Sunday, May 26, 2019

Journalism for beginners, Middle East crisis edition

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Generator

It's Memorial Day weekend and any real pundit has scored a weekend in the Hamptons or the Eastern Shore, leaving behind the young tyros to generate enough conventional wisdom to tide us over until the next international disgrace created by President U Bum.  And the results aren't too good.  Poor Margaret Brennan on Face the Nation had to grapple with the Iran disinformation being peddled by those seasoned liars and warmongers, John “Bomb Iran” Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

As you might have expected, Iran disinformation won.  Her nominal task was to interview Beto O'Rourke.  To her credit she began not with horse race crap about why he hasn't “broken through” only what 14 months before the Democratic nominee is chosen.  Instead, she smoothly channeled U Bum Administration talking points about the imminent threat posed by Iran.  She asked Beto how the US should respond to the “Iran threat.”

What Iran threat?  When did Iran become a threat to the United States?  Do you believe that Iran is a threat to the United States?  Why?  Has Iran sent an aircraft carrier task force to patrol 15 miles off Long Island within sight of your cocktail party?  Of course Beto said, as any sentient being would, that he didn't believe that Iran did pose a threat to the US.

But Ms. Brennan, stuck in sweltering Washington D.C., persisted.   She referred to scary “US intelligence” suggesting that Iran was a threat to US forces in Iraq.  By the way, wtf are US forces doing in Iraq?  Can anybody tell us?

Margaret Brennan smoothly channeled U Bum talking
points about the Iran crisis. [Photo interns, does this
look right? – Ed.]
Are they in danger?  You bet your brand new beach Tevas they are.  Iraq is in fact a dangerous stew of Shi'ite militias and disgruntled Sunnis who continue to struggle against Shi'ite oppression, as indeed has been the case since the US created this toxic mess in 2003.  Are some of these militias ready, willing, or able to take shots at US forces to advance their own narrow agendas?  Uh, yes.  Are some of these militias influenced by one or more factions based in Iran?  Again, given the close ties between the two Shi'ite regimes, yes again.

Is this news?  No it isn't.  But you don't have take our word for it.  Just ask this well-known terrorist sympathizer and sad, weak, pathetic Nancy Pelosi stooge: 
Earlier Tuesday, British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, a senior commander of allied troops in Iraq, told reporters there has been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.
You mean you'd believe a dispassionate observer with access to relevant intelligence over U Bum kissers and long-time prevaricators Bolton and Pompeo?   Well, lady, you can kiss that anchor slot at Face the Nation good bye!

At any rate, we took pity on Margaret Brennan and her fellow hacks toiling away in lonely newsrooms whilst their bosses were limbering up on the tennis courts of Martha's Vineyard.  To make their job even easier, the Spy created an all-purpose Iran threat story that you can make for yourself from things you have lying around the house, like the same f***ing story from the lead up to the Iraq War in 2002.   Just choose the words that work best for you.  You'll have your piece filed before you can say Judith Miller!


Washington, D.C. – Administration officials vowed to respond forcefully to increasing threats posed by [Iraq/Iran/Nancy Pelosi].  Appearing on the Sunday talk shows [State Department official/National Security Adviser/pathological liar] John Bolton said that reliable intelligence proved that [Iran was putting rockets on boats/Iraq was building mobile biological warfare vans/Pete Buttigieg was a deserter].

Bolton promised that the United States response would be strong and warlike.  He said the President had authorized sending [B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf/an additional 20,000 troops to Kuwait/boatloads of bone saws to Saudi Arabia].

Speaking on conditions of anonymity, senior US officials [accompanying the National Security Adviser/living inside John Bolton's suit/living inside John Bolton's head] said that unless [Iraq/Iran/Jerry Nadler] changed its aggressive stance, war was inevitable.

Republicans on Capitol Hill echoed the Administration's concerns.  Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the United States faced no greater threat than [Saddam Hussein/the Iranian mullahs/videotapes of him advocating impeaching President Clinton].  

But it appears that the Administration may not be able to count on support of its European allies in any use of force in the Persian Gulf.  Reaction in European capitals was skeptical with foreign government sources telling [your current employer] [What is this shit?/Was ist dieses Scheiss?/Quelle merde].

However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed firm support for the Administration's position saying, “We have always been at war with [Iraq/Iran/the Criminal Code of Israel].”

Pentagon sources have cautioned that military action may be long and protracted.  Sources close to the Joint Chiefs of Staff have said privately that Bolton doesn't have a grip on what it would mean to send US forces into harm's way in the Persian Gulf.  As one highly-placed senior officer said, “[Sure, we can get to Baghdad, but then what?/Look at f**in' Iran on a map and tell me how this would work/Take the guns, drop the war].”

But Bolton and Pompeo maintain that war in the Persian Gulf would be brief and decisive.  Said Bolton: “[Iraq wars are good and easy to win/All we need to do is bomb 83 million Iranians to death/Once the guns go off, it's not my problem anymore].”

As most of Washington enjoys the summer weather, one thing is clear: [The drums of war are beating ever louder/These schmucks don't have any idea of what they're doing/I told my agent if I don't get the Evening News I'm outta here.]

Friday, May 17, 2019

NY Times reporters struggle to combat new claims about their grisly behavior

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-content Generator

New York Times readers opened their newspapers this week to discover that they and everyone they knew were baby murderers:
With grisly claims that Democrats promote “birth day abortions” and are “the party of death,” the Republican Party and its conservative allies have aggressively reset the terms of one of the country’s most divisive and emotionally fraught debates, forcing Democrats to reassess how they should respond to attacks and distortions that portray the entire party as extremist on abortion.

Times reporters like Julie Davis (shown 
above) need to confront claims that
they enjoy beating and killing animals
It must have come as quite a shock to the credulous fools who pay over $1,300 a year for this type of “reporting.”  But even more shocking are the grisly claims about Times reporters who specialize in this type of breathless smear-repeating stenography, like the author of this piece, one Jeremy Peters.

Is Peters an honest and honorable reporter?  Let's aggressively reset the terms of the debate, shall we?  He's a perverted sicko who during his student days at the University of Michigan regularly cruised the farms of neighboring Saline, Michigan so that he could enjoy sexual relations with sheep, donkeys, and goats, often several at a time.

How is Jeremy Peters going to respond to grisly claims of bestiality?  Thus far, he's been unable to effectively rebut these attacks.

Nor is the only reporter in the Washington bureau whose credentials have been called into question by aggressive resets of the terms of the debate, wtf that means.  For example, Maggie “Thanks Dad” Haberman is now being forced to reassess claims that she skins puppies alive and requires interns to sew the skins together so she can wear them as a fur coat.

Julie Hirshfield Davis has thus far failed to refute claims that she pulls the wings off of butterflies for fun and ties tin cans to dog's tails.  Why not, Washington insiders ask.

But back to the abortion story filed by that old goat-fucker, Jeremy Peters.  When you read down to about paragraph 17 or so you find that the grisly Republican claims highlighted and repeated throughout the story are nothing more than a bad-faith load of bollocks:
As abortion rights supporters assess their current situation, many say they made an initial mistake by trying to answer questions based on implausible and often outright false premises.
Who would do that?  Why won't Peters tell us what he was doing in Saline, and why Fluffy the Goat has been so traumatized by his visit that she won't leave her pen?  Why won't Haberman let the Spy review the contents of her closet to determine if there is or is not a puppy-fur coat hanging in it?  And what's the deal with Maureen Dowd's leopard skin shoes – did she get the pelt from Donald Trump Jr.?  Or her “brother” Kevin?  Inquiring minds want to know!

According to bestiality practitioner Peters, these claims peddled by anti-abortion rights flacks are new and different.  But are they, or are they all, like goats, pretty much the same?

Here's how the discussion was framed a mere 40 years ago, before Peters set out on his career of rogering the animal kingdom:
Earlier in the day, at a news conference held by groups favoring legal abortion, Eleanor Smeal, president of the National Organization for Women, called for the two sides to meet and seek areas of common interest, such as birth control and family planning. But that offer was rejected by Nellie J. Gray, president of the March for Life organization, who said, “Pro‐life people will not negotiate with baby killers. They must stop killing babies forthwith.” The crowd exploded in a chant of “No compromise, no compromise” as a man in the front lines hefted black cross on which a plastic baby doll had been nailed.  (emphasis added)

So in fact there's no news here at all.  For decades, anti-abortion forces have felt free to call anyone who chose an abortion a murderer and those who supported them participants in genocide.  This slime preceded the current whining about the decline in civilized debate, perhaps because we have been so inured to this vile garbage that we take it as just another day at the clinic.

But it isn't.

Claims by these donkeys that they were sexually assaulted
by Jeremy Peters have reset the debate over journalism
The story is that the so-called “pro-life” movement, aided and abetted by the Republican Party, continues to lie their asses off in an effort to foment even more hate and resentment among white anti-abortion Evangelicals, as they have done without surcease since 1973.  The story might be whether these lies have in fact changing the polling on abortion, which apparently they haven't.

Indeed the sheep-ravisher's narrative is really no different from the Times's endless coverage of Her Emails.  Republican lies and smears were ventilated fully, and then Democrats condemned for not refuting them to the satisfaction of the puppy and butterfly murderers in the Washington Bureau.  Maybe just maybe if the Times and others hadn't reported bullshit as news, fewer people would have confused the two.

You could knit together 50 years of stories about the unspeakable smears pushed by the anti-abortion movement and their deeply moral allies, like the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief (who asked his second wife to abort what became his daughter Tiffany), and it would make a pretty substantial coat, although to be fair it might not be as stylish as the cockapoo-fur job that Maggie Haberman loves so much.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Spring Review of Unreadable Books: Deep Thinking Ahead. Wear your Boots.

Editors' Note:  It's been a long time since we picked up a book, what with one world championship after another.  But apparently the Hub of the Universe can't keep accreting banners without surcease, so it's time to think about something to read.  And if you're thinking about pitching your hammock and relaxing with a good book, we've got a couple of ideas about what to avoid.  Keep in mind that these books are not just bad – they are unreadable.  To be truly unreadable, a bad book must be capable of being understood fully and dismissed utterly without the need to turn even one page.  Like these.

The Right Side of History
by Ben Shapiro
$27.99 already marked down to $18.29

Remember that obnoxious freshman who used to annoy you in the dining hall by droning on about the genius of philosophers he was reading for the first time (like you)?  But unlike you he had to impress everyone with how much he had gotten out of them and how he in his genius (and it was always a he, amirite?) had pulled out of his blowhole a majestic intellectual history of all things that he just couldn't shut up about?  And remember how the cute girl in your Ec 10 section overheard the little putz rambling on and immediately headed off to the other side of the dining hall?

Whatever happened to that guy?

One of two things: either he went into venture capital and made a fortune and married that cute girl, or he sucked up to enough rich reactionaries to bankroll a life of ease as a conservative gasbag.

Open Door No. 2 and you'll find Ben Shapiro.

He's going to jabber on about Plato and Aristotle and the “Judaeo-Christian” tradition (leaving out a third religion that belongs to that tradition and thanks to which the works of the ancient Greeks didn't perish in the Dark Ages of Christian Europe). He might even tell you that the Greek and the religious views of the world are basically the same thing, which is completely correct if you add one word (not).

Reb Shtickdreck did not have space to cover the
occasions when the Judeo and the Christian
traditions diverged, like the Christian
massacres of Jews during the Crusades
Then he's going to tell you that the rich tradition of slavery, pogroms, and burning women at the stake as witches is under assault by – you guessed it, liberals.

Why that is will be restated endlessly as if it were self-evidently true. Which it isn't.

And if you think that the installation in power and subsequent grotesque misconduct of the current President reflects or embodies those wonderful Greek and Judaeo-Christian traditions then either you don't understand those traditions or you agree that racism, misogyny, and corruption are essential parts of them.

We don't know which is a worse take, and we certainly don't intend to waste time or money to find out which one Reb Shtickdreck, self-proclaimed King of the Jews, chooses.

We do however have one suggestion for further research.  If he really doesn't understand why no Jew could possibly support the Tangerine-Faced Bigot and his relentless assault on immigrants and those fleeing persecution, maybe he should ask Maxwell House to send him a Haggadah.

▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬

The Second Wife [Surely, Mountain? – Ed.]: The Quest for a Moral Life
by David Brooks
Random House
$28, already marked down to $16.80

Speaking of self-proclaimed great minds, you'll be pleased to know that the World's Greatest Authority, David Brooks himself, is out with yet another waste of trees, this time telling us about the importance of faith and values.

According to Brooks, faith and values must be lived, not just professed.  That means each of us should dedicate their lives, or a good portion thereof, toward making the world a better place by combating racism, sexism, all other forms of bigotry, exploitation of labor, and the destruction of our fragile environment.

Nah, we're just bullsh-ting you.  For David Brooks, faith and values don't mean anything like that or indeed anything related to any coherent moral philosophy we've ever heard of.  They mean it's OK to dump your first wife for a dishier younger model and then lecture the wronged woman about how  to bear graciously the burden of being kicked to the curb.

Faith and values also mean to this dolt not wrestling with the imperfections of the world in which we live and helping other to do so. No, it means a life of soul-crushing narcissism and empty pontificating about “community” without doing one f***in' thing to build a community based on shared values like I don't know justice or fairness or whatever real ethical philosophers think about.

Of course, you can't expect a guy who tried to pass off Jordan Peterson as a serious thinker to be in possession of a well-magnetized moral compass, but you have to expect him to do something to pay off the alimony that his ungrateful ex-wife wormed out of him.  And writing unreadable sententious tomes is that some thing.

And by the way, don't tell Reb Shtickdreck, but Brooks's faith is no longer the religion into which he was born into and to which he made his first wife convert.  Now he, like fellow moral exemplar George W. Bush, has later in life acknowledged Jesus H. Christ as his Lord and Savior.

We truly live in an age of miracles.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

From the Archives: The Folly of Impeachment

Editors' Note: We're hearing a lot of these days that impeaching Pres U Bum is a terrible idea because 67 Senators won't vote to convict or it's too distracting or the public doesn't support it.  We sent the interns down into Subbasement Level C to see if these concerns had any precedent in the history of the Republic.  And guess what they found?

August 6, 1972

(courtesy New York Times News Service)

Apparently a lot of folks in 1972 thought that impeaching the young, vibrant President Richard M. Nixon was a bad idea because he was protected by his “silent majority.”  (And indeed he won a smashing re-election victory four months after this was published.)

May 16, 1973

Even as late as the following spring, Senators, including representatives of that legendary extinct species, moderatus Republicanus, were telling the House not to push impeachment:

Senator Jacob K. Javits, Republican of New York, and Senator Abraham Ribicoff, Democrat of Connecticut, both deplored here Monday any talk of impeachment of President Nixon in the wake of the Watergate disclosures, while endorsing measures “to get to the bottom of the matter.”

“This isn't a lynching party —as Senators, we all have an obligation to keep our heads even if others are losing theirs,” Senator Ribicoff said  . . .

“I see no evidence that warrants even talk of impeachment,” Senator Ribicoff said. “By tossing the word around before there is any hard evidence that the President is involved, we do a disservice to the American system of justice.”

He said impeachment would be “a shattering experience for the country.” Senator Javits, who was co‐chairman of the hearing, agreed and added:

“Watergate, is hurting us everywhere in the world, and if we ourselves pour gasoline on the fire it won't help. The President can govern effectively only if we realize that we are dismantling our Government by reckless talk of impeachment.”

Spoiler alerts: There was evidence, impeachment didn't shatter the country, and the President couldn't govern effectively because he was a crook.

 June 3, 1973

She's utterly forgotten now but half a century or more ago Clare Boothe Luce was widely venerated in conservative circles as a clever writer and polemicist for the cause – like a female Bill Buckley or a snitty Nicole Wallace. Her pitch on the Times op-ed page was that the Democrats were playing games by not moving immediately to impeach Tricky Dick (perhaps because she knew or at least suspected that the more evidence that was developed, the worse it would be for her boy) :

Everyone who has a shred of pride in his country, who cares more than just a snap of his fingers for its prestige in the world; everyone who doesn't want to see the economy go to pot and our foreign relations endangered; everyone, in short, who is not covered with the malodorous Watergate mud or the feculent smell of partisanship politics wants Watergate to end. But it will not end—it cannot end—until the truth about the President is known.

There are many just and patriotic men in the Democratic party. Now is the time for them to tell their fellow Democrats that the degradation of a President is not a thing to be enjoyed or leisurely licked like an all‐day sucker. The Democratic strategy (as revealed by The Washington Post) of letting the investigation drag on and on and on for partisan gain is an abomination only a little less lawful than the Watergate horror.
A careful step-by-step inquiry was an abomination?  In her defense, Lindsay Graham would agree with her.  To be fair, though, he would probably argue based on his own example that a corrupt Republican President is indeed something to be leisurely licked like an all-day sucker.

June 13, 1973

The following week, a Times dispatch treated readers to that evergreen, Dems in Disarray (emphasis added):

Even among the six liberal Democrats speaking tonight, there was wide disagreement over what steps should be taken.
Representative Patricia Schroeder of Colorado proposed that the House leadership push through a resolution urging the President to testify before the Senate's special Watergate investigation committee, which is now conducting hearings.
. . . .
While cautioning against immediate impeachment proceedings, Mrs. Schroeder said that the President's only chance for restoring confidence in his Administration was to submit to questioning by the Senate panel.
Representative Fortney H. Stark of California also cautioned against immediate impeachment proceedings, but suggested that Government investigators be required to give the House “all information necessary to make a responsible decision” on whether there were grounds for impeachment.
Others participating in the discussion  . . .were critical of the President and his White House aides but made no proposals for House action.
Mrs. Abzug conceded that some members of the House regarded the possible impeachment of a President as “unthinkable.” But she added that, while it might be tempting to delay, the need for a House inquiry into whether there were grounds for impeachment was essential if the House was to discharge its duties.
. . . .
While talk about impeachment appears to have become more widespread in the House in the last few weeks, there are corresponding efforts to keep such moves in check.
. . .Representative Fred B. Rooney, Democrat of Pennsylvania, told the House that any suggestions for possible impeachment “are premature.” He urged his colleagues to “wait until all the evidence is in.”
Representative Hugh L. Carey, Democrat of Brooklyn, said earlier today that the House should devote its time to coping with such problems as the economy, foreign policy, domestic social programs and American involvement in Southeast Asia.
House Speaker Carl Albert of Oklahoma has also said in recent weeks that talk about possible impeachment was “premature.”
Why Democrats could not cope with an impeachment inquiry and the economy, foreign policy, domestic social programs and the three Nixonian Wars in Asia was not explained, but in Hugh Carey's defense, no gasbag of the current day has been asked to defend this ridiculous position either.

May 13, 1973

This doesn't strictly have to do with impeachment, but our interns as a bonus found late lamented Elliott Richardson firmly endorsing blatantly unconstitutional Presidential action:
Elliot Richardson, who is now crossing the Potomac from the Pentagon to the Justice Department, says as Secretary of Defense that the Administration will go on bombing in Cambodia if it chooses to do so, regardless of whether Congress votes it the money to do so. It will get the money some other way, he suggests.
Now we know who inspired Establishment Republican and committed institutionalist Billy Barr.

July 24, 1973

By summer, as evidence of Nixon's continuing obstruction of justice mounted, the Congress still did – not much:

George Bush [The name is familiar – Ed.], chairman of the Republican National Committee, also expressed confidence that the President would “fully expose” the entire story.  Mr. Bush defended the President's decision in refusing to disclose tapes of his “private and highly confidential talks with some of his closest aides” and said he felt the people would agree with that decision.
“The President knows the main thing the people want is to get this matter fully disclosed and put to bed,” Mr. Bush continued. “But he is acutely aware of his long‐term constitutional responsibility, Thank Heavens.”
Senator Robert Dole of Kansas . . . was less confident than Mr. Bush that the American people would understand the President's refusal. “I think he was legally right, but I don't think the American people will understand that,” the Senator said. “They want to believe the President, but I just don't know how much longer the people will wait.”
Senator Dole appeared to reflect the view of many in Congress that the key factor in determining where the Water gate affair may lead is public reaction.
Until public opinion shifts dramatically to loud cries for impeachment, it's not likely there will be a serious move here in the House,” [Representative John C. Culver of Iowa] said.(emphasis added)

As we all know, or at least those of us who lived through it or read about it, public opinion (at that time only 24% approved of impeachment) shifted, and there was a serious move in the House.

But that couldn't happen again, could it?