THE YEAR OF THE LIBERAL: Palin and Weiner as seen by the Times!


Postponement—Disintegration, gatekeepers gone:
Confusing snow travel arrangements pending, we'll continue our award-winning series, The Year of the Liberal, tomorrow.

For today, we thought we'd take a quick excursion into the world of our culture's highly visible state of disintegration.

In each part of this rolling breakdown, we see the problems which arise in the absence of traditional gatekeepers. Part of the problem involves the way the disintegration is getting reported.

Sarah Palin's speech: Is disintegration all around us? Let's start with Sarah Palin's endorsement speech, which was broadcast in its entirety by The One True Liberal Channel.

In a word, the speech was astounding. Palin made crazy claims on behalf of Candidate Trump. Even for her, her delivery was pure perfect gong-show. For Drum's review, click here.

At one time, party gatekeepers kept players like Palin and Trump off the national stage. We voters weren't given the chance to display the fact that we can't see through their nonsense.

In its content and its delivery, Palin's speech was an astonishment. Adding to the air of disintegration, it was delivered one day after her adult son's arrest for violent, crazy behavior.

(Tribal warning! A prominent Democratic political family has also compiled a substantial record of wayward behavior by second, third and fourth generation members. Fame and wealth will often come at a very high price.)

Palin's speech was a mark of disintegration. Adding to the air of abnormality is this morning's front-page news report in the New York Times.

The weirdly upbeat account of the speech was written by Rappeport and Haberman. In hard-copy, it appeared beneath this upbeat headline: "Palin Backs Trump With a Dash of Rogue Appeal."

The factual gong-show Palin created was apparently left to the fact-checkers. Beyond that, on what planet is this a sensible account of Palin's national career?
RAPPEPORT AND HABERMAN (1/20/16): Little-known before Mr. McCain picked her as his running mate, Mrs. Palin ultimately eclipsed him in popularity and polls show her maintaining strong support among Republicans. She has endured as a coveted endorser with an impressive fund-raising list. After the loss in 2008, she declined to finish her term in Alaska, and went on to become a television star and a Fox News commentator.

The endorsement of Mr. Trump puts Mrs. Palin back in the center of the media maelstrom, and allows her to rehabilitate her political image, which had diminished in the last year as her contract with Fox News ended.
Her political image "diminished in the last year?"

That may be technically accurate in some modest way. But in October 2011, the AP polled Palin nationally at 35 percent favorable, 61 percent unfavorable. In March 2013, CNN found her numbers to be 34 percent favorable, 58 percent unfavorable.

Meanwhile, did Palin "ultimately eclipse McCain in popularity?" That may be true if the claim is meant to include the reporters' tag, "among Republicans." All in all, though, we'd say that passage offers a very strange account of her national career.

The craziness of Morning Joe: The craziness of Morning Joe continues on a daily basis. It's very hard to watch the show and believe that it's being performed in good faith by its weirdly matched co-hosts and their assortment of side-kicks.

Who is crazier, Mika or Joe? That's a difficult choice. Joe is at least being crazy in line with his Republican affiliation. Mika constantly seems to be playing a very strange double game.

(This morning, Mika again insisted that Candidate Clinton will only get the nomination if she names Elizabeth Warren as her running mate. We have no idea what she thinks she's proposing, or why she keeps proposing it. Joe and the various sidekicks all agree not to notice.)

This morning, it occurred to us that Morning Joe is disintegrating in a way which is opposite but somewhat equal to the disintegration of the same network's Maddow Show. On Morning Joe, you're hearing the mess in Flint described as a breakdown of the EPA, full and complete total stop. On the Maddow Show, it's all Rick Snyder all the time, with the EPA being hailed for its overpowering greatness.

(Over the past few years, Snyder has been Maddow's second favorite political target, a villain who ranks behind Governor Ultrasound only.)

In this column by the (largely disintegrated) Ron Fournier, you will read extensive quotes from Virginia Tech's Marc Edwards about the EPA's failure. On Maddow's show, you hear Edwards cited as the "MacArthur genius" hero of the events in Flint. You've heard nothing about the things he has said concerning the EPA. It's Snyder all the way down!

In our view, several of MSNBC's major programs are in a state of intellectual free fall.

The joy of sex with Amy Chozick: In this morning's New York Times, Amy Chozick plays her standard role at the heart of the disintegration. We refer to the loving piece she pens about Anthony Weiner's sexy-time sex life, not excluding the troubling conduct of Weiner's two-faced wife.

In the past year, Chozick has proven herself to be the soul of tabloid, and hence the soul of the Times. Her long report about Weinergate is pure tabloid, all the way through and down.

In paragraph 4, we see the soul of Chozick, a rapid climber who regards "juicy" as a journalistic term. Before she's done, she cites a key scene from the juicy new film from which she's extracting the pulp.

Needless to say, her news report includes overt and subtle but always juicy tie-ins to Candidate Clinton. People! Weiner's troubling two-faced wife is a top Clinton aide!
CHOZICK (1/20/16): Mrs. Clinton is referred to in overt and subtle ways throughout “Weiner.” One sequence focuses on a claim in New York magazine that Ms. Abedin was being pressured to choose between remaining a Clinton insider and supporting her husband.

Ms. Abedin turns to Mrs. Clinton’s longtime spokesman, Philippe I. Reines, for guidance, preferring his counsel to Mr. Weiner’s terse advice toward the end of his campaign that she “act like a normal campaign candidate’s wife” and say, “I think Anthony is doing an amazing job.” Ms. Abedin is also shown heeding the suggestion of Mr. Reines to not appear in public with Mr. Weiner as he casts his ballot. Mr. Weiner finished with less than 5 percent of the vote.


The contrast between Ms. Abedin’s public and private faces can be striking. One scene has the couple in a small office working the phones for campaign contributions. Ms. Abedin uses a sweet voice when she is asking for money. “How was the engagement?” she says on one call. “I want all the details!”

The film then cuts to her hanging up, showing a total change in demeanor. “His wife is going to max out, and he’ll try to raise another five,” she says flatly.
According to Chozick, Abedin spoke one way on the phone, another way after hanging up.

No one has ever done that before! It was all about chasing Big Money!

In the past year, Chozick has emerged as a nightmare out of the swamp of our cultural disintegration. That said, from the lunacy of Palin's speech to the faux and the crazy of Morning Joe, the smell of decay is all around, quite commonly in the Times.

The types of folk they hire: During Campaign 2008, Chozick, then roughly 28, was employed by the Wall Street Journal.

On August 1, 2008, she wrote a lengthy, ridiculous piece. It appeared beneath these hard-hitting headlines:
Too Fit to Be President?
Facing an Overweight Electorate, Barack Obama Might Find Low Body Fat a Drawback
"In a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability?" That was the question which lay at the heart of Chozick's exploration.

Was Obama too skinny to get elected? In the world of ace reporter Chozick, disintegrating minds wanted to know!

Right away, the brass at the brainiac New York Times knew that she had to be hired!

That said, everywhere we looked this morning, we thought we saw variants of this ongoing disintegration. Palin's speech was a tribute to gatekeepers gone. Eleven hours later, so was Morning Joe.


  1. A Clinton-Warren ticket makes no sense. But, IMHO Warren would be a strong Presidential candidate. She's smart and good-looking. She speaks well. She's shameless in promising unaffordable goodies, which is an asset to getting elected. She has no great accomplishments, because she's never had a big job. However, that's an asset today. Unlike Hillary, nobody can point to situations she allegedly messed up.

    1. Can you try any harder to emulate Sarah Palin?

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  2. The NY Times and Huffington Post (via CNN) are back to implying that Hillary Clinton knowingly sent and received classified emails on her private server. That isn't true and it is a continuation of the attempts to torpedo her candidacy.

    When you read the CNN report further you find:

    "Two government agencies flagged emails on Clinton's server as containing classified information, the inspector general said, including some on "special access programs," which are above "top secret" in classification level.

    Clinton's spokesman, Brian Fallon, appeared on CNN Wednesday morning to dispute the report. He argued on "New Day" that the information described as "classified" may be no more than a news article that was forwarded, although he ceded it is not entirely clear what classified material the report mentions.

    Fallon argued that the crux of the issue is a dispute between the State Department and the intelligence community over what should be classified. He said the emails were not classified in the eyes of the State Department when they were sent to Clinton. Fallon also implied the inspector general has an ax to grind with Clinton."

    As no one notes -- Clinton did not send any classified email to anyone. She WAS SENT and thus RECEIVED email with articles attached that were subsequently criticized by the intelligence community as containing classified information. Subsequently means retroactively, after the fact. State (after Hillary was long gone) and the Intelligence Community have been fighting over what should and should not be classified. Hillary is caught between them. But Hillary never sent anything classified to anyone.

    This is a complex issue that the public is not being told the whole story about. Instead, the media are using it to attack Clinton. Just as the story about Weiner is being used to attack her.

    If Bernie Sanders were not running, none of this would matter. It would be part of the noise level and would be seen as originating from conservatives (not Democrats) and as the clear attempt to derail her campaign that it is. Sanders complicates matters because his supposed purity heightens the complaints about Clinton by contrast, and because he is a repository for the ideals that appeal to Democrats while Clinton struggles with conservative traps. He is hurting Democratic chances by helping Clinton's enemies.

    The public will suffer. Democrats should be doing whatever they can to approach the general election with strength. Instead, they are weakening their only viable candidate so that one of the ridiculous Republicans will have an easier shot at election. I believe this is happening because there is no wider view of party, no perspective on the past, and because our own low information voters are so easily led. We need Democratic gatekeepers too, so that people like Bernie Sanders don't drain off enthusiasm in a mistaken ego-driven primary battle when he has no chance in the general election. What a mess this election has become!

    1. Both the White House and other State Dept. employees told Hillary not to use her private server. All subsequent problems stem from Hillary's dubious decision.

    2. There is a person or persons inside the FBI who are leaking shit anonymously to the media in violation of their oath and duty in a clear attempt to damage Hillary's chances.

      In my opinion, the real investigation should involve identifying who is leaking this nebulous bullshit and kicking their sorry asses out on the street for playing politics.

    3. There is a person or persons inside the FBI who are leaking facts anonymously to the media.

      Why are the FBI leaker(s) doing this? IMHO because they rightly fear that this Administration will not prosecute a leading Democrat, regardless of evidence of law violations. Such corruption must be abhorrent to people who have devoted their careers to enforcing the law.

    4. That's just perfect David. So they violate their sacred trust and the law anonymously, ostensibly in your not so humble opinion because of this overbearing fear that she will never be prosecuted for these vague anomalous charges. She has no way to win here does she. If the AG determines there is nothing, you have already a built in excuse. It's heads they win, tails she loses as always. How is she supposed to defend herself from unsubstantiated leaks by anonymous FBI investigators? In the middle of a heated political campaign? What about the damage done to her political standing? That's why there is a law that you don't leak shit anonymously before the investigation is completed. There is no way for her to get her reputation back.

    5. Mm's point seems to be that democracy is getting in the way of the anointing process for her Glorious Leader as the nominee of the Democratic Party. There's a bubbling up rage at the unfairness of it all, Sec. Clinton is the only Democrat who would crush all challengers, but for the kryptonite of a self-declared socialist running against her.

      According to mm:

      Sanders complicates matters because his supposed purity heightens the complaints about Clinton by contrast, and because he is a repository for the ideals that appeal to Democrats...

      Why the nerve of that man!

    6. Don't put words in my mouth, CMike. That is really beneath you.

      How do anonymous FBI agents breaking law equate to "democracy" for you?

      The voters will decide.

      best regards,


    7. FBI agents breaking the law doesn't equate to democracy for me, being a "repository for the ideals" of voters -instead of sponsors- does.

    8. 9 comments over a story Bob did not find fits his cultural disintegration meme.

    9. I think you may need to read a biography of Hillary Clinton. you seem to have swallowed with gusto the media narrative. Ask yourself a question, why is Karl Rove's superpac spending over $5 million dollars on negative attack ads against Hillary Clinton.

    10. You seem to have (again) demonstrated with gusto your political naivete. How much money could Karl Rove pocket from his PAC if he didn't spend money attacking a GOP bogeyperson?

    11. BTW, mm, some of the evidence against Hillary comes from her released e-mails or from public testimony. E.g., the information on SAP messages. Charles McCullough, the Inspector General of the US Intelligence Community, has informed Congress that Hillary Clinton had "several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the confidential, secret, and top secret/sap levels" on her private server. "Sap" stands for "special access program" and is the level above "top secret".

    12. evidence David? What the fuck do you know about "evidence"? how the fuck do you know what5 McCullough informed Congress? The Gowdy committee sending out more bullshit truths to their special media propagandists?

    13. BTW mm, what's your guess as to why Hillary used a private server, going against instructions from the White House, advice from other State Dept. employees, written procedures, and common sense? One conservative (instapundit) writes, "it seems clear to me, because she wanted to be sure that emails she sent as secretary of State wouldn’t be available under Freedom of Information Act requests that might hurt her politically." Do you agree? If not, why do you think she did it?

    14. The server already existed. She did not receive advice not to use it. Others, including previous cabinet members and Secs of State had done so. She stated there were problems with the State Dept system. That made it more convenient. Why are there so many factual errors in your questions?

    15. From what I've read, I was accurate. E-mails now released show State Dept. employees advising her not to use her own server. Official instructions from the White House told Cabinet Secretaries to use their government e-mail systems. The entire rest of the Cabinet followed these instructions.

      You may be right that Hillary's decison was based on convenience. Do you realize what a slam that is? Thousands of government employees go to great lengths to preserve our secrets. Spies and counter-spies risk imprisonment or even death to get secret information and to protect their own country's secret information. For that matter, lots of people in private industry go to a lot of trouble to maintain business secrets. It speaks badly for Hillary if she ignored security concerns, simply because using a different e-mail system was too much trouble or because she was too lazy or because she didn't understand the security implications of using a personal server.

      P.S. I actually don't buy the convenience theory. When I used my company's e-mail system, I could call on computer professionals to answer any question or fix any problem. That was more convenient that using my personal e-mail.

    16. Emptywheel (no big Clinton fan) describes "classified" in CIA terms can be a 15 year old document describing rotary phones, by which they sent someone to jail. They've classified info on drones that Obama talked about on TV. caveat emptor - if it smells like bullshit it might be bullshit.

    17. "if she ignored security concerns, simply because using a different e-mail system was too much trouble..."

      David, this is complete bullshit. The State Department email server was not a secure system. In fact, it is established fact that the SD email server had been hacked. Secretary Clinton used the secure system for sending or receiving classified information. Just like Secretary Colin Powell. This has been discussed and brought to your attention I can only conclude you're a lying bastard or an ignorant son of a bitch.

    18. mm - To say the government official system didn't have perfect security isn't a good reason to use a system with no special security at all. Nobody has claimed that Hillary did an analysis and concluded that her e-mail system was more secure than the government's system. This excuse doesn't work.

    19. David, this has been gone over many times. You just re-set your wingnut talking points and start all over, as though this hasn't been explained and discussed over and over already.

      Listen carefully and try to keep an open mind.

      If there really was classified material sent to her on her personal email, it wouldn't make any difference if it had been sent to her on the State Department email account. In both scenarios it would have been equally wrong.

      So the fact that it was her personal email is irrelevant. The State Department has other secure means of sending and receiving classified information.

      Bottom line is you are full of shit when you claim she ignored security concerns. The security concerns are dealt with by the state department by using a different system, which there is no doubt she used when appropriate.

    20. I'm sure you were all worked about Colin Powell as well, right David?

      Colin Powell, George W. Bush’s first secretary of state, wrote in his memoir about how outdated technology infrastructure at the State Department led him to install a personal laptop in his office to use a personal email account to “shoo[t] emails to my principal assistants, to individual ambassadors, and increasingly to my foreign-minister colleagues.”

      Powell, who served from 2001-2005, apparently did not keep a record of personal emails, unlike Clinton.

      As best as I can tell, no one ever cared about the Republican secretary of state using a personal email account. It was, to borrow a phrase, a non-story.

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  4. I know that there are some mind-bogglingly idiotic Clinton partisans out there, but this seems like trollery to me. Too obvious.

    1. You did not read one of Bob Somerby's all time great guesses?

  5. "At one time, party gatekeepers kept players like Palin and Trump off the national stage."

    Let's see. Who was it who put Palin on the national stage?

    1. I think it was Bloody Bill (Always Wrong) Kristol.

    2. Gee. I coulda sworn it was John McCain.

    3. McCain didn't know who Palin was when she was first suggested to him as a running mate.

    4. Ignorance is no excuse for the ultimate gatekeeper putting Palin on the national stage.

  6. Joe and Trumpy sitting in a tree...
    Three hours of Scarborough with a hard-on for Trump.