Wednesday, September 27, 2017

In re Petition of Jennifer Rubin for Readmission to the Human Race

MR. JUSTICE GONZO, presiding

Comes now petitioner Jennifer Rubin, columnist for The Washington Post and apparently retired Likud Party mouthpiece, seeking readmission to the human race on the grounds that since January 20, 2017, she has pretty much every single morning torn President U Bum a new one.

Just today she thundered: “President Trump wants to talk about the NFL because other than that, there’s virtually no topic he can address without reminding his followers of the most dreadful week of his presidency.”

The previous day she launched this 75mm shell: “Trump delights in talking about divisive culture issues that stir racist sentiments in his base. If only he had spent half the time and energy condemning neo-Nazis, one of whom allegedly killed a woman, as he did blasting a silent exercise of First Amendment rights, his poll ratings might not be in the cellar.”  The emphasis was hers.

The day before she sent this rocket up: “Republicans remain entirely oblivious to the popular rancor they have stirred up. Do they imagine no one will notice that Trump and his ilk will wind up with big tax breaks, which exacerbate income inequality and drive up the debt? The mentality that brought us multiple health-care plans that cut Medicaid spending and cut taxes for the very, very rich persists.”

If the current Mrs. Bibi gets hard time, look for
Petitioner to make her move
As that quote demonstrates, she not only slices the Grifter-in-Chief into orange shreds often several times a day, she lays bare the hypocrisy and mendacity that is today's Republican Party.  And she's the conservative columnist for The Washington Post, or at least the one that still has some higher cognitive functioning left.

With columns like that you could almost forget why she was drummed out of the human race.  Let us set the Waybac for the era when the President of the United States was a brilliant, impassioned moral leader and force for good in the world.  It's almost hard to believe, isn't it?

And what did Petitioner Jennifer Rubin think of President Obama?  As no one will remember, not much.  Here's a representative sample from a hit job entitled “The country has had it with Obama.”

First, it seemed the wheels were coming off the bus internationally. Our people were murdered in Benghazi, Libya. Iraq crumbled. Then Libya crumbled, again. The Islamic State conquered vast stretches of territory. Russia grabbed part of Ukraine. Israel and the United States fought while Iran inched closer to getting the bomb. Our Sunni allies publicly lashed out at the administration. China pressed its advantage.
Now the wheels, which were none too secure here at home, are spinning off in every direction on the domestic side. President Obama got caught flat-footed on Ebola. His 2012 executive move on immigration set off a border crisis. The president then doubled down and created a firestorm with an immigration overreach so vast and unprecedented that it surpassed any act of executive brazenness since Watergate . . . .

The sad irony is that the one thing Republicans hoped that Obama (no red states, no blue states, etc.) could do [Name three – Ed.] — help reduce racial tensions and be an example of racial progress — he is now singularly unable to do. Virtually everything he says or does inflames and aggravates multiple segments of society. It is not that in the specific cases of Eric Garner or Michael Brown he did anything all that provocative. [Mighty white of you, Jennifer – Ed.]  To the contrary, he tried to walk a very thin line. Rather, it is because in the six preceding years he chose to govern as a vicious partisan, jamming through his signature issue on strict party lines with a legislative gimmick and constantly taking delight (most recently in the immigration context) in sticking it to his opponents instead of brokering deals (e.g. the grand bargain he threw away). Forget about governing; he can no longer coexist amicably with Congress or even many members of his own party.

His rhetoric and actions did not cause these recent racial incidents, but they come in a context he certainly created [He created white racism? – Ed.]. (The Washington Post, December 4, 2014)

We don't intend to relitigate each preposterous whopper contained in those paragraphs although relying on the dismay of our “Sunni allies” struck us as particularly hilarious at the time and even more in retrospect, now that our staunch Sunni allies have turned their attention to threatening Qatar for allowing some semblance of the a free press.  Not to mention that in the ninth month of the U Bum Regime, the whining about “executive brazenness” and legislative gimmicks seems almost quaint.

What was really getting Petitioner's tzitzis in a tizzy wasn't immigration or health care or the Battle of Benghazi.  It was that Obama dared to question the eternal wisdom of the man Jennifer Rubin thought should rule the United States:  the thus-far-unindicted Bibi Netanyahu.  You may recall that President Obama successfully turned aside Iran's nuclear ambitions by offering to give Iran back its own money, which sounded like a pretty good deal to us. Not to Jennifer's King and Shield of Abraham.

Rubin's most damning attack on President Obama was therefore that he dared to disagree with Netanyahu:
President Obama’s effort to put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, his personal pique frequently displayed toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his ambush of Netanyahu with the “1967 borders” speech,  . . . 
The Washington Post, June 13, 2016.

Pretty uppity of Obama to dare to disagree with a real President who ordered American forces to attack Iran while he paved the West Bank with settlements, thus joining Palestinian dead-enders in a successful torpedo attack on the peace process!

We could cite examples ad nauseam, but it would make us nauseous.  And we think the point is made.  Petitioner's effort to rejoin the human race on the basis of her rational opinions adopted on or after January 20, 2017 is hereby DENIED.  She remains banished to a swampland of hellish fire and toxic smoke and gas, populated by grotesque half-human-half-turtle monsters who kill and maim with impunity.  You and Petitioner know it as Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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IOHP 102: Politics for Fun and Profit. Prof. Delahunt.  Students will study how to leverage a career as a hack prosecutor and congressman into a lifetime of ease.  Prof. Delahunt will cover topics including avoiding politically dangerous prosecutions, greasing Massachusetts Legislators, and abandoning whatever principles one may have had for personal advancement.

IOHP 152: Resolution of Zoning Disputes. Prof. Lewandowski.  Land use disputes are among the most common and vexing issues that face local government.  Participants will explore a variety of alternative dispute-resolution techniques, including baseball bats, numchuks, poison pen letters and the Professor's favorite, leaving a flaming bag of poop on the front steps of one's adversary, because when they try to stomp out the flames, they get poop on their shoes!  Requires field work in New Hampshire.  Students must supply their own plastic bags and matches.

IOHP 317: Profiles in Courage and Moderation. The President and Fellows of Harvard College.   In the spirit of the namesake of the John F. Kennedy School of Politics, the teaching staff will review balancing political courage with the need to keep the mazooma coming in from rich reactionary alumni.  (Note: Prof. Manning will not participate in this course.)

IOHP 420: Going Green the Massachusetts Way. Profs. Delahunt and Chong.   Massachusetts is a leader in the decriminalization of marijuana.  Learn how to profit by forming front companies and getting preferential treatment from state agencies.  Prerequisite: IOHP 102 or $10,000 cash.

IOHP 118: (Man)Handling the Media. Prof. Lewandowski.  No challenge in modern campaigning is more complex than dealing with the media, and no one knows more about it than this lecturer and his co-conspirators.  Topics will include slapping and punching reporters, intimidating media by encouraging rally goers to threaten them, and demeaning and sexually assaulting reporters, especially the young pretty ones.

IOHP 371: Proper Utilization of the Investigative Powers of Congress.   Prof. Chaffetz.  Congress is vested with the power to oversee the Executive Branch.  Learn how this power may be deployed to create and maintain fake scandals in the face of overwhelming lack of evidence of wrongdoing.  Of equal importance, learn how to bury real scandals involving members of your own political party.  For their final project, students will be required to present a pretext for investigating Hillary Clinton. 

IOHP 725: Will Work for Food. Prof. Spicer.  This is not a course; Sean just wants a job.

All IOHP Courses are open to all members of the Harvard Community interested in sucking up to hack politicians.  Preference is given to especially obnoxious undergraduates.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Slaughter of the Innocents?

By Nellie Bly
Washington Bureau

Who is Anne-Marie Slaughter, you are unlikely to ask?  She's had her ticket punched a number of times: Professor at Harvard Law School, Dean of the Wilson School at Princeton, Assistant Secretary of State for Policy Planning, among others.  All great jobs but none of them are likely to get you that P Street townhouse, are they?

So a few years back, she concocted a well-paying gig as the head of a posh new Washington gasbag hangar called New America Foundation.  It raised, to use the technical nonprofit-development term, s**tloads of money from chic corporate funders like Google and, as a token of its appreciation for its chair's efforts, paid Ms. Slaughter last year a mere $535,000.

What could go wrong with this blissful picture?  Funny you should ask:
The head of an influential think tank funded by Google is grappling with a mounting backlash — including from her own scholars and donors — over the firing of a leading critic of the tech giant.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, the president of the New America Foundation, pledged to re-examine her group’s policies for dealing with donors while defending the organization’s intellectual integrity.
She also told the think tank’s employees that New America was “under attack from many quarters,” and warned that they should expect heightened scrutiny.  But a group of the left-leaning think tank’s current and former fellows was collecting signatures on a letter to be delivered next week to Ms. Slaughter and New America’s directors, asserting that Ms. Slaughter’s handling of the situation has jeopardized the think tank’s reputation.
Other scholars affiliated with the think tank were quietly comparing notes on past instances in which they contend she placed donors’ interests over ideology. (New York Times, September 1, 2017).
Apparently a scholar in her employ produced a research paper describing the adverse effects of monopolies like, wait for it, Google.  And Google is willing to support open and searching academic inquiry as long as it likes the results.  When it doesn't – remember the old saw about money talks and bullsh*t makes increasingly defensive and lame rationalizations? 

Another Washington gasbag has a bad day
The Times story continued:
At issue is New America’s firing on Wednesday of a scholar named Barry Lynn, and its exiling of his entire 10-person initiative, called Open Markets, which had been pushing for more rigorous antitrust enforcement against Google and other tech giants.
Google officials — including its parent company’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt — had complained about Open Markets multiple times. Their grievances could not be easily ignored. The company, Mr. Schmidt and his family’s foundation had donated more than $21 million to New America since the think tank’s founding in 1999, according to voluntary disclosures and tax filings. . . .
Mr. Schmidt reached out to Ms. Slaughter to express displeasure with [Lynn's] statement, though Ms. Slaughter said “Google did not at any point threaten our funding.”
Of course he didn't.  Whatever else Ms. Slaughter is, she's not a total idiot.  But what kind of person acts from expediency when moral courage is called for? 

Indeed, who would disagree with the proposition that “deep and lasting damage [is] done when the gap between words and deeds becomes too great to ignore, when those who wield power are exposed as not saying what they mean or meaning what they say?”

And you can't argue with that, if for no other reason than it was written by a noted former Harvard Law and Wilson School Professor named Anne-Marie Slaughter.  On April 26, 2013, in The Washington Post.  You could look it up.

Anyone have any more advice for Ms. Slaughter?  How about this gem? “We must take responsibility for what we have done if we expect others to believe that we will do better from now on. We do not need to grovel.  But we should make clear that our hubris, as in the old Greek myths, has diminished us . . .”  Or so said Prof. Slaughter in Commonweal on February 15, 2008.

Anyone else we haven't heard from?  You there in the back with the bowl haircut:
Just as you will come to understand that there are arguments made in good faith on opposing sides, you must also learn to reject some arguments, or at least to choose among them. Arguments may be bad because they are illogical, because they do not fit the facts or the law, because they are silly or inconsequential. They may also be bad because they promote bad policies, or because they reflect values that we condemn: racism, degradation of human dignity, greed -- you fill in the blanks.
Thank you, Prof. Slaughter!  We have!

We could go on, but her final insight to the Times pretty much summed up her plight:
“There are unavoidable tensions the minute you take corporation funding or foreign government funding,” she said. “But the fact is that it’s very difficult to run a think tank these days with just foundation funding.”
I mean, my God, without corporate funding you'd be lucky to afford a duplex in the third alphabet.  With the other law professors and assistant secretaries.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

330 Million in Path of Hurricane Coverage

By Al Freedman
TV/Video Editor

From the top to the bottom of the media guide, from Channel 1 (Public Access Old Sludgebury) to 9879 (TV Azerbaijani) [Louise or some other intern: Please check – Ed.], America stands squarely in the path of Hurricane Irma coverage, the most powerful hurricane coverage in history except for Harvey, last week.

No one can escape Hurricane Irma coverage . . .
“There is no doubt that 330,000,000 million Americans are squarely in the path of buff men and women standing on beaches telling you how bad it's going to get,” said Spy media quote machine and Yale University Prof. Shaw Vellingit.  “With no original programming other than  sports in the way, there are no obstacles to Hurricane Irma hurricane coverage obliterating everything in its path.”

Among the most serious hazards, experts warn, are live shots of unspeakable horrors, like Florida Governor Skeletor warning his citizens to run for their lives, without any explanation of when they can go home and what services his state is willing to provide them (except for health care for the uninsured, of which there is none).

Equally frightening is the expected surge of coverage of the Grifter-in-Chief, his comb-over squashed under a cheesy cap that he will sell you for $40, escorted by Miss Bratislava 1992.  “We expect to see more coverage of the President shoving empty containers into the front seats of trucks and boasting about how big his hurricane is,” Prof. Vellingit predicted.  “Some experts fear that he will even tell the victims of the hurricane how famous they are thanks to him,” he added.

Experts warn that different parts of the country may bear the brunt of nonstop category-five hurricane coverage.  “With the Patriots already having sh*t the bed, there is nothing preventing the networks from running hurricane radar under coverage of whatever crappy game they are pumping into New England,” said the eminent scholar, who is the head of the Lieberman Center for Hot Air Studies at New Haven's world-renowned Yale University.

. . . no one
Prof. Vellingit said there would be no respite anywhere in the channel guide:  “While the center of the coverage is expected to pass over The Weather Channel and CNN, its effects can be felt as far away as PBS coverage of debates among scientists or Travel Channel's coverage of Andrew Zimmern eating his way through the contents of refrigerators washed up by the storm.”

Hurricane coverage is expected to peak Monday but its aftereffects will linger for days as every local station in a top 100 market sends some 23-year-old bubblehead to wander around wrecked trailer parks interviewing the wretched survivors, he predicted.

In other news, the President of the United States is under investigation for multiple impeachable offenses while Korea slides towards war, but until the threat of hurricane coverage passes, there won't be film of those tidbits at 11.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Beating the Labor Day traffic the Herald Editorial page way

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Generator

The Labor Day weekend traffic leaving Boston for the Cape or any other bosky dell can be a bitch so if you're the Editorial Page Editor of the Boston Herald with a column to fill, what do you do?

Easy, if you're a C-level Fox News drivel repeater looking to attain the heights reached by, say, Katrina Pierson.  You excuse the Grifter-in-Chief's impeachable obstruction of justice by parroting a Fox News account of a letter sent by two GOP hacks implying that Comey cleared Hillary Clinton without regard to the "evidence" against her:
This week, high-ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee informed us that the former FBI director drafted a statement last spring exonerating Clinton — before more than a dozen key witnesses were even interviewed, including Hillary herself.
It proves two things: The political fix was in from the get-go, and Trump was right to fire Comey, no matter how controversial his ousting was spun.
Yesterday the president tweeted “Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over ... and so much more. A rigged system!”
And rigged it is.
With traffic like this, who has time to research a column?
Not Katrina Pierson wannabe Adriana Cohen
See how easy that was?  Bing, bang, boom, and you're across the Sagamore Bridge by noon.  Or perhaps you tapped it out on your phone while sitting in traffic on the Distressway.  Too bad another five minutes of research would have proven that the whole tale was utter bollocks:
The transcripts released to the Senate judiciary committee come from interviews of FBI aides to Comey, conducted as part of a personnel investigation of him by the Office of Special Counsel (which is unrelated to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.) In one exchange from the redacted transcripts, an unidentified FBI aide says that Comey first wrote a draft of the July statement in May 2016. 
"There were many iterations, at some point, there were many iterations of the draft that circulated," the unidentified aide said. 
The FBI has not responded to CNN's request for information. 
A person familiar with the matter pushed back on the notion that Comey had already reached a conclusion that affected the investigation.  The person said back in spring 2016, agents and Justice Department officials were talking about how the investigation would end and there was a belief that the evidence was going in a direction to not support bringing charges. 
This individual said by April 2016 the FBI had reviewed most of the evidence and didn't find evidence suggesting that Clinton had violated federal law. The person said the FBI wanted to interview her but didn't believe it was going to change the outcome.  The source also said Comey was not involved in the day-to-day steps of the investigation, so even if he reached a conclusion it wouldn't have affected the result of the investigation. 
A second person familiar with the matter told CNN that Comey had not already made up his mind, and that it did not influence the investigation. The second source says the FBI had already reviewed much of the evidence by spring and it was becoming more clear that it was not likely to support bringing charges.

Of course Adriana might have been able to figure this out had she asked herself or the Internet whether anything had ever been unearthed to call into question Comey's conclusion on the merits that Clinton had not violated any criminal law.  In her defense, it's so hard to think these things through when you're trying to decide whether to detour onto Morrissey to avoid a gawker blocker at the old Globe plant.