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Fox “News”

[ 54 ] April 29, 2017 |

Nothing better illustrates how pretty much everything excreted by the contemporary right wing in the US is pure projection than the claim that “the mainstream media” is “biased.”  Fox News isn’t biased in the usual sense of the word, because it’s an undisguised propaganda machine for the Republican party.   “Undisguised” isn’t really accurate though, given that this sort of thing is no doubt mistaken by tens of millions of scared old white people for actual journalism.

. . . Evan Harper flags this even more amazing graphic. (The graph says that “hourly wages” in the U.S. averaged $9.22 during Trump’s first 100 days.  Average hourly wages were $21.90 last month. The numbers quoted for the other presidents are similarly inaccurate).  It’s impossible to guess what “hourly wages” is even supposed to mean in this graph, but let’s not forget that among the people who are getting essentially all their information about the world from this dumpster fire of a news source is none other than Donald Trump.


Finally, I Understand Trump’s America

[ 147 ] April 29, 2017 |


Shorter Bret Stephens: “Sure, climate science suggests that the Earth is warming with terrible consequences, but what if BIG DATA is failing to anticipate that James Comey might imply that the climate is a crook, causing the temperature to drop two or three degrees and making everything OK? Americans are right to be skeptical of NERDS and their SLIDE RULES who don’t consider the intangibles.”

MSNBC In Talks to Be Wingnut Welfare Supplier

[ 114 ] April 28, 2017 |

190120._UY500_SS500_Above: What America needs now is for fictional conspiracy theories about Democratic election rigging to get the widest possible audience

Apparently, Jeffrey Lord wasn’t available:

MSNBC is in talks with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt about creating a show for him on weekend evenings, four well-placed sources at the network tell Daily Intelligencer. Initially MSNBC was keen on having Hewitt host a program on weekend mornings, but that idea is off the table because Hewitt wants to be on in the evening, according to two sources. At one point, network management also floated moving Joy-Ann Reid’s popular weekend program AM Joy to the afternoon to serve as a lead-in for Hewitt and help jumpstart his ratings, but that plan has seemingly been dropped.

I particularly like the detail that MSNBC executives thought that what Morning Joy’s audience was really looking for was to watch a fourth-rate hack conservative talk show host. (Not all heroes wear capes!)

Can you imagine conservative media sources reacting to an election loss by deciding they needed to hire some rotely partisan liberals? Me neither.

Red Army

[ 50 ] April 28, 2017 |

KV-1S in the Great Patriotic War Museum 5-jun-2014 Front.jpg

I been reading Alexander Hill’s new book on the Red Army (review pending), and I posted some intermediate thoughts at the National Interest:

But the cycle of death and rebirth of the Red Army continues to hold lessons for the study of modern military organizations. The Red Army endured and prevailed for several reasons: it preserved (often at great cost and difficulty) the military traditions of its social base; it borrowed liberally (but not too liberally) from the experiences and technologies of others; and it adapted (sometimes clumsily, but at other times with great shrewdness) to the idiosyncratic political conditions of Soviet Russia. These lessons remain useful for the United States, as it continues to rebuild foreign militaries under the mantle of “partnership.”

“De-politicizing Art”

[ 185 ] April 28, 2017 |
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I’m gonna be honest with you: this is s a long, hard slog. I found big chunks of it incomprehensible.

When I was young my dad–mostly–made a living writing and often hammered home the charms of concision. These charms have yet to be discovered by any Federalist writer and this screed is no exception. Even the passages she quotes are nearly unreadable.

So I’m gonna squint my way through this, tilting my head like a confused dog, and try to tell you what I think she’s getting at.

  1. Art should be apolitical. I don’t know why or if it even can be. We imbue nearly everything with politics. Even food is political, for crying out loud. How, exactly, does one extract politics from art, and why would you want to?
  2. Art is currently dominated by women, which is bad for reasons.
  3. People of Arab descent cannot make art criticizing the West because Americans made Photoshop…or something.
  4. Women don’t like logic.
  5. Modern art is silly.

Anyway, that was my takeaway, but I’m gonna leave you with a couple of quotes, because this woman sure does have a way with words…

Also an overwhelmingly female one. At SVA, seven of this year’s eight graduate projects are curated by women. One is a collaborative effort by eight women. The sex imbalance tallies with a 2012 survey by Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies citing a preponderance of young women entering the field. That ratio brings with it a bent toward performance art—feminist panty raids on patriarchal culture and its categories.

I’m gonna be thinking about “feminist panty raids on patriarchal culture” for a long time, not gonna lie.

In sum, ending the endowments will not relieve us of art that prefers social practice and intellectual pretension to the cultivation of excellence. Truth and beauty are outcasts among creatures of the academic brain. They will remain in exile without the NEA. And art will remain an artifact of ideology so long as the academy keeps its grip on artists’ training.

I…um…well…ok. Is this truthful and beautiful enough for you?

Trump Is Succeeding on His Own Terms

[ 105 ] April 28, 2017 |


It’s been a great grift:

Yet since his ascension to the White House, conventional wisdom has developed an odd tendency to describe his inability to make major legislative changes as an indication that his presidency is failing. It’s certainly true that Paul Ryan’s speakership of the House is failing, arguable that Mitch McConnell’s tenure as majority leader of the Senate is failing, and indisputably true that the Koch brothers’ drive to infuse hardcore libertarian ideological zeal into the GOP is failing.

But Trump isn’t failing. He and his family appear to be making money hand over fist. It’s a spectacle the likes of which we’ve never seen in the United States, and while it may end in disaster for the Trumps someday, for now it shows no real sign of failure.

I actually think McConnell isn’t failing; he got the Supreme Court justice he wanted, and I think he’d rather stay in power than repeal the ACA. Ryan is certainly a joke in many respects, although my guess is that he will still get the one thing he wants most (upper-class tax cuts.)

Will the grift last for 8 years?

Donald Trump is currently a moderately unpopular president, and it’s entirely typical for the president’s party to lose ground in the midterms. Under the circumstances, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if Democrats swept to a narrow majority in the US House of Representatives in 2018, which would put them in a position to launch the kind of oversight and investigations that could bring the Trump clan to heel.

Then again, the basic outline of the 2018 Senate map is so favorable to Republicans that for Democrats to net as much as one seat would be a remarkable achievement. And district boundaries in the House are so favorable to the GOP that Democrats could win the national House popular vote by a bit over 5 percent and the GOP would retain their majority.

After that, who knows. Most presidents are reelected. Congressional Republicans have made it clear that there will be no investigations into any potential scandals as long as they run the show. Perhaps there will be a recession in 2020 or Trump will get us embroiled in a war that causes a large number of American casualties. But one hopes he won’t.

It is certainly possible for Trump to get re-elected, but I’m not sure I’d put much weight on the “most presidents are reelected” metric. Most presidents were actually more popular than their opponents on Election Day and aren’t unpopular from Day 1 — historical patterns are going to be of limited value when dealing with something that is in many ways unprecedented. But I do agree that he’s more likely to lose if Dems take over the House in 2018 — it’s hard to overstate the importance of the midterms both substantively and politically.

DumpsterFyre Festival

[ 203 ] April 28, 2017 |

This is the future liberals want.

It was billed as an Instagram-worthy luxury festival in the Bahamas – but the supposedly glamorous Fyre festival seems to be anything but.

Tickets for the festival, which was co-organised by the rapper Ja Rule, cost up to $12,780 for a luxury four-person package. Festivalgoers were promised “a cultural moment created from a blend of music, art and food”.

Ticketholders have called Fyre festival a “complete disaster”, saying the tents were half-built and the luxury food also failed to meet with their expectations. Now, some are stranded in the Bahamas.

Elle has more about the involuntary Lord of the Flies cosplay.

Laughing? I’m not laughing. Why would I – Bwahahahahahaaaaa!

Strategy of making a rotten bill worse fails for some mysterious reason

[ 58 ] April 28, 2017 |

I won’t say the GOP’s second failure to get a vote on the AHCA was inevitable because that’s not true. Neither do I expect Paul the Life-support Plug Puller to give up. However, the GOP’s continued attempts to overturn Obamacare show a knack for drafting bills that will cause people to stop what they’re doing and call their Reps. For this, I am almost grateful.

When Republicans had to call off the vote on the American Health Care Act in March, President Trump dismissed the failure, saying, “I never said I was going to repeal and replace in the first 61 days.”

As the Washington Post reported, he was wrong on two counts: He’d been in office for 64 days, and he repeatedly promised to repeal and replace Obamacare “immediately” or “on day one,” even if he had to call a special session of Congress.

What I’d like is a majority of elected officials who aren’t so sadistic, venal and cowardly that their constituents have to watch them all of the time to keep them from destroying everything for fun and profit. The fact that they’re incompetent slows them down, and is good for some laughs. But it doesn’t render them harmless.

Nevertheless, Republicans said they may vote to gut Obamacare this week, giving the president a huge legislative win by the end of his first 100 days in office. According to the New York Times, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had “pushed aggressively” for the House to schedule the vote.

But following a 90-minute meeting in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office on Thursday night, Republicans announced that they still can’t find a way to pass the health-care overhaul they’ve been promising for seven years. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said there would be no vote on Friday, and denied that GOP leaders had ever wanted to vote this week.

Nah, he said they were going to BOAT on it. They were planning to go on a fishing trip and talk about it. Silly #FakeNews.

Ready on Day None

[ 85 ] April 28, 2017 |

President Dick a l’Orange is the perfect embodiment of white supremacy.

He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.

President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

Privilege, vanity and laziness combined with a lack of empathy and curiosity create a 70-year-old human who isn’t ashamed of the fact he thought being President of the United States would be easier than being a pretend business genius.

This attitude does however help answer the Did He or Didn’t He (want to be POTUS)? question.

Certainly he wanted to win the election. tRUmp hates losing. Losing is for losers, which is #SAD. It follows then that he wanted to be POTUS. However, it’s becoming very clear that he had – and still has – his own ideas about what the job entails, and he can’t believe that reality is failing to confirm to his desires. #Unfair!

Considered as political satire, reality is getting a bit over the top

[ 187 ] April 28, 2017 |

He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is. President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

A wealthy businessman from New York, Trump assumed public office for the first time when he entered the White House on Jan. 20 after he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an upset.

More than five months after his victory and two days shy of the 100-day mark of his presidency, the election is still on Trump’s mind. Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.

“Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers,” the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red. “It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”

I’m genuinely surprised by what an idiot this guy is.  That’s not snark: I realize one doesn’t need to be anything like an intellectual to be a good president, and many haven’t been, but it’s still surprising that someone this lazy, incurious, ignorant, and basically stupid could end up getting the job.  That’s democracy for you, as G. Montgomery Burns might say.



Flashback Friday: The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”

[ 28 ] April 28, 2017 |
You're a slave to money then you die

You’re a slave to money then you die

In what I hope to make a regular trend for myself on LGM I present to you a special new feature: Flashback Friday where I bring you songs and music videos from the past that linger in the present.

Today, it’s London Grammar covering The Verve’s 1997 hit “Bittersweet Symphony”.

Let’s travel back to the late 90’s when the Brits were ruling the alternative music scene. Frontman from The Verve, Richard Ashcroft, with his shaggy hair and pouty English lips stomps through a London street ignoring everything in his path and BOOM. So. Damn. Cool.

“Bittersweet Symphony” was nominated for Best Music Video of the Year, Best Group Video, and Best Alternative Video at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. NME magazine has listed it as one of the 50 best Indie Anthems. Every time the song comes up on my Spotify while I’m walking through London, I feel a sudden urge to bump into someone and then fail to apologize. Blogger Sam Keeper dissects the “irony” of the video when examined in the context of its lyrics here.

The video itself is a long one-shot take directed by Walter Stern, who also directed a number of videos for other English musicians like Massive Attack, the Prodigy, and David Bowie. More recently he’s directed commercials for the NHS and Vodafone and yes, they’re all kinda creepy.

London Grammar is a modern indie rock band that released their first album in 2013. Maybe they haven’t had a massive chart topper yet or won any awards, but I am in love with the deep vocalizations of Hannah Reid and their melancholy style.

From Australia, the band E^ST covers the song for Triple J‘s live cover series Like A Version and then shift into Massive Attack’s Teardrop. The band reveals they were born the year the song came out. Well, good for them for learning from their elders.

Unbeknownst to me before researching this song, this flashback was based on another flashback from The Rolling Stones. There were some legal disagreements, but they all seem to have worked out and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were added to the credits. Read more about the debate over corporate control and copyright over the song here.

Draft Etc. Open Thread

[ 150 ] April 27, 2017 |


It’s NFL Draft day. NHL playoffs. I guess there might be games to help decided who loses to Cleveland or Golden State. Discuss here if you wish! Tanier’s mock draft is useful; if you trust his analysis the 49ers definitely got the better of the trade down with the Bears.

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