter it. Stop the good works – all for a talking point of a two-bit, lying buffoon being choreographed by a racist, nationalistic, purveyor of slime and hatred who wriggled from the fever swamp of Breitbart.
This is the modus operandi of the Alt-right. Throw so much spaghetti on the wall it makes you think an Olive Garden exploded. It’s a perfect scheme now that a human’s attention span is less than that of a goldfish. Mother Jones explains Steve Bannon as the head lizard of the Breitbart fever swamp:
Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the “alt-right,” a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media. In short, Trump has embraced the core readership of Breitbart News.
Though disavowed by every other major conservative news outlet, the alt-right has been Bannon’s target audience ever since he took over Breitbart News from its late founder, Andrew Breitbart, four years ago. Under Bannon’s leadership, the site has plunged into the fever swamps of conservatism, cheering white nationalist groups as an “eclectic mix of renegades,” accusing President Barack Obama of importing “more hating Muslims,” and waging an incessant war against the purveyors of “political correctness.”
All of this to feed the prying eyes of those hungering for click-bait. It is the last refuge of those wanting to be seen as something genetically similar to journalists, but too lazy to engage in anything beyond false equivalencies.
With the outrage-o-meter in the red courtesy of the flying monkeys led by the wicked Noodleliani, there are those who camouflage their laziness and Clinton derangement syndrome with an intellectualized Mary Kay sampler kit. A prime case in point is Jonathan Chait, a graduate of the Ryan Lochte Ethics Institute, who writes:
“Give a man a reputation as an early riser,” said Mark Twain, “and he can sleep ‘til noon.” Hillary Clinton finds herself in the opposite situation: She has a reputation for venality — the merits of which we can set aside momentarily — that forces her to a higher ethical standard. Her inadequate response to the conflicts of interest inherent in the Clinton Foundation show that she is not meeting that standard, and has not fully grasped the severity of her reputational problem.
Ultimately, there is no way around this problem without closing down the Clinton Foundation altogether. Passing off management of the foundation to non-relatives or other third parties doesn’t do the trick, either. If the Clinton Foundation is not leveraging the Clinton name, it has no purpose.
Chait is representative of the lazy journalists who pander to the jaundice-eyed skeptics who forego facts for conditional morality. The conditions of their morality are whatever fits their transitory narrative. Presently, that narrative is to reward the Circus Peanut for keeping his clothes on and not howling at the moon as he spews factless, baseless lies.
It is easy to say in hindsight, why didn’t the Clintons change the Foundation accordingly? Their answer is: Change it to what? Here is a leadership truism: If the objective is randomly subjective, why bother? Just do what is right. The lesson is this: No matter what the Clintons might have done eight years ago, it would have made no difference since the standards by which they are judged are constantly evolving to fit the subjective views of those proclaiming the standards. CDS makes ordinary strategic thinking useless, so the Clintons just did what was right. Not politically expedient, but a methodologically practical plan to provide charitable services.
When you consider the Trumpanzees, the flying monkeys, the lazy co-opted press, and the attention-grabbing bobbleheads, what you have left is a coalescing Alt-right world embodied by the Republican Party. It is a world of rumor and innuendo with closed captioning of hate and paranoia. The caricatures of bigotry and prejudices are now the reality of the GOP.
And what is missing throughout this: Not one word about the 430 million poor people whose lives have been made better. Instead, the good work of the Clinton Foundation has been turned into fodder for the promotion of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, racist provocateurs. To quote James Carville, “Someone is going to hell over this.”
What’s on your mind today?
What do Baltimore, Muskogee, Josh Duggar, the Family Research Council, Ferguson, and Waco have in common? Is it the lack of oxygen in the vacuum of moral superiority? Is it the total detachment from reality that can only be borne from ignorance combined with an extraordinary talent for ignoring the world? Is it the world as described by the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, “I know a lot of people without brains who do an awful lot of talking?” Or is it, as you suspect, all of the above?
After the unrest in Baltimore, blame was being apportioned in heaping helpings by the increasingly righteous Right. For example, John Nolte, of Breitbart.com wrote, “Baltimore is what happens when you replace the two-parent family with a welfare check and union-run public schools.” Or Laura Ingraham, the talk-show host, “No fathers, no male role models, no discipline, no jobs, no values equals no sense of right and wrong.” Or Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, “Baltimore is a Great Society city that bought fully into the big-government vision of the 1960s, and the bitter fruit has been corruption, violence, and despair. This is a failure exclusively of Democrats.”
Or from The Wall Street Journal, never shy about trafficking in baseless blame on its editorial page:
Let’s not forget who has run Baltimore and Maryland for nearly all of the last 40 years. The men and women in charge have been Democrats, and their governing ideas are ‘progressive.’ This model, with its reliance on government and public unions, has dominated urban America as once-vibrant cities such as Baltimore became shells of their former selves.
But what about rock-ribbed communities governed by the pure hearts, virtuous minds, and never idle hands of conservatives? That is the question asked by Thomas Edsall in a wonderful essay well-worth the read. Mr. Edsall compared Baltimore and Muskogee, where the Okies “don’t smoke Marijuana, don’t take trips on LSD, and don’t burn their draft cards.” It seems as though, times they are a’changin’.
As Edsall points out:
Today Muskogee, Okla., a city of 38,863, has nine drug treatment centers and a court specifically devoted to drug offenders. A search for “methamphetamine arrest” on the website of the Muskogee Phoenix, the local newspaper, produces 316 hits.
Comparing both cities, the violent crime rate has fallen over the past decade, just as it has nationwide, although the 22.3 percent drop in Baltimore is four times as large as the 5.6 percent decline in Muskogee.
On an even larger comparative scale, the highest rates of white teenage pregnancy in the 30 states with available data are all in the reddest of red states. While the national white teenage pregnancy rate in 2010 was 38 per 1,000, white rates were at least 10 points higher in nine states: Oklahoma (59), West Virginia (64), Arkansas (63), South Carolina (51), Alabama (49), Mississippi (55), Tennessee (51), Kentucky (59) and Louisiana (51).
These mysterious things are called facts and you never hear them when blame is being preached or sin is being apportioned. Such factual heresy brings me to Josh Duggar and the Family Research Council. Duggar was the Executive Director at the FRC before that “awful, dreadful episode of teenage exuberance” came to light before a judge got around to ordering the police records destroyed. Neither Duggar nor the Family Research Council has ever shown a whit of reticence when it comes to apportioning the ills of the world upon anyone not sharing their world view.
In this case Mr. Duggar, as a juvenile of 15 or 16, he sexually abused a series of girls and was never charged. In fact, his egotistically fertile father and mother kept the crime a secret as self-described “good God-fearing parents” because who would ever want to air the family’s dirty laundry. To the best of my knowledge, suborning criminal prosecution is not a biblical commandment — it is a crime, but under the Duggar crime-o-meter, only a crime for those whose morality falls outside the contortion of the fun house mirror of self-delusion.
And then we have Ferguson and Waco – one a community where an unarmed, young black man is gunned down in the street and the other where nine were killed and eighteen wounded in the parking lot of a “breastaurant”. In Waco there were at least 153 OMG (Organized Motorcycle Gang) members taken into custody in what looked to be a relaxed atmosphere of extreme tolerance and good humor on the part of the local police. In Ferguson, demonstrators were met with armored personnel carriers and swat teams in full Fallujah-wear.
What struck me as noteworthy is how easily the word “thug” tripped off the tongue of those describing Ferguson. Inexplicably, thug was never once used to describe the Bandido or the Cossack gang members even though the FBI describes the groups as “criminal enterprises involved in running drugs and guns”. Obviously, a thug is not a thug when any other name is available for white, gun-running, motorcycle-riding drug dealers.
My reason for exhaustively detailing these examples of hypocrisy is that too often we “libruls” accept all the smears being thrown our way. Whether it be from a desensitivity to being blamed for the world’s ills or plain old liberal guilt, for the last thirty-five years we have rarely taken the time to question those who fling such accusations. It is time that changed.
In the long run it’s a fool who persists in trying to adapt the world to his philosophical whim and circumstance. The future belongs to those leaders who reasonably adapt themselves to a world with an ever-changing course – that is an inheritance we need to pay forward.
Here’s hoping your Wednesday is a good one and please take the conversation in any direction you may desire.