“We Survived Breitbartpocalypse!”

It is/was a tagline, even. Ironically, Breitbart.com may not be long for this world. From The Post:

In January 2017, Breitbart.com was flying high. Donald Trump, the candidate it had backed during the 2016 campaign, was sworn in as president. Its former executive chairman, Stephen K. Bannon, was named chief White House strategist, seemingly auguring an era of unparalleled access and influence for the far-right, anti-establishment news and commentary site.

In hindsight, it looks like it was Breitbart’s high-water mark.

The site Bannon once described as “the platform for the alt-right” has steadily tumbled from the commanding heights it occupied just 30 months ago.

Since Trump became president, monthly traffic has virtually collapsed, plummeting nearly 75 percent. Aggressive conservative competitors have zoomed past it. At the same time, it faces a double financial whammy: the loss of its biggest donor and an ad boycott launched by a liberal group that continues to erode its revenue…

[Former Breitbart spokesman Kurt] Bardella thinks the site will make it through another election cycle. But he’s not sure after that. “I think the future for them is very bleak,” he said.

Some complaints about the WaPo piece, which was authored by Paul Farhi: As you can see from the above excerpt, the article does note that the site’s own former chairman turned Trump White House chief strategist turned unwelcome hunk of unFebreezed flab encased in multiple buttoned-down shirts Steve Bannon called it “the platform for the alt-right.”

Farhi also notes that Chardonnay-soaked tampon fart Ann Coulter is a columnist for the site. From that fact, astute readers will instantly intuit that Breitbart.com must be a kind of online flophouse for wingnut charity cases who’ve been bounced out of more ongoing concerns for saying the quiet parts a little too loudly. And they’d be correct.

But Jesus, Mr. Farhi, isn’t it past time to start connecting the fucking dots for people? Describing Breitbart’s ethos as “anti-immigration, pro-economic nationalism, skepticism of multiculturalism” is like calling that thing on Trump’s head a “follicular innovation.” It’s an abomination, FFS, and Breitbart was/is a full-on racist hate site that until the election had a “black crime” tag to helpfully point its white supremacist readers to rage boner-inducing content. That’s worth mentioning, in my opinion.

Also, Farhi left out any mention of journalists from more respectable outfits who joined Breitbart.com after the election, putting all their chips on ethno-nationalism. Let’s take a short jaunt down memory lane, shall we? From the 1/10/2017 CJR:

Q&A: A scrappy Wall Street Journal reporter on his jump to Breitbart

THE NEWS THAT RESPECTED Wall Street reporter John Carney is leaving his role at The Wall Street Journal to head up a new vertical at the right-wing news site Breitbart raised eyebrows among media types late Monday. As Bloomberg’s Joshua Green first reported, Carney will lead a team of contributors in establishing a business, markets, and economics news site that is informed by what Carney describes as “an optimism about the potential for the American economy.”

I can’t be the only one who wonders how Carney’s decision to head up the “Jews Control the Economy” desk at the Daily Blood & Soil worked out. I assume he’s making the most of Trump coasting on the economy he inherited from President Obama, but does Carney surreptitiously send résumés to online financial advice and economics outfits, hoping to make the jump from mottled fool (Bannon) to Motley Fool?

The article mentions the site’s loss of patronage from wingnut oligarch Rebekah Mercer, and it references Sleeping Giants’ successful campaign to discourage brands from placing ads on the site. Shamefully, WaPo remains an advertiser with Breitbart. Maybe that’s all the explanation we need for the gaping holes in the story.

Still, I find it disturbing that our dailies — even mostly good ones like The Post — won’t at least call the racist, sexist, xenophobic president’s most racist, sexist, xenophobic fringe hangers-on what they are. It doesn’t bode well for getting past this accursed era.

Open thread.

The Latest Dignity Wraith

Josh Marshall coined the phrase “dignity wraith” to describe establishment conservatives who exchanged whatever meager principles, decency, independence, credibility, etc., they possessed to align with Trump. The theory is these folks believe they’ll be able to advance their personal agenda by signing on with the vulgar conman, whom they flatter themselves they can easily control. But they soon find it’s all a dominance game with Trump. Chris Christie was an early victim.

Trump is a fool and a knave, but he understands primate dominance hierarchies at least as well as an average orangutan, so he follows the instinct to humiliate any presumptuous silverback who strategically submits to his will. Michelle Goldberg in the NYT identifies the latest victim:

Say this for Donald Trump. He may be transforming American politics into a kleptocratic fascist reality show and turning our once-great country into a global laughingstock, but at least he’s humiliating John Bolton in the process…

It’s nightmarish to live in a country where our foreign policy has been reduced to an intramural battle between Fox News reactionaries. And there’s still a danger that Bolton could outmaneuver the isolationists. But right now there is a thin, bitter consolation in knowing that he, like so many others who’ve worked for Trump, sacrificed his principles for power and will likely end up with neither.

Goldberg points out that under Trump, Bolton has thus far been thwarted in pursuing every single war he enthusiastically monged for two decades. After calling for preemptive strikes on North Korea just last year, Bolton was dispatched to Mongolia this weekend while bland-faced Javanka met with Kim Jong Un and Tucker Carlson provided justification for American rapprochement. That had to sting a bit.

I’m too old and cynical to hope that Trump will manage to transform the entire Reagan-Bush neocon-reactionary Axis of Hubris into a heap of desiccated husks that will trouble us no more. As that crew demonstrated by reclaiming their sinecures after lying us into a ruinous, deadly and pointless war, a combination of personal shamelessness and media credulity is remarkably restorative.

Moreover, it looks like some potential dignity wraiths escape their just fate, managing to tick off items on their agenda and then ducking out before being fully slimed by Trump. (I’m thinking of Don McGahn and Nikki Haley here.) The jury is still out on their fates, IMO, and much depends on how disastrously this catastrophic presidency ends.

But I’ll take my “thin, bitter consolation” where I can these days. Open thread.

Respite for the Rest of Us Open Thread: Drew Magary Is An Excellent Read

If you are a devout member of the Church of the Bleeding-Heart Liberal, it can sometimes be hard to stay single-minded in your choice of target. Maybe they had a difficult childhood! Maybe they’re just too dumb to understand what they’re saying! But then there are people like NYTimes opinionator Bret Stephens, who are richly compensated to say unforgivable things — and, bless him, people like Drew Magary who are (much less richly) compensated to respond:

Bret Stephens went ahead and ruined everyone else’s by scribbling out a bunch of racist bumper sticker slogans in the New York Times. And this time, ol’ Bret did so without the veneer of preciousness that he usually grants to everything he touches…

Nothing bad is gonna happen to Bret Stephens for this, of course. He lives in the same magical fairy-tale land other conservative dudes live in where they receive the largest bullhorn and grandest sum of money possible to cry out to the world that they’ve been sent to the guillotine for daring to speak their precious truths… The Times isn’t gonna fire Bret Stephens. That joint employs some genuinely excellent take havers, such as Charles Blow. But the people in charge over there know that what REALLY drives engagement is letting smug pricks like Stephens and Bari Weiss and four-eyed penis David Brooks scream DEMOCRATS DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW TO PLEASE ME from inside the battlements of a supposed fortress of impregnable liberalism…

Stephens should apologize for being who he is every fucking day of the week. He’s a repulsive slug of a man. That the Times would let Stephens indulge in the cycle of saying nasty shit and then arrogantly proclaiming that he expects people like Soledad O’Brien—who has had herself quite a week interacting with enormous alt-right shitbags—to apologize to him for daring to question him, is emblematic of the way the paper of record allows itself to get worked over by our least oppressed members of society positing that they are actually history’s greatest victims. Employing Bret Stephens means the Times gets to dodge criticism for being too liberal by going, “Look guys, we even let a shithead like Bret Stephens onto our pages!” Therefore, Stephens gets ample inches of column space to sort out who counts as a real American and who does not, and even makes sure to take an indirect jab at people who seek refuge here and end up dying because of the right wing’s institutional hatred and indifference toward them. And then… THEN… he gets to performatively wallow in the misery he’s sown…

And Stephens, of all people, has the predictable gall to say that everyone ELSE is the reason Trump is gonna win in 2020. It couldn’t possibly be because supposed guardians of democracy have foolishly offered STEPHENS asylum, helping disseminate his garbage into the mainstream and to act as sentry for the entrenched powers that be, and then paying him handsomely for the privilege. Nooooo… couldn’t be. I’d tell this pile of shit to take a look in the mirror. But I already know he’d gladly take me up on the offer, just for all the wrong reasons.


“If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done…”

ProPublica published an exposé today on a secret Border Patrol Facebook group that allegedly comprises more than 9,000 agents and former agents. On the page, they giggle over anti-immigrant memes, including one using the image of the Salvadoran father and his two-year-old daughter who recently drowned in the Rio Grande.

I’m not even going to try to describe what ProPublica found, except to say there’s a shitload of cruelty, racism and sexism, and it’s no surprise people with such a mindset would be complicit in running camps where desperate men, women and children are hideously abused. If Facebook had been around in the 1930s/1940s, this is exactly the kind of shit Nazi concentration camp guards would post.

These agencies need to be burned to the ground, the earth where they stood salted over, and curses placed at the sites to keep the evil contained. Yes, we need to be able to control our borders, but surely non-psychopaths can be found to handle the fucking job.

I saw a photo of a guy at a protest recently holding a sign that said, “If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done in Nazi Germany, you’re doing it now.” Truth.

Bargain Basement Borgias

A two year old quote from an anonymous Indian diplomat is making the rounds again for obvious reasons:

An unnamed Indian diplomat told Bobby Ghosh, the editor-in-chief of the Hindustan Times: “We regard Ivanka Trump the way we do half-wit Saudi princes. It’s in our national interest to flatter them.”

He later added: “Yes, it is a shame that the US should be compared to a kingdom. But that is America’s shame, not Modi’s, or India’s.”

The event that occasioned that remark was Princess Complicity’s participation in a the Hamburg G-20. This weekend’s embarrassing antics in Japan and the Korean peninsula are all of a piece.

Of course, we’ve only seen or heard snippets of world leaders’ reactions to having a father-funded knock-off bag-and-shoe peddler and her failed real estate scion husband thrust so pointlessly on the world stage. How much don’t we know?

It’s safe to assume the people at these events who know what they’re doing are running circles around the Trumps. Whatever the Trumps collect in the way of ego inflation and photo-ops is more than paid for in costs to this country’s foreign policy and trade objectives. Not to mention the reputational hit we’ll bear for generations for allowing the Bargain Basement Borgias to seize power in the first place.

Does it follow that the Democratic Party’s nominee needs to have strong foreign policy experience? Arguably, yes. On the other hand, literally anyone — you, me, either of my dogs, etc. — could walk into the Oval Office on day one and appoint educated, experienced and motivated people to represent America and start cleaning up the mess, and that would be huge.

Anyhoo. Open thread.