Friday, October 23, 2020

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

 
 Locals. They're good.

•    I did a thing for the newsletter (this issue free even to non-subscribers! How can I do it? Low overhead!) about last night's debate. The only way you can paint it as a victory for Tubby is if you grade it solely on yelling, posturing, and other alpha-ape displays of dominance. I certainly don't understand all the people saying, as "Access Maggie" Haberman did, that he "heeded the pleas of his advisers to tone it down." As I observed in the newsletter, that lasted maybe ten minutes. Perhaps Haberman means he sometimes resorted his baby-whisper voice between bellows, but on my TV he was mostly his usual self -- and, as I observed much further back than this, his is not an act that wears well over time, let alone during a pandemic. And who on God's green earth thinks hollering "I'm the least racist person here" over and over again is a winning strategy -- except for total racists, and he's already got them locked up? For the election, I am cautiously optimistic, which is to say frightened rather than despairing. 

•   Speaking of white supremacists, Republican golden boy Madison Cawthorn -- Good looking! Young! Disabled, but charismatically so like Greg Abbott! Running for a safe seat in the South! -- keeps outing himself as a Nazi, and the media keeps outing itself as unable to accept the evidence. Candidate Cawthorn first became famous for his effusions over a visit to "the Fuhrer"'s house in Germany. One could have interpreted his remark charitably, and conservatives did: My very favorite of these attempts is National Review's "Madison Cawthorn Is Not a Nazi." There's a headline that doesn't arouse suspicion! Cawthorn's also been accused of prevaricating about his career and military intention, and of sexual harassment, and of still more fash weirdness:

Cawthorn oddly follows precisely 88 people on Twitter. (88 is white supremacist numerical code for “Heil Hitler.”) He posed for a photo wearing a gun holster emblazoned with a Spartan soldier’s helmet, a symbol associated with far-right gun culture in general and the Oath Keepers specifically.

Also he called his no-work company "SPQR."  But, ho ho, maybe he just doesn't know what he's saying! "It would surprise me if Cawthorn knew that these have become alt-right symbols," tut-tutted Reason's Robby Soave, "just as it would surprise most people to learn that making the OK gesture will get them branded as white nationalists by hate-group watchers." (Not if they're paying attention, it wouldn't.) Regular old newsies cut Cawthorn slack, too; even stories that point out more dumb shit he did refer to him affectionately as a "a 25-year-old in a potentially historic bid for Congress."

Anyway, a few months pass, and now we find Cawthorn's website accused a critical reporter of working "for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.” (Cawthorn took it down but the internet is forever.) Suddenly all Cawthorn's weird fascist tells look a lot harder to excuse away. Not that the Republicans won't try (Ben Shapiro's already covering for him, posting a Cawthorn op-ed that's light on the Nazism) because they want that seat badly. But the next time they and the press back up one of these guys and say, "I can explain everything," we ought to tell them not to bother.  

•   I see Peggy Noonan's making her late push for a Trump comeback ("Did he? Could he?"), claiming he won the debate and achieved the important goal: 

If you wanted or needed an excuse, an out, to vote for Mr. Trump, if you wanted an argument that justified your decision in a conversation in the office, he probably gave you what you need.

First of all, what's with this persistent rightwing theme that Trump can win by giving his followers an excuse rather than a reason? Isn't that a disqualification rather than a recommendation? Secondly, what would "justify your decision in a conversation in the office"? Sheets and pillows? "Russia Russia Russia"? "ACO plus three"? If you're using this gibberish to excuse your vote to your colleagues, you were voting for him already. No leaner, if such a sad creature exists, was waiting for Trump to yell that he was the least racist person in the room to make the leap.

Mr. Trump’s power, recovered Thursday night, is to speak like normal people, so you can understand him without having to translate what he’s saying in your head. 

"Oh, I get it -- he says Blacks Lives Matter is all about killing cops!" 

Trump supporters believe he will win because of his special magic, Trump foes fear he will win because of his dark magic. Pollsters and pundits stare at the data and wonder how to quantify his unfathomable magic.

Pollsters are looking at polls that overwhelmingly show Trump losing and musing upon his "unfathomable magic"?  If it were anyone else I'd say Noonan was counting on Republican election fraud to make her prediction sensible ex post facto (which it could! So defend your vote, people!), but with her I guess it's the leprechaun telling her to burn her credibility.  

•  Oh, I have one more thing to say about this awful Noonan column:

It’s only a poll, but after Gallup, a New York Times/Siena poll asked the same question, and 49% said they were better off.

What’s interesting, though, is that when Siena asked respondents if the country was better off than it was four years ago, only 39% said yes.

What does this mean? No one knows. If the polling is more or less correct, you wonder: Will people vote on their own circumstances or what they perceive to be the country’s?

This is very, very reminiscent of something longtime rightwing buffoon Jeff Godlstein (old-timers will understand why I spelled it that way) claimed in 2006 as a reason why, despite the "good" economy, "the health of the economy has not polled well among the American public." To Godlstein, it started with Paul Krugman telling them (perniciously!) that some people were suffering, and the American public, which was doing great, taking it too much to heart: 

...the result is Americans -- a compassionate people -- are often concerned about this phantom suffering of others in the abstract, and will react less confidently to the current state of the economy based on how they believe others are suffering under it, even while they themselves note (often with some degree of secret shame) that they seem to be doing just fine.

That was January 2006. Remember the 2006 midterms? Kinda like the 2018 midterms. Americans are prey to all kinds of bugbears and prejudices, but most of us know when we're being conned. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

LATEST DREHER CATACLYSM.

Gotta thank Christopher Hooks for pointing this one out: Holy Rod Dreher hears from a data scientist that "roughly 30 percent of American women under 25 identify as LGBT" and flips:

Has anything like this ever happened to any society, ever? Three out of ten women under the age of 25 consider themselves to be gay or transgender. Five percent, sure. Maybe even eight percent. But thirty? Will they always think that? Maybe not, but these are their prime childbearing years. The US fertility rate is at a 35-year low, and there’s no reason to think it will rise. Some critics blame structural difficulties in the US economy that make it harder for women to choose to have children, but European nations make it vastly easier for mothers, and still cannot get their fertility rates above replacement.

What’s behind this is primarily cultural. We have become an anti-natalist society. And further, we have become a society that no longer values the natural family. We see everywhere disintegration...

As you may have guessed, Dreher didn't realize "B" means bisexual, and when it is pointed out to him he emits a can't-miss 2020 Jonah Goldberg Central To My Point winner:

This is probably true, but it doesn’t really change much. I’m not sure how many men would want to partner with a woman whose sexual desires are so unstable. I would never have wanted to date a woman who identified as bisexual. How many women would want to date men who identified as bisexual? 

Blink. Blink.

So, I will withdraw my “not interested in sex with men” claim, because “bisexual” could cover “open to sex with both sexes”....

Might could, huh. 

...but I maintain my point about this being a decadent and deeply destabilizing finding.

If it makes Rod feel bad it's bad for America/Christianitythe babbys. 

But let's go back to his blather about how non-het women are "anti-natalist." Set aside that not only bi but also gay women can have babies (and trans people too -- which Dreher should know because he frequently screams about it); why would it be anti-natalist if a lot of women (including straight women) didn't want to have babies? That doesn't mean they're against childbirth -- that just means they don't want to do it themselves, just like my lack of interest in downhill racing makes me anti-skiing. The difference, I guess, is that Dreher thinks it's these women's duty -- every woman's duty, it would seem -- to make themselves available for childbearing whether they want to or not. 

PS. In case you were wondering where Dreher, the prototypical JustTheTip Trumper, had come down after months of "I'm not Trump fan BUT" pee-dancing: In a separate full-body-fit over an Associated Press story that accurately portrays Amy Coney Barrett's support for anti-LGBTQ policies, he's taken a quintessentially Dreheresque route -- he probably won't sully himself with a vote for that Bad Man with the Good Judges, but he definitely wants other people to do it for him:

I have pretty much decided to vote third party for president (American Solidarity Party). Trump has my state locked up anyway, so I’m thinking that I would like to cast a vote in favor of a party whose platform I really believe in, as opposed to voting for the lesser of two evils, and choosing between the evil of two lessers. 

BUT:

Reading this AP story this morning, though, has reminded me again of the contempt the left has for people like me, and our institutions... I hope you Christian readers — especially those in swing states — will too. Though my vote really doesn’t matter in my state, this issue might move it to Trump anyway, given the quality of his judicial appointments. If I were in a swing state, this AP story, and what it symbolizes, would seal the deal for me.

There's an old gag about how if men could get pregnant abortion would be a sacrament, but if men could get pregnant Dreher would just find some other bullshit reason to get other humans to do the job for him. 

UPDATE. Just want to note for the historical record (I'm old-fashioned that way) that Dreher has updated again from his famous "reader" "mailbag." The alleged correspondent is a "Gen Z female reader" who says girls are saying they're gay or gayishe because of "increasing self-aggrandizement" among today's Fallen Youth "that surrounds this idea of identifying as any type of LGBTQ. It’s a social marker that puts you in the ‘in’ crowd. It makes you cool, it makes you one of the crowd." It's Queer Pressure! 

Friday, October 16, 2020

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

 
 Out of the way, it's been standing too long.

•   I'm cautious to the point of superstition about these things but it looks as if we may be headed in the right direction election-wise. (Remember: They cheat! Vote and let no one stop you!) And I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised that after years of sluicing the most deranged rightwing bullshit, the press and social media seem finally to have decided not to cooperate with at least one obvious disinformation attack, the Hunter Biden Laptop Caper. Gizmodo has a nice rundown on how sketchy it is, as do others, but you hardly need it: What mentally complete person would buy that Biden fils left laptops full of incriminating emails -- look, screenshots! Impossible to fake! -- with a repairman who felt it was his patriotic duty to give them to RUDY GIULIANI AND STEVE BANNON? (Who then funneled them to the New York Post -- presumably because Rupert Murdoch was all the Trump gang had left after David Pecker outlived his usefulness.)

The indicted shitbag Bannon is already self-discredited, and I hope this helps convince people that the New York "chortle chortle gotta love the" Post is not the cute ragamuffin they keep kitchy-kooing and is instead a repulsive and dangerous propaganda outfit. And as for Giuliani, well, here's my latest newsletter item on Third-Act Rudy (Free even to those of you who haven't subscribed yet!), and how this latest humiliation is just a reminder that he was always shit, and in much the same way as the President he serves as bagman and butler. 

•   While we're on the subject of FREE items from my newsletter (no, don't believe I dropped it: Roy Edroso Breaks It Down) here's another: a conservative defense of SCOTUS nominee Goody Godlywench, on the grounds that of course she's not going to rule in favor of the things she and all her enablers desperately want. The whole caper reminds me of a story from the childhood of former Justice John Paul Stevens; the missus found it in a New York Review of Books essay on his autobiography:

A primary business of Stevens’s immediate family was running the upscale Stevens Hotel in Chicago. But when it faced insolvency during the Great Depression, the hotel “borrowed” more than $1 million from the Illinois Life Insurance Company, which was controlled by Stevens’s grandfather, uncle, and father. Illinois state prosecutors saw this transfer as a form of embezzlement and indicted the three family members. Upon hearing the news, Stevens’s grandfather suffered a stroke and his uncle committed suicide, leaving Stevens’s father to face trial alone. A Chicago jury convicted him, but the Illinois Supreme Court subsequently reversed the conviction and directed an acquittal, finding no evidence of criminal intent.

Although one suspects that these events were traumatic for Stevens, who was still in his early teens, he recounts them in a typically matter-of-fact way. But what he says he learned from the experience is revealing: “In recent years, my firsthand knowledge of the criminal justice system’s fallibility has reinforced my conviction that the death penalty should be abolished.”

It would be wonderful, wouldn't it, if more of our judges had some acquaintance of the cruelties and caprices found on the other side of the law,  instead of being bred in vats by the Federalist Society and religious maniac fringe groups. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

THE TRUMP YOU LOVED, THE TRUMP YOU KNEW, THE TRUMP WITH A SONG IN HIS HEART.

All proud MAGA choads know Joe Biden and all his voters are Antifa rioter-murderers who want to sell white America to Muslim Chinese Black Mexican rapists and deny Goody Godlywench her true place on the Supreme Court/under her husband's headship. But their worst crime is hiding from the American people what a swell guy President Trump is, and Lou Holtz (yes, that Lou Holtz) is here to set the record straight

Most voters only “know” President Trump through the lens of media coverage and public policy debates — but that doesn’t come close to capturing the true essence of a man who spends every hour of his working day fighting for the American people. 

 Whereas the president’s supporters tend to focus on defending him on substantive issues, such as making the case for his America First policy agenda, his critics gleefully assail him on a personal level, hoping to undercut the appeal of his message by demonizing the messenger.
The liberal media are always telling us how Trump mocks the disabled, calls for his opponents to be jailed and protestors to be beaten, calls veterans losers and suckers, loots the Treasury, cheats on his taxes, cheats on his wife etc. -- but they never talk about his winning personality. 
Predictably, the left employed the same strategy following the recent presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, launching a full-on smear operation as soon as the event was over designed to make the president seem like an aggressive bully rather than a confident, assertive leader compelled to forcefully defend himself against a tag-team effort by his opponent and the debate moderator.

"Make the president seem like an aggressive bully" -- boy, they must have used hypnosis. 

Unlike most politicians, President Trump doesn’t resort to fake displays of empathy such as kissing babies or crying on camera — but that doesn’t mean he is devoid of compassion or dislikes babies.

It's just that Trump's a simple guy doesn't know how to portray his feelings to the public -- it's not like he was in show business.

The American public doesn’t often get to see the human side of Donald Trump, and when that side does peek through his no-nonsense exterior, the media tend to ignore or misrepresent it.

Surely Holtz has a concrete example of the human side of Donald Trump to offer us, since the President himself is too shy to show it?

After I did some campaign appearances in 2016, President Trump was informed of how sick my wife, Beth, was and he called her and spoke with her for 10 minutes. 

I totally believe this. Also, Zappa took a crap onstage and ate it.

His conversation was to encourage Beth about how important she was to her family. It was a genuine concern for an American citizen.

Wait, actually now I do believe it. In fact I can hear it in my head: "So ya know, Lou's gonna do some campaigning for me, now how's he gonna do that without someone ironing his shirts and cooking his meals and whatever it is you frumpy housewives do, when you're not sick that is? So, lemme see, I got a few more minutes, whattaya like? You, you're a lady, you like flowers and soap operas, right? I was on a soap opera."

Whenever I spoke with him over the past few years, his focus was always on what he could do to help others. I have never seen him wallow in self pity when the media has been so unfair.

When I played golf with him, he counted every stroke, never moved the ball…he was the most honest golfer that I have ever played with. 
LOL, the true measure of a man! I used to follow the AlwaysAction Twitter account, recently caught up in one of that platform's half-assed sweeps of spam accounts -- and contrary to the Washington Examiner's portrayal, it was indeed a spam account, endlessly recirculating a small numbers of aged wingnut propaganda clips, mostly calculated to inflame the rage and racism of its fans. One thing I noted in their stream was a clip, also endlessly recirculated, from the Trump campaign showing the candidate signing an autograph for a little girl; it stuck with me because it was the only clip they ever showed -- indeed one of the few I have ever seen anywhere -- of Trump showing anything even faintly resembling kindness toward another human being. And this was from a hardcore Trumpkin feed! 

Maybe the reason people don't see "the human side of Donald Trump" is not because it's been concealed from them, but because he and his handlers prefer to project a Mussolini image of dominance and capricious cruelty in order to maintain his thrall over his authoritarian followers. Or maybe he's just a scumbag. Or both! 

Friday, October 09, 2020

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

 

Singer/songwriter stuff, like back in the old days. I like it.
 

•  The otherwise inexplicable decision by White House osteopath Sean Conley to clear Tubby to start infecting the masses tomorrow makes sense if you realize that, as recent American political history and my Roy Edroso Breaks It Down White House sketches show, Trump is a mob boss who has surrounded himself with weak incompetents, not because he doesn't know from quality, but because he prefers wash-outs he can threaten into doing his most deranged bidding. Like, who would hire Wilbur Ross -- voted Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Cabinet Meetings by Factotum Magazine -- except someone who wants a senile old crook whose discernment is so enfeebled that he would go in front of TV cameras and make a fool of himself in defense of Trump's tariffs? Likewise, who here thinks their own doctor would tell them, sure, you've had COVID-19 a week, why not go give an unmasked speech to thousands of umasked people and tell 'em I said it's okay? 

•  Speaking of pitchmen and Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- subscriptions to which are still available and cheap! -- allow me to share today's White House sketch, "Key Mar-a-Lago," as My Free Gift To You. Things are no doubt grim at the White House, and don't think it hasn't had an effect here in the District -- Kia and I biked around Capitol Hill the other day, and the line at the Engine Company 8 firehouse for after-work COVID-19 testing went around the block. Not that Tubby gives a shit, but normal people know the virus gets around. But go ahead and enjoy the thing -- what can we do but laugh? (Besides vote in unprecedented numbers.)

•  The week has been so full of garbage takes it's hard to pick favorites, but David Brooks' mewling that "America Is Having a Moral Convulsion" in The Atlantic is pretty rich. This bit in particular is classic Brooks:

When Americans were confronted with the extremely hard task of locking down for months without any of the collective resources that would have made it easier -- habits of deference to group needs; a dense network of community bonds to help hold each other accountable; a history of trust that if you do the right thing, others will too; preexisting patterns of cooperation; a sense of shame if you deviate from the group—they couldn’t do it. America failed.

Yes, in Brooksland they're always spiritual and communitarian, these things that make up ideal American life and its traditional "habits of deference to group needs," huh? But in the real world, you know what helps? MONEY. Because you can't live without it, and the U.S. sent us a pittance months ago. Later Brooks mopes:

By August, most Americans understood the failure. Seventy-two percent of Danes said they felt more united after the COVID-19 outbreak. Only 18 percent of Americans felt the same.=

Guess why? Here's Denmark's action plan:

A total of DKK 285 billion (US $42 billion) has been appropriated in a number of “relief packages” to support businesses and workers until June. This spending represents almost 13 percent of the Danish GDP, making the Danish plan one of the most expansive in the world...

The government will support 90 percent of wages of hourly workers who are sent home up to DKK 26,000 ($3,800) a month and salaried workers will get 75 percent covered up to DKK 23,000 ($3,350). The salary guarantee program is organized through the Danish three-party-negotiation system, which consists of the government, unions, and employer organizations. Small independent companies outside the system will also be eligible...

It's amazing that in this country the top commentators on social conditions are people who've apparently never had to pay for a bounced check.   

Thursday, October 08, 2020

DON'T YOU FUCKING LOOK AT ME!

Here's my Veep debate wrap from last night. Harris did great by the standards of these things, never more so than when she was looking at the blowhard Pence in patient wonder at, as the feminist memes say, the confidence of a mediocre man. Conservatives in turn complained that she was conducting physiognomic warfare on God Boy. "Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris could be seen smirking, smiling, and laughing during Vice President Mike Pence’s answers during the vice presidential debate," sputtered the Washington Examiner, which enlisted "Republican committee member Harmeet Dhillon" to amplify the talking point by calling Harris a "smirking robot." "Her constant smiling and smirking didn’t work," claimed Joe Battenfield of the Boston Herald, who also claimed for Pence a "dominant" performance -- I'll show you headship, bitch! Roger L. Simon -- yes, The Man Who Created Moses Wine and one of the great buffoons of old blogging days, now writing for the Epoch "House Style 'Chinese Flu'" Times -- got it in the headline ("Kamala Loses Debate by Smirking") and if you think I'm gonna subscribe to read the rest you're crazy. 

These guys hate that women can speak without being spoken to at all, but when women give them insolent looks they go all Frank Booth (I mean, in a wimp propagandist way). 

UPDATE: Didn't post the link to my wrap-up before -- here it is

Friday, October 02, 2020

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

 
Billy was the real thing. 

•   They say Tubby got the virus but since they're completely untrustworthy we have to consider alternatives: 1.) It's the truth; there were too many leaks and loose ends to keep it quiet; like what would they tell his next audience of virus-targets if he's too sick to show up? 2.) They're just plain lying, using a get-well-soon story as a distraction from his disastrous campaign week; 3.) They're mixing truth with lies -- like maybe he just hit a serious cognitive drop and they're calling it COVID as a cover. Well, whatever it is, the guy will be low-key for a little while his goons do the talking. Byron York at the Washington Examiner:
Then there is Trump's role as candidate. Remember that the president, and a lot of Republicans, too, have mocked rival Joe Biden for "hiding in his basement" and appearing mostly in virtual events. Well, it now appears that coronavirus will force President Trump to adopt a Biden-style campaign, at least for the next 10 to 14 days. The Trump campaign can still gather big crowds, which he can address via video. But there will be an undeniably different dynamic to those events, because the president always feeds off the energy from a big crowd, and he can't get the same effect sitting in front of a camera.
LOL yeah, let's schedule big rallies where Trump's loyalists can watch him on TV! How heartwarming. It'll be like the GOP Death Cult version of Spartacus, or Stone Soup: The President can't give you the King's Virus himself, but several of you are probably teeming with COVID-19, so you can give each other coronavirus in his name! It's a Trumpmas miracle! 

If you prefer your idiocy mainstream, here you go:

•  Meanwhile, from slightly before Corona Don time, here's Rod Dreher:
Here’s why Donald Trump is not out of the game yet. It’s a ruling from two months ago, by the federal 11th Circuit, brought to my attention just now by a reader:
A Florida school board’s refusal to allow a transgender boy to use the bathroom matching his gender identity was unconstitutional, the 11th Circuit ruled Friday...
Dreher actually thinks his frothing hatred of trans people is shared by normal people and will be a game-changer in the election.
Like I said earlier, Trump was a crazy man in last night’s debate, and was a disgrace. It says something terrible about our country that this is how our president behaves. But we should also keep in mind that the kindly, respectable Joe Biden represents something truly barbaric — in fact, believes that there can be no compromise on the issue.
This is about what it means to be a male, a female, a human being. And Joe Biden is on the wrong side of the issue. 
[Hysteria Bold in the original.] This reminds me of this previous bit of Dreher electoral analysis:
UPDATE: New CBS News poll finds no Kenosha bump for Trump, even in Wisconsin. People who want the situation calmed trust Biden more.

UPDATE 2: A friend who read this told me on the phone, as we were talking, that he finds it impossible to believe that there was no Trump bump from the rioting — but easy to believe that people who intend to vote for Trump would not admit it to a pollster. He’s probably right. I wouldn’t tell a pollster if I was going to vote for Trump. Is that paranoid? Maybe. But I don’t think people are wrong to fear that this information is being recorded, and might be used against them one day.
Not too paranoid, huh? Then he added one of his Letters to Repenthouse "from" someone who feels exactly the same way. I have my own feel-good ideas about how this election could go right, but it seems weird to me to watch the guy say over and over again that maybe fear and hatred will pull it out for the Party of God. Well, I guess it's better than admitting that voter suppression is their only real hope

•  Sorry, I can't let the subject alone -- it's too rich. I see the Washington Times is trying to stir shit by sending out a Breaking News alert about this:


It's very obvious UUURGK BAD BROWN LADY TALK BAD ABOUT LEADER stuff, but stop and think: Why would an appeal to sympathy toward Trump work on his fans? They always talk and think about him as superhuman -- an impression supported by his pointed cruelty and brutality, which proves his disdain for human weakness. He doesn't get coronavirus, he gives it! Think about those crazy Ben Garrison cartoons (and the weird Trump-as-Rocky Photoshop sent out by Trump himself) portraying this flabby tub-o-guts as a buff he-man. Can they even imagine Trump suffering from a mere disease? Maybe if it were cancer, that would work -- people "fight" cancer, so the image of a Swole Trump battering the Grim Reaper might play. But a flu virus? That's like a Rocky movie in which the boxer plans a comeback against Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Boring! I expect that when and if Trump pulls through his factota will tell the rubes thrilling stories of how he refused the wheelchair as he lumbered heroically to the snack machine in the lobby.