THE YEAR OF THE LIBERAL: Gainesville, Virginia is full of great kids!


Conclusion—The world's greatest moral tradition:
Here at the 18-year old Daily Howler, excitement runs high concerning the change of life which is currently scheduled for the start of the week.

In the past 18 years, we've conclusively proven that we can't have nice things as part of our national discourse. Now, we're ready for an incomparable shift in focus.

Today, though, we make a key point: Gainesville, Virginia is full of great kids! Specifically, we refer to the 7-year-old second grader described in today's Washington Post.

To read that report, click here. In hard copy, it's the most prominent report on page one of the Metro section.

If we might borrow from Bill Clinton, the era of the lemonade stand is over! The second-grader of whom we speak has started a GoFundMe page to equip public school classrooms in Flint with "hand sanitizer dispensers, plenty of refills and disinfectant wipes"—items needed "because the kids [in Flint] were afraid to use the tap water to wash their hands."

One school, Eisenhower Elementary, has already been fully equipped. Other schools will follow.

Based on the Post's report, we're going to guess that seven-year-old Isiah Britt got very lucky in his choice of parents, one of whom is paraphrased telling the Post that her son "has always showed empathy for others."

Many, many, many children spill with that empathy stuff, some at seven years of age. Indeed, when we read what Isiah Britt's mother said, we thought again of that statement by Dr. King:

"You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve."

To recall Dr. King's fuller statement, you can just click here.

"Everybody can be great," Dr. King said. "Because everybody can serve." "You only need a soul generated by love," he said at the end of his statement.

That said, let's switch gears for a second. Have you heard the one about the 100,000 New Hampshire voters who are Islamophobic, sexist, misogynistic fascist supremacists?

As we noted yesterday, we liberals were told that familiar old tale on Wednesday evening's All In. Not that there's anything wrong with it!

Can we talk? Dr. King was part of one of human history's greatest religious and moral traditions. He didn't start that awesome tradition. Astoundingly, it was already part of the world a large group of oppressed people made.

We liberals rarely mention the greatness of the world those people made. Indeed, when that astounding tradition emerged again last year, we the various northern liberals knew what to do:

We tried to hush it up!

Last year, 2015, is now being widely described as "the year of the liberal." For our money, the single most remarkable element in that long, embarrassing year was the massive dumbing-down of the Rachel Maddow Show, the emblem of contemporary white corporate pseudo-liberalism.

The dumbing down of that cable show was extreme and bizarre last year. This dumbing down went completely unnoticed by us the liberals, who constantly insist that we're the smart brilliant nuanced insightful thoughtful ones.

The massive dumbing down of that program, mixed with its reflexive dissembling, wasn't the only journalistic embarrassment of 2015. We're still amazed by the conduct of the New York Times, including its ginormous, gong-show report about the "scary uranium deal."

The fruit of a deal with a right-wing hack, that ginormous report was an overt journalistic embarrassment. In that case, it wasn't that we the liberals didn't notice the clownishness of the Times report. On one of our corporate cable programs, two major liberals oohed and aahed about what a "bombshell" it was!

Truly, we're hapless, beyond any help. Partly for that reason, we'll be adjusting our principal focus next week. But first, we wanted to offer a final homage to that great moral tradition.

The religious/moral tradition in question is one of world history's greatest. When Dr. King arose from that tradition, which he proceeded to extend, he attributed some of his thinking to Gandhi. But he also spoke, again and again, of "the love ethic of Jesus."

(Dr. King was a Christian. For ourselves, we don't have any religious or cosmological views, but it's easy to see the greatness of the moral tradition Dr. King ascribed to that "ethic.")

The tradition Dr. King extended isn't the world's only moral tradition. No one is required to view it any particular way.

That said, it's one of the world's history's greatest traditions. Dr. King is revered around the world because of the way he expressed it through the conduct of his life.

Last summer, that tradition was enacted again, in astonishing ways, in the wake of the shootings in Charleston. But you know how we liberals are! Up here in our northern preserves, our various entitled assistant professors moved to put the Charleston families down.

Don't listen to those country cousins, our thought leaders helpfully said.

Our associate professors rushed into print to tell us to stop the forgiving! Last year being the year of the liberal, it was the least they could do.

We liberals! In the past year, it became quite clear that we love it when our cable stars dumb it down. We love being handed their simple-minded, embellished stories, complete with their facile tribal accounts of perfect heroes and perfect tribal villains.

Something else became clear last year. It became completely clear how much we love to loathe. We liberals seem to love, lurve, loave our highly pleasing tribal hatred. For this reason, experts and scholars are now calling last year "the year of liberal loathing."

We liberals! We rarely invite American adults to take pride in the astounding moral tradition which somehow, in the face of our history, was brought to life on these shores.

It's one of world history's greatest traditions, but we almost seem to prefer tribal loathing. It's clear that our "thought leaders" do.

We're constantly invited to loathe by our assorted cable hacks and our assistant professors! Indeed, our thought leaders seem to like it best when we get to loathe 100,000 folk at a time.

Good grief! Our professors don't like the love ethic of Jesus, as Dostoyevsky foretold.


  1. If you want to start with a note of hilarity, google "Trump Honeymooners" for a one minute video. It pokes fun at Trump, but I think even he would enjoy it; for one thing, Gleason is the focus.

    Bob, thanksfor all your hard work. I learned a lot, especially about trying to be more observant.

  2. Of course liberals share many beliefs. But, is there one central belief that best defines who is a liberal? Here are some suggestions. Which one do you think is the most key? Or, is there a more significant belief that better defines liberalism today?

    1. Government should do more to help the poor and weak and prevent the rich from being too powerful.

    2. Private enterprise is dubious. Whenever feasible, it's better for the government to provide goods and services.

    3. Government should regulate our activities more and more.

    4. Poltically correct speech is the most important thing.

    5. Conservatives are despicable.

    6. Liberalism mostly means believing whatever the current liberal leadership says should be believed. (An example of #6 is Free Speech. This was once a central liberal virtue. Today, PC speech and limiting corporate influence trump (sorry) free speech, as liberal values. Another example is Israel. Israel was unambiguously supported by liberals 60 years ago; today liberals tend to have more sympathy for Israel's enemies.)

    1. The most dominant belief across the spectrum of contemporary liberalism is that you should be killed.

    2. All the definitions of liberalism I could find included the belief in the goodness of humanity and the belief that individuals should be free. Some also mention religious tolerance and provision for the poor and restraint of capitalism.

      There was no mention of PC speech, nothing about hating conservatives or trying to bring down the rich. Nothing about government providing goods or services. So, I don't know where you got all this crap, David.

      But way to troll!

    3. It's a shame that liberals have killed Anthony Scalia, right David?

    4. If liberals believe in the "goodness of humanity" they most certainly don't believe in science. No primate is "good." We're all killers and enslavers and exploiters without a "love ethic" and sad thing is, where a "love ethic" is found in a particular human being, it is never anything more than a matter of opinion no more or less right than its opposite.

    5. All you need to know about contemporary liberalism you can find in expressions of happiness over the death of Antonin Scalia. Hate for whomever may hold, express, or think a different opinion. Ask for whom the bell tolls and if he thought the wrong thoughts, be glad. A good purge never hurt anyone worthwhile either. Nasty.

    6. Has anyone here expressed happiness over Scalia's death?

      @3:43 -- science does not impose values on its findings. You can define goodness as the attempt to overcome the natural to adhere to moral dictates. Relativism is not part of science either. I think you have a peculiar notion of both primate behavior (which does adhere to ethics because they promote survival) and science.

    7. Indiscriminate slaughter of one group can also promote survival and enhanced quality of life of another and "goodness" can and has been defined by individuals and groups to mean eliminating a certain group of The Other based on beliefs, ethnicity, size, age, health status, anything that is defined as an impediment to the greater good as defined by the dominant group. A belief in the "goodness of humanity" is so self-evidently baseless it's delusional. Goodness can be defined as the attempt to overcome the natural, and it can be defined as not overcoming the natural. There is no objective definition, only those agreed upon for a period of time until a group that changes its mind is able to enforce its will.


    If you read The Howler Blog, you're often watching cartoons. The blog's coverage of Liberals is a case in point.

    A cartoonized story will often come with heroes, villains and victims.

    The hero is Dr. King. The villain is Rachel Maddow. And the victims are the wonderful black children, who become horrible betrayers of King as adults.

    Good time to move on Bob!

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  5. Sanders has promised to substantially reduce the number of prisoners in the US within his first year in office. The problem is that only 10% are federal prisoners, so he has no way to do that. It is an empty promise -- does he understand that or is he lying to voters?

    From Mark Kleiman:

    "So it sounds as if Sen. Sanders, after several decades in public office, is either utterly unserious or utterly clueless about the crime issue. Again, that’s excusable. But since he also seems to know very little about foreign policy, and much of what he thinks he knows about health care is just plain wrong, someone might want to start asking what it is he does know about, other than how to get a crowd riled up by denouncing the banksters.

    Those of us supporting Hillary Clinton this year are sometimes accused of wanting to settle for political small-ball rather than sweeping change. But no matter how good Sen. Sanders’s intentions may be, he’s not going to be able to change very much for the better unless he’s willing to learn something about the way the world, and the political system, actually operate."

    1. Don't forget that Bernie Sanders was in charge of oversight over the VA when it was having all of its problems. That's the guy you think should implement single payer healthcare?



    Part 1

    "There used to be substantive commenters here, before the trolls flooded the combox with chaff. I believe some would return if there were ever interesting discussion here again."

    Anonymous 2/13/16


    1. That should be 2011, not 2012.

    2. One day with nothing but troll garbage negates the other days with comments? People like you really need tutoring in critical thinking but you are most dedicated to tearing down this blog. Why does thinking threaten you? If you are the poor schizophrenic KZ, then the answer is probably obvious, but why would a normal person spend so much time writing the crap you leave here?

    3. @ 11:20

      "One day with nothing but troll garbage negates the other days with comments?"

      Another FOB who does not follow links

    4. I did. There were 1-2 spam comments and nothing else. So what?

    5. You both miss the real issue. The trolls have driven Bob away. Now there will be no qualified liberal holding our media accountable.

  8. "us the liberals"????
    Bob stop pretending that your a liberal when you're really an old southern conservative white guy.

    1. Bob is not a southern conservative white guy.

      Bob is a Lace Irish Catholic conservative white guy.

    2. The term is "lace curtain" not "lace". He has criticized such people so how does that make him one? He lived in MA & CA, then went to high school in Palo Alto then went to Harvard, then taught school in Baltimore. How does that make him a southern conservative? He is about as conservative as Bernie Sanders, his candidate of choice in this election.

      If you find his ability to take the perspective of others, to empathize, somewhat confusing, that is on you, not him.

    3. The Lace Curtain family history of Bob Somerby

      "And there the story might have taken another direction, had the Somerbys truly unhitched themselves from the East. But Edna's mother, a lace-curtain matriarch who worshiped the Kennedy clan, had decreed since boyhood that her grandson would attend Harvard. She propelled Gail to Wellesley, and began to work on Bob to get with the program. “The snob factor in our house was an ironic given," Somerby says.

    4. So you have proven a long history of self-loathing from Bob. So what?

      That doesn't prove he isn't a liberal just because he hates us.

    5. What part of "ironic" do you not understand

    6. You seem to say that it was ironic for Somery to criticize other "lace curtain" Irish. Like Lawrence O'Donnell? I don't find that ironic. I find it hypocritical.

    7. “The snob factor in our house was an ironic given," Somerby says.


    Part 2

    "There used to be substantive commenters here, before the trolls flooded the combox with chaff. I believe some would return if there were ever interesting discussion here again."

    Anonymous 2/13/16

    Yeah, like when the media discussed all imprtant tax and budget proposals oin the eve of an election.



    Part 3

    "There used to be substantive commenters here, before the trolls flooded the combox with chaff. I believe some would return if there were ever interesting discussion here again."

    Anonymous 2/13/16

    No More substantive Draw than Discussion of Dowd Discourse


  11. Bob, I appreciate your work shining light on journalism as currently practiced, and I think I have learned a lot from you. I look forward to reading what comes next from you.

    1. Bob Somerby's Greatest Fan During the Great Liberal Inquisition of 2016.February 15, 2016 at 12:38 PM

      It's about time the Silent Majority around here stood up (figuratively) for Bob.

    2. Yes indeed. Three one/two word anony mouses and a Kratius we click and find does not exist. Plus Bob Somerby's Greatest Commenter Named After Differing Sentences. Silent. Majority.

    3. @ 2:20 PM - your snark detector is in need of repair.

  12. "Last year, 2015, is now being widely described as "the year of the liberal." For our money, the single most remarkable element in that long, embarrassing year was the massive dumbing-down of the Rachel Maddow Show, the emblem of contemporary white corporate pseudo-liberalism.

    2015? We remember it all starting in 2008, Mr. Somerby. January 2008 to be exact. All in about one week.

    "Three large cheers for Rachel Maddow, who we’ll discuss on the morrow." 1/10/2008

    "We’d planned to name Rachel Maddow our Human Being of the Year....But we got interrupted, and we ran out of time. We’ll name her Top Human next week." 1/11/2008

    "Oh. Our. God. Last Tuesday night, Maddow seemed to tell the truth to Matthews—and she gained the acclaim of many Dems. But within a few days, she had walked it back. If Bauder is right, Maddow was soon calling Matthews the greatest TV star in the world.

    Let’s be fair: We don’t have a transcript of what Maddow told Bauder. We’re restricted to what he chose to quote—and the highlighted passage above is a paraphrase...But Maddow has a lot of explaining to do. 1/15/2008

    "...we’ll ask Maddow, one more time, to explain her peculiar comments. Until she does, we’ll assume the worst—that Maddow is the latest self-dealer to trade the truth for her own success. We’ll treat her with the contempt she has earned until she explains why she said what she did" 1/21/2008

  13. Replies
    1. Fawzy has jumped the shark. Bobsie has left the pavilion.

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