A Note from History on “Alternative Facts”

Mr. Pierce, at Esquire:

It was quite a weekend for official mendacity. Kellyanne Conway went sailing off into a truthless land into which not even Richard Nixon ever set down his polished cordovans. And she did so in defense of Sean Spicer’s very public episode on madness on Sunday evening. I think “alternative facts” is going to be sticking around as a meme, as the kidz call them, for quite a while now. But the real story of this weekend actually was something that happened in 1974.

In August of that year, the White House tape finally emerged that drove Nixon from power and placed in his stead Gerald Ford, an earnest congressional lifer whose record indicated that he would not be a crook, which pretty much was all the country was looking for in a president back then. Ford staffed his administration with people around whom he felt comfortable and, after six years of having an antisocial paranoid in the Oval Office, the country was OK with that, too.

Ford picked as his press secretary one Jerald terHorst, a longtime Detroit newspaperman who was at that moment writing a biography of Ford which, I would imagine, needed extensive rewrites. terHorst had the job for only a month…

On September 8, Ford pardoned Nixon for “for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.” This, as many people including me have argued, was a capital mistake and kickstarted the process of infantilizing the American public into people who would not be able to cope with impeaching Ronald Reagan over Iran-Contra, or probing too deeply into the events leading up to the attacks of 9/11, or bringing true justice down on the torturers and Wall Street brigands of the first decade of the 21st century…

It took terHorst less than a day to resign in protest against what Ford had done. His grounds were that he had stood in front of the White House press corps for a month and denied that a pardon would be forthcoming. Now, Ford had taken his legs out from under him and terHorst felt that he could not in good conscience continue to be a spokesman for an administration that had done so, even though he was a longtime personal friend of the president, and even though his departure would make Ford’s decision look even more dubious….

And that’s what the big story of this weekend was—that once, in Washington, there were people unwilling to sell their consciences so cheaply, and that there were people who knew that there were things bigger than The Job or The Boss…


Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Toad Kisses Toady

Palate cleansers:

Early Morning Open Thread: Well Somebody Has A Size Complex…

It was a really, very very small, inadequate, totally SAD! crowd…

Never to be overlooked: YOU OWN THIS, REPUBS!

Two great philosophers for the next four years

Okay, now it’s real so let us rely on two great philospophers for the next four years:

And it looks like America agrees with Ron Burgundy

CBS News:

It has been 10 weeks since Donald Trump was elected president, and more Americans disapprove (48 percent) than approve (37 percent) of the way he has handled his presidential transition. They are split on his cabinet picks. Views divide heavily along party lines.

Just days before his inauguration, Donald Trump’s favorable rating (32 percent) is the lowest of any president-elect in CBS News polling going back to Ronald Reagan in 1981, when CBS News began taking this measure.

Well we’ll have to survive being “governed” by the Brietbart comment section so we can either laugh or cry while we bang our heads into our desks today.

Open Thread: The Peasants Are Revolting!


“Well, we don’t actually test it… See that little camera up there? The boss just likes to watch.”


Apart from the obvious jokes (and the President-Asterisk is an endless source for those!), what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Open Thread: Putin’s Poodle No Longer Even Trying to Disguise His Primary Allegiance

Per the Guardian:

Donald Trump’s first foreign trip is to be to Iceland for a summit with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, according to reports.

In a move that echoes Ronald Reagan’s cold war meeting in Reykjavik with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986, Trump and his team have reportedly told British officials that the summit will take place within weeks of him becoming US president…

On Saturday the president-elect said he would consider dropping sanctions against Russia if Moscow helped tackle terrorism and worked with the US on other goals, although they would remain in place “at least for a period of time”…

Trump’s claims that he has “nothing to do with Russia” appear to have been contradicted by his son Donald Jr, who reportedly said in a speech in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section” of a lot of the Trump Organisation’s assets…

Open Thread: Rep. Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King Lunges to Defend His Title

… as the Dumbest Mean Legislator / Meanest Dumb Legislator in DC. Sure, Donald Trump has the advantage of being born with a gilt-plated spoon in his mouth (and he never risks being confused with Rep. Pete ‘IRA Mucker’ King). But when it comes to world-class vicious stupidity, STEVE KING WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!!

I guess if you assume the real American voter is a cruel, ignorant bigot wholly in thrall to megacorporate filth producers, Iowa really deserves its premier spot in the quadrennial presidential race.