Wednesday, August 31, 2011

HE WAS A CRUEL MAN, BUT FAIR. Victor Davis Hanson defends the Dick Cheney biography. I have not read that book, and thus have no opinion of it, but I can still enjoy the wonderful bits in Hanson's defense. First, relating to Cheney's advocacy of waterboarding:
I opposed those techniques, but we still do not have the complete record of the information that came from KSM et al. — though National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair has since said “high value” information came out of it — and by now we have forgotten the sense of impending attack and mayhem that followed after 9/11.
It was the 00's, man -- everyone was doing anti-terror, and experimenting with torture.

From Hanson's list of Cheney's admirable qualities, this is my favorite:
...he retains a natural comfort with the middle classes that comes from his own upbringing in Wyoming.
Though its association here with the monstrous Cheney adds some piquancy, the general notion that someone should be applauded for "comfort with the middle classes" is depressingly common. I'm generally more impressed by how someone relates to poor folks. I supposed that's just my Christian upbringing, which I understand is now referred to as socialism.

Finally, the punchline:
He had a lot of Democratic friends — remember how little acrimony he showed with Lieberman in the 2000 debate...
Now, really, how can you top that?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

FRESH BLOOD. A few readers have encouraged me, now that I am the DC area, to pick up the Washington Examiner at the Metro in the mornings, promising a daily bounty of wingnuttery. That it is; I'd come across their stuff before in web searches, but it is something to get the physical paper and see so much mendacity neatly parceled up, like crisp new butcher paper tightly encasing a cluster of turds.

Their tendentious headlines I'd already noticed, but having fed a long while on the New York Post, I'm pretty well used to a news side heavily infiltrated by opinion. (Today's "Yeas and Nays," the Examiner's social/local page, is topped by a quote by Rush Limbaugh.)

The opinion pages are up there with the Post's, too. I think they might be a little loonier, though my assessment may be negatively affected by the unusually large headshots that run with the columns. Columnists aren't the nicest-looking people anyway, but it's truly disturbing to see a four-inch-high head of Ken Klukowsi early in the day, baring its fangs.

Even more disturbing is the waxen image of Cal Thomas that the Examiner runs; he seems to have been subsisting for some years on babies' blood and the wax of devotional candles; his pallor and drooping jowls suggest this diet is insufficient, and mostly serves to sustain the vitality of his lush, black Reagan haircut. Within Thomas' bored, seigneurial gaze I see an ancient hunger, and my hand draws protectively to my neck.

But give the old culture warrior credit: he knows how to bring the anti-barbaric yawp old-school. Take this lede from today's column, and bear in mind that its topic is Marco Rubio:
In my high school days before sex and environmental education and the general dumbing down of the population, memorization of some Shakespeare was expected in Miss Kauffman's 12th-grade English class.
Forget the ambitious young weasel from Florida a moment, Grandpa's talking about the days before filth and eco-fascism drove the Bard out of high school.

Anyway, "taken at the flood" is Rubio, whom Thomas says goes "further than what might be expected of a Republican" because he admits that previous GOP administrations had big-gummint tendencies, which Rubio wants to avoid. Thus, Rubio "takes the 'compassionate conservatism' of George W. Bush to a different level," by providing a "ticket out of dependency for people who can work but have been robbed of their dignity by addiction to a government check" -- the first step in that process being, of course, taking away the check.

There's no reason for Thomas to be so impressed with Rubio specifically --all the young turk Republicans share his twin enthusiasms, namely gutting our entitlements and being considered angels of mercy for doing so. Is he just mesmerized by Rubio's healthy young veins? Perhaps, but think about Thomas' position; he's been at this game forever, and spent his long, exhausting career with Satan spinning talking points as furiously as Erich Brenn spun plates for Ed Sullivan. He's seen them come and go, so to him true-believing sprats like Rubio are nothing special -- mere armament in Old Scratch's war against humanity -- and require no more personal attention or differentiation than any of the infants from whom Thomas must suck life-blood to remain sentient and in service.

And because they're nothing special, Thomas has to talk about them as if they're something special. Thus, Rubio the comer. Next month it'll be Paul Ryan, or some other youngster who will revivify the old cause. If they falter, well, they can always be drained of blood and ichor, stuck in a think tank, and replaced by some other mushbrained sociopath.

Can't close without including this bit from the column:
Rubio points to a path beyond the familiar "either-or" debate; beyond envy of the wealthy and multiple and ineffective programs to liberate the "poor."
It's great to be a conservatve -- you can brag on your compassion while referring to people who live on food stamps as the quote-unquote poor.

UPDATE. In comments, commie atheist wonders how I missed the Ooga Booga angle in Thomas' column:
...people who can work but have been robbed of their dignity by addiction to a government check.

Dignity leads to many other character qualities, which advance the true welfare of an individual, benefiting society. Someone with dignity, self-regard and respect for others is unlikely to take part in a flash mob attack.
How long the acolytes waved Examiner flash mob stories in front of Thomas before his stigmata flowed afresh, I can't say, but clearly he is now educated to the new Afro menace and will alternate between this signifier of urban chaos and Amy Winehouse for a couple of years or until people have forgotten how to read English, whichever comes first.

Scott from World O' Crap remembers the good times: "We held a beauty contest over at World O' Crap, forcing the headshots of the NRO Fundraising Cruise Speakers to compete in a pageant format, and Cal Thomas won in a landslide. His secret, I suspect, was smirking down at the camera, making it seem as though his jowls and drooping eyelids were cascading into the lens, creating that 3D effect the kids are so entranced by these days."

Monday, August 29, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about rightbloggers and Hurricane Irene. The reflexive Obama-hate they came up with was predictable; the big fun is in oddities like Ira Stoll's defense of price gouging. Go see.

UPDATE. The Washington Times has an editorial called "Irene is Obama’s punishment." It's cleverer than it looks:
Before Hurricane Irene made landfall, environmental extremists were spouting off three certainties about the storm: It is catastrophic; it was caused by global warming; and it is all President Obama’s fault.

On Thursday, climate alarmist Bill McKibben wrote, “Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming.” His thesis is that warmer ocean temperatures mean hurricanes will hold more moisture and travel farther north than they have in the past, resulting in more devastation. Combine this with melting Arctic ice, record floods and record droughts, and the “global weirding” model is complete.

If anything is getting weirder, it’s the arguments of the climate-change crowd.
I didn't say less insane than it looks, I said cleverer. The editors quote exactly one source, McKibben, to back up their claim that "hard-core enviros" are unfairly attacking Obama, and I assume McKibben is also their evidence that "liberals say [Obama] hasn’t done enough and Irene is his punishment." (And me with dozens of authenticated rightblogger gibberings! I suspected I worked harder than these guys, but Jesus Christ.)

The clever part is, now the normal WashTimes readers will read the article and go, "Yeah, those enviros sure are crazy," and the subnormal WashTimes readers will look at the headline and go, "Cabbages, knickers, Hurricane Irene is Obama's punishment, I like choc-o-mut ice creams." And it didn't require anything like a fact to accomplish it.

UPDATE 2. Oops, neglected commenter kudos. Today they go to Jason:
Meanwhile, Jim Hoft—a person of such dazzling witlessness that he makes Jonah Goldberg look like Zeno of Elea—is hard at work reclassifying voluntary acts of charity and service as socialistic abominations. In another hundred or so years, one imagines, the flag of the United States will be nothing more than the image of a Patriot strangling an old woman to get to a box of shotgun shells.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

PEAK WINGNUT. First: Happy Irene Eve! Here in the DC suburbs, there are some power outages -- which were pre-announced by Pepco, our power provider; it's like they're not even trying; these guys suck worse than Con Ed -- but otherwise it's pretty chill.

For those of my fellow rightblogger watchers who have electricity and the stomach for it, I can recommend Robert Stacy McCain's insane "The Politics of Fear." It's amazing. It starts with some lively We're not the fascists, you're the fascists yak; then, the time-honored routine about how "McCarthyism" was actually right on, but the real McCarthyism is practiced by liberals all the time, and bad. You will read much about how American Beauty and The Sum of All Fears were created, not by "artists," but by leftist social engineers to lull the sheeple into a false sense of security, in which state they were brutalized by terrorists and buggered by homosexuals.

Per McCain, liberals' latest bad-McCarthyism trick is pointing out Republicans who don't believe God made no man outta no monkey, which leads to this lovely passage:
Though tempted to leave that question dangling, to demand that liberals explain why belief in evolution should be a sine qua non of participation in American political life, I will endeavor to provide an answer.

Ever since the French Revolution, the Left has presented itself as the political expression of Scientific Progress...
If you guessed Global Warming as the next talking point, give yourself a no-prize. Really, this thing is a perfect distillation of wingnut first principles -- kind of like someone threw random pages from Liberal Fascism, some Chick Tracts, Andrew Breitbart's multi-volume embargoed suicide note, and corn likker into a blender. The maddening thing is, the normal people who vote Republican would find it utterly confusing, and have no idea that the people they're voting for believe in it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Claims about North Dakota
If you have a license and no criminal record, you can get a six-figure trucking job almost overnight.
The article is here, hat tip goes to Garett Jones on Twitter. If your response is: “How many of the unemployed could get work in North Dakota?” you have missed the point.

You can find some of the ads here, and more broadly here. My poking around showed that some of them start at 75k a year, though with raises for good performance. It is also required that you have no DUI convictions. The sense of community is strong and the State Capitol is an Art Deco masterpiece. You can get Canadian TV. What more could anyone want?
If you've ever met any actual truckers --as I have -- and heard their stories of sleeping in their trucks, hidden costs that strip their paychecks, etc., you'll know that it ain't that simple:
There’s been a lot of hype about jobs in the trucking industry lately, but it’s time for a reality check. In this economy, exaggerations about a so called “growing field” where there are ample, easy-to-land jobs with lucrative paychecks can cause hardships for people who are desperate for work...

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects average growth rates for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and below average increases for light or delivery services truck drivers through 2018. And even the industry’s trade group played down claims made by a host of media outlets in recent months that the industry has tons of jobs to fill.

“Today’s shortage is more of a quality than a quantity issue,” said Bob Costello, chief economist with the American Trucking Association. He said he recently talked to one of the association’s member who told him he has 100 jobs to fill, but 800 applications.
Don't tell most of the commenters at Cowen's blog, though. They mostly assume that able-bodied young bucks ain't going to North Dakota to get rich because they're shiftless., e.g.:
I think the point is that, even if North Dakota wouldn’t be a large-scale solution to national unemployment, the overwhelming lack of willingness of the unemployed to move to North Dakota tells us something about the nature of the unemployed in America. To me, it says that they’re not terribly motivated to find work, but I suppose there are other possible interpretations...

“Yes, labor migrates; no, labor does not migrate “easily”.” And my response to anyone who is unemployed and sucking at the government teat is “tough s*!t”. You do what you have to do to support yourself and your family...
(I should mention, though, that the comments include one of those rare instances of Matthew Yglesias being actually funny: "I think I may be missing the point here, so I hope Tyler will explain it to us.")

If we put as much effort into solving problems as we do into constructing alternate realities, imagine what we could accomplish.

UPDATE. Thanks, Vern Morrison, for spelling help. And to commenters, including KC45s -- "None of the ads promise a chimpanzee sidekick. Sorry, that's a deal breaker." I believe you mean an orangutan sidekick, KC45s. (Sub-update: Or not! wjts cites the historical record. I didn't realize helper monkeys had such a rich and varied history.)

Leonard Pierce has done some research on the subject (of the trucking business, not simian sidekicks) and lays out some of the hard facts of which Cowen and the Galtian Supermen are not in possession.

Sadly, No! is often very mean to poor K-J'Lo, but they and she are at their best when Lopez goes into a fugue state and makes with the Yeatsian automatic writing.

UPDATE. What, someone commented on KaJeaLop's post? Let's see:
I was in Charleston, SC for Hugo - on a Navy destroyer that couldn't leave port, no less...
It was a dark and stormy night! Came the dawn...
Therefore and henceforth, this particular dude abandoned his North Easterner attitude regarding hurricanes being just big ol' rain storms.

I tested my generator last night for the first time in a couple years. Got enough juice for the chest freezer, fridge, sump pumps, my network stuff (hub, router, cable modem, wireless access point, etc...), Tivo, TV, and a couple lamps. We'll see about the XBox and/or air conditioner, later.

Good to go.
I like to think our man has thus outfitted an old cabin cruiser under a tarp in his garage, where his wife sends him when he has "spells." He seems very proud of his Boy Scout exercise, and I suppose he has a right, but it's strange to me that a grown man would preen so over his preparedness. It smacks of survivalism, like he lives for these disaster-teases. I bet his cabin cruiser is blocked up with old How to Survive Y2K books.

Which reminds me: Why are so many of our rightwing brethren both survivalists and conspicuous consumers? The survivalism perhaps explains their politics: They wish to prove their manhood in the post-apocalyptic hellscape their policies are designed to bring about. But do they really imagine they'll be able to maintain their suburban lifestyle in that New Dark Age? Maybe they all see themselves as The Boss in Things to Come, clad in furs and lording over the wreckage; others may huddle in lean-tos, but not they... oh, wow, I think I just explained libertarianism.

UPDATE 2. Oh for the love of... conservative chiropractor Melissa Clouthier advises New Yorkers to flee Irene in terror:
You’re probably thinking this is melodramatic. Not so much. Things get primal awfully quickly. When it comes down to it, there will be a grim determination that sets in. You’ll start only seeing men at the grocery store. You’ll see panicked people pleaded with grocers for more water. You’ll wish you had prepared. You’ll feel foolish because you knew what you should do but you didn’t do it...

Civilization is a delicate thing. It goes out the window, and quickly, under trauma. Your best defense is preparing now...
I remember how the citizens of New York reacted to 9/11. They aren't going to act like a bunch of goobers because of a fucking tropical storm -- though the goobers always like to imagine them doing so. If their families really loved them, they'd confiscate their Death Wish DVDs.

UPDATE 3. Har de har har, commenters. "...these folks are fine with voting for policies that will put them in a cardboard box under an overpass, roasting a sparrow on a stick," says Jennifer, "so long as said policies assure that the guy in the next box over has no sparrow." And don't miss Whetstone's poem.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This country sucks.

Honorable mention: The headline on Brian Hughes' article at the Washington Examiner, "Obama still faces daunting challenges as Libya changes," is even better in the paper edition I received outside the Metro station* this morning: "Obama challenged by chaos in Libya." It's time to pull out of that quagmire, which will never be the success our led-from-the-front victories such as Iraq have been.

* Oh, yeah, the quake: Kia and I were downtown. As a former Californian, she was unfazed (she says such a dinky temblor would rate a two-inch squib in the Cali papers). It was my first, and I'm glad the Earth was gentle. All office drones got the rest of the day off, so we had a few drinks at the St. Regis and went down to look at the MLK Memorial:

Not sure I like the hewn-from-the-rock effect -- it's very literal, and puts me in mind of a Ray Harryhausen special effect in which King bursts out of the rock and inches forward, roaring, as the earth shakes. But the quotes along the wall are effective, and King's face is very good; when we first saw it, it looked stern and schoolmasterish, but it softens as the light and angle change.

The other visitors seemed to like it fine. Don't know what they thought about the aesthetics, but they were certainly happy to see it there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

THE ETERNAL OOGA-BOOGA. Some time back, during the Donald Trump Presidential boom -- Remember that? Good times! -- I came across some nut who claimed to be a White House "Insider" who'd soured on Obama and was sneaking out to talk shit about him with a blogger.

At that time he was plumping the Trump campaign thus: "At first I thought it was something of a joke, but since then others have confirmed its legit - and considerable money is already being spent in preparation... I think this guy could win. He really could. And I would gladly work for this campaign."

Judging from his political savvy, he must be a very senior official indeed -- which is damning for Obama!

The Insider has resurfaced, and guess what? Now he's working the Ooga Booga angle.

To "lay out the psychological foundation of the son-of-a-bitch," The Insider tells us what a slob Obama is in his "upstairs office at the White House":
The big screen will be on – the volume loud. You can easily hear it from outside the door. The sports channels are the ones most commonly playing, though sometimes the channel will be set to music, or Fox News...

He often sits with one leg draped over one of the chair’s arms and the other leg stuck straight onto the floor. Shorts, sweats, a t-shirt, and like I said, no shoes or just those sandal things that so many of the younger people like to wear these days... And that desk, it’s a mess. Magazines spread out all over it. Stupid shit too. Real low brow reading material the president is into. People. Rolling Stone. Lots of those tabloid things.
Plus Obama has "like these long-fingered woman’s hands. And his wrists, you could wrap your own fingers all the way around those wrists – again, so much like a woman’s hands." Why, the Insider dreams about those hands.

You can see how a wingnut would be easily riled by this -- the woman-handed, shoeless pickaninny reading Rolling Stone and blasting hippity-hop in the House that Reagan Built! But that's just background for the real story: How Obama will use black riots to re-seize power.

Here's the come-on:
[Interviewer]: What do you mean by we – we are preparing for it? And are you actually saying that Barack Obama would push for race riots to somehow win a presidential election? That sounds…far fetched. Even for this administration.

Insider: Does it? How so? You need to take step back and see more of what has been happening in this country. It’s why this thing went from a concern about the party to a serious concern about the country. Why aren’t you seeing that?
After a bunch more Deep Throat bullshit, The Insider finally gives up a little more intel:
So will he stir up the race issue if it means guilting or scaring white voters to keep him in the White House? Hell yes he will. He’s been doing that shit his whole damn life! You wanna say so what to that? You wanna see this country torn apart by race because we have a president who sees it as a viable political tool?
Tell us, O Insider, how this guilt-or-scare will work!
The race card, the racial thing – whatever it’s gonna be called, it is the number one asset this administration believes it has to win in 2012. Their own polling data has shown that to be true over and over again. But how far are they willing to push that? Race. The charges of racism? I believe all the way if they have to. And they are gonna get people stirred up. And if Barack Obama doesn’t win re-election, watch them stand back while the riots break out, and watch them mouth the words “Burn baby burn.”
Oh no -- what a disappointment! Those of you over the age of 12 and with intact memories will recall that conservatives, some with actual names like Jay Nordlinger, were claiming that an Obama loss would lead to riots back in 2008. It's just wingnut SOP.

I was hoping the Insider, being Inside and all, would have smuggled documents out of the Black House that would tell us in which Popeye's Fried Chicken franchises the guns and ammo were being stored. Shoot, for all her passive-aggressive prevarication, even The Anchoress is more forthright about Obama's use of flash mobs to overthrow America.

But let's not give up hope. Maybe the Insider isn't telling all he knows. Maybe he's holding back. I bet he has a wife and kids -- and they know it. What is it, O Insider? Blink out the answer in Morse Code! Where is Valerie Jarrett drilling the troops? Will the Obama rioters try to trick us into flashing our headlights? Tell us, for God's sake -- the hour of Ooga Booga draws nigh!

UPDATE. Comments are all comedy gold, but special attention must be paid to whetstone, who sampled The Insider's dialogue ("Fuck no. Listen. And learn some goddamn history before you ask such a stupid question") and judged: "Wow, Mamet really did go off the deep end."

Monday, August 22, 2011

LIBYA ENTERS THE POPCORN STAGE. I opposed the Libyan intervention, so once again I'm watching video of happy crowds in a newly-taken capital with mixed feelings. I said my say in March and stick to that; Glenn Greenwald has other relevant demurrers. Here's to our new, hopefully more tractable client state.

Of course if I were a neo-con whose bloodlust only chills when a Democrat runs the show, my feelings would be much more unpleasantly mixed, in the manner of a number of imbeciles who have already embarrassed themselves today.

Leading the pack, as I expected, is Stanley Kurtz:
America put its credibility and prestige on the line in Libya, and we have fortunately escaped the potential disaster of seeing this intervention fail–although our escape as been far too narrow for comfort. Just a month ago, it looked as though the Libya campaign was nearly lost...
Yeah, NATO was in serious danger of being defeated by Muammar Gaddafi and his gunsels. That dream being dead, Kurtz spins:
What happened? We may learn more about that in the days ahead. Preliminary reports suggest that, despite denials, NATO changed its tactics under pressure of the deadline for re-authorization. NATO began offering more aggressive support to the rebels, by attacking Qaddafi’s strictly defensive positions.
I'm no war historian, but I understand that in any campaign tactics tend to evolve with circumstances, some of them political.
In other words, we may have finally won this war only when we recognized that it was a war, and stopped treating it as a strictly humanitarian intervention.
This is good news for Rick Perry.
So Qaddafi has been toppled, but only after a notably weak and unnecessarily prolonged campaign. If this is what it takes for America and its allies to dislodge an unpopular dictator in open terrain, our more dangerous potential adversaries cannot be feeling much fear right now.
Yeah, Bashar Assad just stretched his legs, put his hands behind his head, and sighed, "Easy Street!"

If it were not for the mountains of dead involved, I would just as soon see this finale stretched to October, so it coincides with the 10th anniversary of our invasion of Afghanistan.

UPDATE. This just isn't Kurtz's day:
I’ve been reading Rick Perry’s book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington. You should read it too...

The real controversy comes when Perry suggests that, in an ideal world, even sacred cows like Social Security and Medicare might have been better run by the states....

So what’s the big deal? Aren’t most conservatives and Republicans talking like that nowadays? Absolutely. But Perry’s critique of our entitlement system is very sharp — in a couple senses of that word — and is part of a systematic attack on the welfare state that runs all the way back to Roosevelt’s New Deal...
Almost simultaneously, Perry has been disavowing the Social Security argument in his book, per the Wall Street Journal:
But since jumping into the 2012 GOP nomination race on Saturday, Mr. Perry has tempered his Social Security views. His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had “never heard” the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program.
Kurtz does try some preemptive spinning:
All this will be loudly excoriated by Democrats. Perry is going to be portrayed as an extremist who wants to kill Social Security and Medicare. In fact, Perry doesn’t call for that.
Back to the Journal:
[Perry] suggested the [Social Security] program’s creation violated the Constitution. The program was put in place, “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government,” he wrote, comparing the program to a “bad disease” that has continued to spread. Instead of “a retirement system that is no longer set up like an illegal Ponzi scheme,” he wrote, he would prefer a system that “will allow individuals to own and control their own retirement.”
You can call this watered-down system "Social Security," just as you can call Coupons for Codgers "Medicare," but you can't get very many people to vote for it. That's why even the most rabid wreckers try to disguise their intentions as soon as they think someone's watching.
SHORTER JONAH GOLDBERG: Obama took "Blame" off the "Blame America First" slogan me and my buddies have used on Democrats for years. That makes him a hypocrite.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the Rick Perry campaign. Before he declared for President, rightbloggers were effusive; now, they're exploring the pleasures of damage control, as Perry's record comes under something resembling scrutiny. One I didn't have time for was the Gardasil issue, though I do find it interesting that the thing for which Perry has most abjectly apologized is his attempt to vaccinate girls against HPV. Jill of Pundit & Pundette does a little concern dance before coming around:
It can't be seen as anything but glaring government overreach, can it? I'm still very disturbed by it. Speaking as a mother of daughters, I have to say that Perry's Gardasil mandate is the kind of unholy statist invasion into the family that makes me crazy, and angry.
Good thing Jill's mom didn't feel the same way, or she might be blogging from an iron lung.

UPDATE. Commenter Fats Durston pulled this quote from the John Fund source:
Andy Puzder, the CEO of Hardee's Restaurants, was one of many witnesses to bemoan California's hostile regulatory climate... California is also one of only three states that demands overtime pay after an eight-hour day, rather than after a 40-hour week. Such rules wreak havoc on flexible work schedules based on actual need. If there's a line out the door at a Carl's Jr. while employees are seen resting, it's because they aren't allowed to help: Break time is mandatory.
"Jesus fuck," says Fats, "they really do miss the nineteenth century, don't they?" In the neo-feudal future, expect fast food kings to cry to rightwing columnists that Cali customers get their burgers five minutes late because some moochers are on so-called "sick leave," and that they had to throw out a whole bunch of meat because the fascist FDA said it was spoiled, cutting into the profits that make jobs.

Nineteenth Century? That's too limiting; yea, even unto the Middle Ages.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

OK BOYS, ROUTINE 12. I must be slipping; I had to read this John Kass column twice before I could be sure it wasn't satire:
All the signs suggest that Obama is in immediate danger of a rabbit attack. It would ruin what's left of his presidency. And it would horrify Democrats by ushering in, say, a President Bachmann.

It might happen while he's on that ridiculous vacation of his. Obama is chilling at some exclusive multimillion-dollar estate on Martha's Vineyard...

"I think it's a little too early yet for the president to be attacked by a rabbit," cautioned a veteran Chicago Democrat wise in the ways of Obama. "But it's close. Real close."
Actually conservatives try this sort of thing all the time. "Alas, as with Jimmy Carter's unfortunate tangle with a killer rabbit, the Bush socks episode became a metaphor for the Bush presidency," wrote Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator in October, 2009. "...The Bush and Carter episodes come to mind watching this Obama jaunt to Copenhagen for the Olympics." Almost simultaneously, Robert Foster quoted Frank Luntz to the effect that the failed bid "has the potential to do to Barack Obama what the ‘killer rabbit’ incident did to Jimmy Carter.” When it comes to restating talking points, these guys are pros.

No one, except some prospective 2012 GOP Convention attendee seeking a fresh angle for his handmade sign, cares much about Obama's failure to secure the Olympics now; in fact, given their new conflation of flash mobs and the London riots and their assignment of blame for them to Obama, I expect a new story is being percolated as I write, suggesting that Obama threw his Olympic bid to London*, so that it would be harder to tell that he alone was behind the international chaos.

Well, at least it gives the troops some variety in their ordnance. And it may be as much American history as they'll learn in a season.

*UPDATE. That Rio has the 2016 Olympics, while London has them for 2012, just goes to show that the Kenyan Pretender has in his incompetence allowed events to get far ahead of him.

Friday, August 19, 2011

COLOR BLIND. Who knows what's going on in that rat's-nest The Anchoress calls her brain? (Cartoons of a Red Devil pitchforking FDR, I expect, and Jesus warming his hands in preparation for Thee Anch's full-body rubdown.) A few days ago she gave a sermon on the topic Obama and Flash Mobs: Plot to Take Over America?:
In various internet political and religious forums, I have seen the suggestion being made — leaking in from the fringes, mostly — that the odd rise of “flash mobs” over this summer... are not meaningless or coincidental, but rather are “training exercises” or “dry runs” for larger scenarios; they are, according to some, “research” meant to discover what can be accomplished quickly, how mobs are responded to, the efficacy of law enforcement and, finally, at what point a flash event can, by sheer numbers and the element of surprise, subdue and repress resistance, or warrant the deployment of National Guards.

Ask “to what purpose,” and the answer you get runs along the lines of “when the cities are in chaos in 2012, Obama will declare a national emergency, install martial law and suspend elections.”
OK, Anch, here's your chance to be a uniter and not a divider.
For all of President Obama’s complaints about having to deal with congress and “messy” democracy when it would be easier to just do what he wants, I am not worried about Obama installing himself as a dictator.
Well, TA, that's a pretty passive-aggressive way to put it, but at least it shows that you're not completely --
Nevertheless, I ran out to the store a little while ago and basically heard Rush Limbaugh suggesting that these riots in London are “what we have in store, that we are “on this path” and referencing the US flash mobs. Another sentiment I’m seeing expressed elsewhere

I can’t say it’s not possible. Who knows — by next year, if we’re dealing with another hot summer of high unemployment, hopelessness and electoral passions enraged — who knows? But if so, I hate to think the mobs are actually sort of trained and ready.
One half-hearted assurance that the President is probably not planning a mob-led coup d'etat vs. the repeated "suggestion being made" (or "expressed elsewhere") "according to some" that "runs along the lines of" BIG BLACK TAKEOVER! What does The Anchoress think? Questions Remain. [pushes in nose, pushes out lower lip, sticks out tongue]

This suggests Thee Anch would make a wonderful addition to the the old Ooga Booga brigades but alas, her hatred of Obama so overwhelms her that she can't stay on message -- from a later post:
Now, if you check Drudge, he’s featuring this picture, which I actually love, because it’s colorful, the kids are adorable, and the president looks relaxed and happy:

But the headlines blaring all around the picture? Black Caucus Tired of Making Excuses for Obama and Waters slams Bus Tour; “he’s not in any black community”.

You read the headlines, you look at the picture and eventually you realize, “oh yeah…those kids are all white.” Not a helpful juxtaposition of word and image, for the president.
So, Obama's problem is he's spending all his time with his fellow white people. Wait'll this gets back to the flash mobs -- they'll drop him like he's hot and march instead behind Allen West.

UPDATE. Maybe she's not the only one who's confused. I see Rush Limbaugh called Obama an Oreo. I remember when conservatives told us this was the worst thing you could say about a black guy. Considering it's one of their strong suits, isn't it amazing that they're actually fucking up at racism?

UPDATE 2. Leonard Pierce in comments: "When Obama does something that white people don't like, the right screams that he's the second coming of Eldridge Cleaver... When Obama does something that black people don't like, the right screams that he's a race traitor... He's all things to all racists!"

IN CONTRAST & WITH GRATITUDE. The wonderful comments received on the previous post about floating libertarian nations reminds me, for reasons I'll explain presently, of the comments to this Ann Althouse post, in which she tells her readers about an ad soliciting sexy intel on Rick Perry. Samples:
If it is going to be an issue for the left to use, then payback is fine for the left...

...Unless there's some sort of reason to believe that there's an issue (I'd accept it for Bill Clinton), what could they possibly prove that would be relevant?...

I have also wondered about Obama's former girlfriends. Obama met Michelle when he was 27. Really, not one former girlfriend to wax nostalgically about how dreamy Obama was in college or law school? Not one?...
Eventually someone informs the brethren that the ad was run by a Ron Paul supporter. It doesn't sink in for a long time ("Maybe Obama didn't have girlfriends. Don't ask, don't tell"). Eventually:
Libertarian types will be a much greater threat to any Republican frontrunner than any Liberal...

Every Ron Paul supporter I know personally is a flaming Leftist who loves him for being anti-war. Dummies, all...

...The douchenozzles try to dig up dirt on Perry and end up looking foolish, but being lefties, they never learn... Paultards in Texas tend to be liberals. Every one that I personally know (and I know quite a few) vote Democrat on every other slot on the ticket, knowing that Paul will never do anything that actually damages any Democrat...

Yes, Garage, Ron Paul supporters are liberals. As am I. Liberal in the real sense of the word meaning a lover of liberty (both come from the latin "liber") Or as too many call us today, "libertarians"...

Obama is scary skinny. He looks anorexic. Did you see his legs a few months back when someone snapped him in shorts. Might he have HIV or even AIDS?...
Ad nauseum. The Althouse comments provide several ripe examples of the sort of feebs, cranks, and mouthbreathers that colonize even the most popular blogs. Their domains are to the alicublog comboxes the Gathering of the Juggalos to the Algonquin Round Table.

Except at the fleeting apices of my mood-swings, I don't brag on myself much, but I will say that if there's anything about this blog that makes me proud, it's the company it keeps. Thanks, guys.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WHERE YOU WILL ALL BARE-KNUCKLE BOX UNTIL ONE OF YOU EMERGES AS KING OF YOUR FLOATING HELL! Here's another million-Ferengi-coin idea from the libertarians:
Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.

Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch--free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place.
"Creating Galt’s Gulch from Scratch?... great idea," says the Cato Institute. "It’s a Rawls-ian experiment in how newborn societies develop under a given set of political rules... it’s the greatest game of Sim City ever," gushes Allahpundit.

Kia asks the pertinent question, though: If a flotilla of pirates decides to attack this floating pipedream, to whom will the Glub Glub Galtians apply for relief? Try to imagine Nick Gillespie, epaulets pasted to the shoulders of his leather jacket, drawing up plans for a naval counterattack in the captain's quarters ("We'll hit them with a satirical broadside!" cries First Mate Matt Welch) while Bryan Caplan frantically works the radio, negotiating a last-minute mutual-defense treaty with the nearest statist hellhole ("And in return, if Indonesia is attacked, we'll send in so many senior editors and SEO consultants it'll make your head spin!").

Me, I can't wait for the first Jolly Rogers to encircle Freedonia, and for all the rational self-interest boys therein to start shooting their own dicks off, and for their galley slaves, who have been paid in sips of water and crusts of bread since they were purchased in Gabon (minimum wage? That's socialism!), to turn against their masters and separate them from whatever penises they have left.

UPDATE: "I've always wondered if it's possible for people who make a shit-ton of money in the real world to relocate to exclusive, private island communities and to live as though they are above the law," says Gin and Tacos. "This experiment should answer that question once and for all."

UPDATE 2. Early comments are very promising. "A bunch of Libertarians living in the middle of the ocean on a rig constructed without building codes? " asks Big Bad Bald Bastard. "Where do I donate?"

UPDATE 3. Have to applaud MR Bill and cleter, respectively, for these alternative names for Freedonia: Galt's Gulf and Sea-malia.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ANNALS OF THE CULTURE WAR. What are the conservative art critics up to? At First Things, here's Ethan Cordray on zombie movies:
But what if this fascination is about more than just gross-out gore and action thrills? What if it represents a subtle, subconscious understanding that something is wrong—spiritually wrong—with our culture.

Zombies represent the appetite divorced from everything else. They are incapable of judgment, self-awareness, or self-preservation... And they aren’t just hungry for anything—they specifically want to eat the living, and even more specifically the brain, seat of rationality and self control...

As we become more and more zombified, as our culture becomes ever more adept at amplifying our desires through advertising, pornography, and a media culture obsessed with gratifying every appetite, we can see the inevitable results of that process shambling along on their rotting legs...
I notice that kids these days are also going for vampire movies and TV shows. Vampires seem to be the opposite of zombies, at least behaviorally; they are very self-aware, and Lord knows they wish to preserve their eternal lives. And they're hungry for blood -- as Christians are for the blood of Christ! Doesn't this say something positive about our society?

I can play this game all day, but no rightwing think tank is paying me to play it.

UPDATE. All the comments have been lovely, but I liked Jay B imagining Cordray's interpretation of "squeeze my lemon till the juice runs down my leg": "What if this song isn't about citrus juice? What if it's about yearning and the consummation of the sexual act?" I would actually expect Cordray to find in it a condemnation of the sexual act, because that's what, as a good little theocon, he has been trained to find -- you know, the way Jonah Goldberg looks at the work of David Simon and finds it conservative because fart snort black people.

It's also fun when commenters pretend to play Cordray's game ("No, no, no. Zombies aren't collectivists. Zombies are the Galtian Superman. Consider: Each zombie works for itself, without concern for other zombies...").

Monday, August 15, 2011

SHORTER JAMES POULOS: Tim Pawlenty failed to win the Republican Presidential nomination because he wasn't crazy enough.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the causes of the English Riots as identified by rightbloggers: gun control and black people. (Obama makes a guest appearance courtesy of Stanley Kurtz.)

UPDATE. As the best people will tell you, alicublog is all about the commenters. "You are perhaps familiar with the song We Didn't Start the Fire (the Blacks Did)?" asks Jason. There is some discussion of What Would John Lydon Do -- germane, given nee Rotten's seeming endorsement of riots late last year. Scott thinks Lydon'd be on it, but mds demurs: "You could be wrong. But ... you could be right. The looters could be black. They could be white. What's important is that their anger was an energy."

Dan Coyle even quotes another frequent commenter, Leonard Pierce, to the effect that "guns aren't magic" -- a sentiment that would probably mystify the subjects of my Voice columns, and set them to flinging away their current weaponry ("These things don't work! We've been conned! Quick, sell 'em to the people who watch Glenn Beck") and pooling their resources for fighter jets and tanks, wherein the real magic lies.

Friday, August 12, 2011

THE NEW QUOTOMATIC SELECTOR ENTRY (see masthead) is from an amazing Witherspoon Institute essay by Jennifer S. Bryson called "Pornography and National Security." Arguing a connection between porn and terrorism, it is full of sensational pullquotes, e.g., "Likewise, pornography is not a sufficient cause for terrorism," and "As terrorism researchers Daniel Bynum and Christine Fair point out in an article about the modern terrorists we have been pursuing, especially since 9/11, the fact of the matter is that 'they get intimate with cows and donkeys...'" (Also, "is anyone in the U.S. government tracking and surveying the presence and types of pornography on these media?" If no one is, I count it another unintended consequence of puritanical legislation.)

But the important parts, relatively speaking, are a.) approving quotations of Andrea Dworkin and b.) this:
I do not know what link, if any, exists between terrorism and pornography, but I do think this question warrants attention.
I admit it; if I had put this quote at the top, instead of near the end, I could have saved a lot of people a lot of time. But not nearly as much time as Bryson could have saved.

KINKY. Glenn T. Stanton is upset because at last night's GOP debate Michele Bachmann was asked the impertinent question "As President, would you be submissive to your husband?" (referring to her loony beliefs) by the Communist infiltrator Byron York of National Review. "Submission is clearly not a one-way street," Stanton insists, because all good Christian men and women are switches -- he has Biblical proof!
In fact, in I Peter, the text under discussion, Peter tells all of us, men and women, to “submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him.”

A king is kind of like a president. So not only are all of us called to be submissive to others, but had Mr. York bothered to review the text he was questioning Bachmann on — seems like a reasonable thing to do — he would have found that the text actually calls on Mr. Bachmann, and all other believers, to submit to the authority of the president.
See? The President tops the mens, and the mens top the womens. (Excepting, of course, the current President because he's a black socialist.) So Mrs. Bachmann isn't really getting topped, because the once and future white President is giving the orders. He likes to watch, apparently.

While National Review interns try in vain to distract him with a eucharist, Stanton wades deeper in:
Yes, Michele would be called, under her faith, to submit herself to the leadership and protection of her husband in their marriage. And I trust she is quite happy to do so. But no, it does not mean he is her boss, but rather that he is to — and this is critically important to understand — obey God’s command to him for “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
That last sentence is a honey, isn't it? No, he doesn't rule her, because he is ruled by someone else who tells him to love her. Like Stanton has never seen or experienced a loving D/s relationship! If he hasn't, he should haunt the rectories for a couple of weeks and see what he sees.

The Jesus gibberish gets so thick Stanton must revert to The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel, Theological Edition -- namely C.S. Lewis. However successful Lewis was as a children's writer, I'm afraid the bit Stanton quotes doesn't help much:
The husband is head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the Church — read on — and give his life for her. This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be, but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion, whose wife receives most and gives least.
The snuff-porn component totally confuses me, but I think I saw a movie in Tijuana once where the wife received most and gave least, in terms of headship. Also I think it's something Dr. Mrs. Ole Perfesser's readers like to complain about.

The Republic hurtles down the chasm, and these morons debate the number of angels that can clusterfuck on the head of a pin.

UPDATE. Why York pulled this duty is suggested by the comments to a Right Scoop post on the rightwing columnist's "low-blow question":
Real tough guys [Chris] Wallace and York. They pee like puppies around Obama...

Establishment lib. Upper NY and Northeast. Sectioned off from the rest of us schlubs...

... Byron York has no clue about the teaching of submission in Ephesians...
Plus Rush Limbaugh is telling his listeners, "Now I guarantee you, I guarantee you that the favorite journalist of the mainstream media today is Byron York.” I predict that months from now, Bachmann's backers will still be snarling about that son of a bitch who asked her that question, and York will be saying, "Yeah, probably some son of a bitch elitist liberal!"
FROM THE LAMPPOSTS. At National Review, David French defends corporations that have succeeded by downsizing many employees and underpaying the rest:
Critics complain that corporations are “hoarding not hiring,” but ask yourself this: Wouldn’t you want to work for a corporation that has the cash reserves to not only weather economic storms but also invest in future products or innovation?
Not for $14,000 a year I wouldn't.
Decades of failed socialist experiments should have convinced us all that governments can’t hire nations into prosperity
Actually, during what French probably considers the most socialist of those decades, American workers could get blue-collar jobs that would feed and clothe their families and even elevate them into the middle class. Back then we called it the American Dream, but more recent, more Reaganesque and laissez-faire decades have taught many, many Americans to lose faith in it. Hence our race to the bottom, whereby citizens who once felt proud to live in a country where anyone might rise must content themselves to feel satisfied to live in a country where anyone might evade death by hunger or exposure.

French ends:
After all, rich people are people too.
Well, that's encouraging -- that means they might be made to feel fear, and reform.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ROD & THE SLUTS. I keep forgetting Rod Dreher is still churning it out, but close-watcher Ed Lederer won't let me forget. He directs me to this Dreher post at Real Clear Religion, on the topic of SlutWalks.

Still with me? Yeah, I know, it's almost too obvious what Dreher would make of these female empowerment events -- particularly when you consider that he once called a young woman a slut for displaying a tattoo on her wedding day. (When it was announced Bristol Palin would show up pregnant on her wedding day, of course, Dreher was pleased.)

After the obligatory caveat...
Nothing, and I mean nothing, justifies sexual assault. Not even a little bit.
...comes this:
And yet, these young women expect to present themselves in this hypereroticized sexual milieu in clothing designed to telegraph sexual availability, yet not face any threat of aggressive male sexual behavior? To call this bizarre and stupid is not to stand up for would-be rapists, but rather to recognize the world for what it is -- and, given nature, what it always will be, though we can discourage the worst behavior through law and custom.
In other words, nothing justifies rape, but wearing a halter top is (and will always be) an inducement to rape, and anyone who thinks differently is a hopeless idealist.
Anyone who suggested that a person ought to be able to walk through a slum wearing designer clothing and sporting a fat wallet without being set upon by thieves would be correct in theory -- mugging is a repugnant crime of violence -- but a fool in practice.
Hey, that's an interesting thought experiment. Let's recall what Dreher thought when a bunch of Jesus freaks went into the Castro to tell the homos they were going to hell, and received an unfriendly reception. Did Dreher tell the God-botherers, as he tells the SlutWalkers, that they were fools who should have known better? No, he flipped out: peaceful protester in this country should be subject to this threat... Watch this, and tell me these people [Update: by which I mean the enraged activist core, not all gays -- RD.] aren't going to come against churches full force once they have the civil rights laws on their side.
And these aren't even comparable provocations: Gay people muscling anti-gay preachers out of their neighborhood may not be Marquess of Queensberry, but it sure isn't rape. Yet Dreher's outraged by the former and meh about the latter.

There's plenty of patented Dreher nonsense in the thing -- for example, the Appeal to Camille Paglia (every conservative's favorite lesbian next to Jenna Jameson), and an anecdote from Dreher's youth about a common-sense salt-of-the-earth Southern lady who would certainly agree with Dreher about this subject if she could be summoned for an interview from Louisiana or Fantasyland or wherever she lives. But the key ingredient, as always, is middle-class self-pity -- Hussies Protest Rape, Dreher Family Hardest Hit:
It's a place that I will have to educate my sons and my daughter to navigate successfully, at a time in which there are few clear rules -- which increases the risk to them. Frankly, I don't know who will have a more difficult time making it through this bewildering postmodern maze with their faith, morals, and sense of dignity intact: my daughter or my sons.
Once the kids get you safely stashed in a home, Rod -- watch out, they may say they're taking you to a monastery -- they ought to be fine.
SERVICE ADVISORY. Since my return to New York in October, I've been obliged to move several times. But I'm not such a hummingbird as I may seem, and always expected to come to ground at some point for longer than awhile.

Now I have, in a suburb of Washington, DC. Though this suits my interest in national politics, and vanity tempts me to portray it as a career move, that wasn't the come-on at all. I came here to live with Kia. If you know her work, you can see why I would be interested; if you know her, you might see how I could fall in love with her. If you saw us together, you would understand everything pretty quickly.

Though the fact is not at present top of mind, I can't actually live on love, so if you have any job leads in DC please shoot me an email.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

SHORTER IAIN MURRAY: Britain's riots show that the place is full of lazy bums on welfare spending other people's hard-earned tax dollars on zoot suits and boom boxes. Also they have children out of wedlock. There, I've explained this in terms American wingnuts can understand.

UPDATE. Commenters say rude things about Margaret Thatcher. True, she disdained the very existence of "society," which term Murray comically invokes in his post, and championed the turbo-charged dog-eat-dog mentality Murray blames for the riots. But, he points out, she gave morals lectures while doing so, and these were the core of what Murray calls "social Thatcherism, whereby a free society recognized the importance of what once were called manners" (which project Murray laments the Iron Lady was "unable to finish," despite its great importance). Promoting rapacious, unchained capitalism while disdaining its predictable effects is an accepted form of conservative ass-covering throughout the Anglosphere.

As discovered by Matthew Yglesias and Judd Legum, National Review has become a clearinghouse for rightwing riot gibberish. I see Jack Dunphy has taken the opportunity to denounce police handling of the 1992 L.A. riots ("three days of rioting and destruction, most of which could have been averted had the LAPD taken a firmer line..."). Whoever thought conservatives would turn on the late LAPD Chief Daryl Gates? We live in an age of wonders. One of Dunphy's pet peeves is that cops protected firemen from mob attacks while looting was going on nearby; "Why, I wondered," says Dunphy, "didn’t they keep half those cops in place to protect the firefighters and have the other half cross the street to stop the looting?" "Jack Dunphy" is the nom de spume of an alleged LAPD officer who clearly longs for the top job, and it's too bad he didn't have it in '92; L.A. might still be burning.

Monday, August 08, 2011

OOGA BOOGA REDUX. As I've mentioned before, the hip thing among conservatives these days is to pretend that a black crime wave is sweeping America, and to blame Obama. Not only racist cut-and-paste trolls promote the theory -- rightbloggers have been doing their part, and now more classy-like conservatives seem to be getting on board.

Take Walter Russell Mead. Last month he contributed a laughable essay in which he described modern American cities as urban hellholes out of old Death Wish movies, a characterization even tourists wouldn't buy these days. Now he's gone fully native, and joined the Ooga Booga brigade:
For some time now, residents of some US cities have noted occasional incidents of seemingly random, racially motivated violence in which young Black males are involved. The hot weather and bad economy seem to be combining to generate a small but possibly significant uptick this year.
"Occasional incidents," "small but significant uptick" -- sounds confident, doesn't he? Crime in U.S. cities is at historically low levels, yet Mead repeats some of the black-on-white crime stories that have excited the goobers into a Little-Colonel-versus-Silas-Lynch state, and proceeds into deep political analysis -- nearly all of it absolutely ludicrous (Obama and Oprah are involved, and years after welfare became workfare Mead's still bitching about the Great Society), but I'll confine myself to this:
Some whites resent what they see as excessive privilege for Blacks reflected in affirmative action. Many believe that the federal government and the (largely white) upper middle class establishment wants to marginalize the traditional white majority in the US through a combination of deliberate immigration policy aimed at reducing white preponderance in the population and by favoring immigrants and non-whites for education and employment.

For people who feel this way, the reluctance of the mainstream media to cover racial flash mobs is sinister and disturbing.
First, the "reluctance of the mainstream media to cover racial flash mobs" is rich, since Mead's citations are from the mainstream media -- in fact, one of his sources mentions that "my BlackBerry started blowing up with news about what happened Thursday night at the Wisconsin State Fair." Anyone who bothers to look will see that those incidents have been very well covered. I realize these guys have been yapping about liberal/Negro media bias for decades, but I'm still a little surprised when they ignore evidence that appears in their own screeds. I am too childish-foolish for this world.

Second, who are these folks who believe in this media bias, and "resent what they see as excessive privilege for Blacks reflected in affirmative action"? In a word, racists. They actually think African-Americans, whose poverty levels and other social indicators reveal them to have things much harder than white Americans, are getting away with something. This is a rejection of objective fact to support a racially-obsessed idea of how society is rigged against them -- which is pretty much the definition of racism.

And there's no earthly reason to take the fantasies of such people seriously, unless you're a rightwing tool hoping to gin up a lot of race hatred in time for the next Presidential election.

I hate to be rude about it, but I'm sick of these fucking peckerwoods doing old Lester Maddox routines and thinking no one will notice because their jackets have patched elbows and they're gesturing with a briar pipe. That goes for Glenn Reynolds and the rest of those high-end bottom-feeders who peddle this swill. Let them fuck off to their own survivalist compound instead of trying to turn the whole country into one.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the S&P downgrade. Among the rightbloggers, the downgrade appears to be a terrible thing when mentioned in a paragraph including the word "Obama," but otherwise it's no big deal; in fact it can even be a positive good, so long as the author believes it may convince people to give up their Social Security in hopes that their neo-feudal overlords will give them a shed to lie in when they are too broken by work to move.

I don't think I'm being optimistic when I say that this probably won't go over with your average citizen, who may be tumbling to the fact that his alleged GOP saviors are in the thrall of a bunch of nuts who would kill him or anyone else in furtherance of their dogma. But it may not matter what he, you, or I think; the Villagers want full-on austerity, and probably believe that if the tea party people are a little dèclassè, at least their heartlessness is in the right place.

UPDATE. In the spirit of Shared Sacrifice, commenter EndoftheWorld asks, "Could you imaging the uproar we started seeing serious cuts in the sanctimonious blowhard industry? I mean, do we need a Cokie Roberts AND a Peggy Noonan? And paying a mexican child to cut and paste from AEI position papers has to be cheaper than keeping Krauthammer around." Well, now you're just talking crazy. If it weren't for the promise of such sinecures, young Republican weasels might avoid the think tanks and talk shops altogether, and take jobs as corporate lawyers or confidence men. Then America might lose its leadership position in the global bullshit market. We'd be lost!

While I am normally in perfect sync with Halloween Jack, I can't completely agree that this column represents "Megan McArdle... forced into a sudden attack of sanity." McArdle does see that the GOP shake-yer-foundations approach has been bad for the weakened economy, but then she has to spoil it by saying the Democrats are just as bad because... they blocked the elevation of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987. This absurd example of on-the-other-handism has been well-treated elsewhere, but it always bears repeating that Bork is a dangerous lunatic and if he were on the Court with the current crop of nuts, rightwing activists would no doubt have found a way to reverse Virginia v. Loving by now. For blocking him, the Dems of '87 don't deserve tongue-lashings about "borking" -- they deserve statues hard by the Jefferson Memorial and fresh flowers every morning.

UPDATE 2. If you want a quick refresher on Republican seriousness about deficits, I recommend Steve Benen's. Contra Verbal Kint, this may be the greatest trick the devil ever pulled.

Friday, August 05, 2011

WINGNUT WELFARE NOT MEANS-TESTED. At National Review, Conrad Black:
From my most recent NRO article, on a couple of stars in the conservative firmament: “There is nothing like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham in other countries, nor much like them in this one. The packaging is leggy women with bright teeth and eyes and lots of blond hair, and they are charming, though not demure. The message is God, Christ, learning, and country. They are outstanding bearers of that timeless message that has reprehensibly few public champions, certainly not including the incumbent president.”
Given that this is what Black chooses to represent his article, you can imagine how awful the rest of it is.

That reminds me, though -- why is this press lord and con man writing for National Review? He certainly doesn't need the money, and since his talent, such as it is, seems to be for propaganda rather than anything soul-sustaining, I can hardly believe he does it for love. I mean, Chuck Norris I can understand...

My best guess is the NR editors got tired of his constant emailed "suggestions" and let him fill a page every so often just to keep him out of their hair. Either that, or he pays them.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


...namely, fuck things up and then blame the black guy. Not that the black guy doesn't deserve blame, too, but I doubt things will be improved by President Rick Perry, who will upon inauguration give the last $32.98 in the Treasury to Thurston Howell III and ask America to pray for money.

I'm thinking of changing the name of this blog to "What -- Me, Weimar?"

UPDATE. Victor Davis "Buster" JoHanson looks at the stock tumble and sees, instead of the predictable result of a botched budget bill, this:
Only a private sector confident that of long-term government predictability and encouraged by a national culture that applauds manufacturing, energy and food production, and private health initiatives and reform can see us of this mess.
Pure lickspittle poetry, this. "Applauds manufacturing!" Our national culture is more accustomed to wave good-bye to manufacturing, and the jobs that go with it, as they are off-shored to increase the wealth of the "private sector" (which in Hanson's imagination comprises the rich sociopaths speeding us unto neo-feudalism and himself, their loyal gentleman farmer friend). I don't see how we could make such people any more "confident" without building them statues and renaming America Pottersville.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS ALINSKY. Eventually we may expect to hear conservatives who are convinced Barack Obama is a socialist explain why, if he's such a share-the-wealth type, he signed a Republican-driven budget bill with large spending cuts and no rollback of the Bush tax cuts. How does Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical-In-Chief, react?
Here’s my take on the puzzle of Obama’s leadership style. Obama is still every inch the Alinskyite organizer. He talks about uniting, even as he deliberately polarizes. He moves incrementally toward radical left goals, but never owns up to his ideology. Instead, he tries to work indirectly, by way of the constituencies he seeks to manipulate.
After this you may expect Kurtz to either a.) explain how, in the situation just concluded, Obama was a more polarizing force than the Republicans who used the debt ceiling to force a crisis, and how his capitulation to them manipulates constituencies to realize a radical-left goal; or b.) ignore what just happened and go on as if Obama had seized the steel mills.

You will be unsurprised to learn he goes with b. What makes this especially weird is that Kurtz previously addressed the debt ceiling crisis. On July 18 Kurtz favorably reviewed Spengler's take in the Asia Times:
In today’s piece, Spengler adds some new thoughts on [Radical-in-Chief], highlighting Obama’s pragmatic reasons for passing over the opportunity to nationalize the banks in 2009, and noting how the president could use a debt ceiling crisis to advance his preferred practice of gaining de facto, rather than formal, government control over the private economy...

Spengler’s inside knowledge of America’s banking system puts him in a strong position to game out what we may soon be facing. Agree with his position on the McConnell plan or not, best read his scenario now before perhaps facing it, or something like it, unprepared.
Spengler's scenario was that Obama would force a default, then "declare an emergency, summon bankers to Washington for crisis-management sessions, slash every form of spending except for coupon payments on Treasuries" and "perhaps even [demand] the right to dictate that banks make loans to the Democrats' pet projects in the name of job-creation..."

To put it mildly, that didn't happen. Back to the present post: While others offer more plausible explanations as to why Obama caved, Kurtz stubbornly sticks to his dogma:
Obama is a bad negotiator because Alinskyite’s don’t negotiate, they intentionally polarize. As for their own groups, here they try to placate all factions and hide their own goals. That about describes Obama’s performance on the debt deal, which included a dollop of both of these stances.
In other words, Obama gave in to the Republicans, instead of sowing chaos and seizing power as predicted, because he's an Alinskyite. They're tricky that way! And that also explains why all his fellow socialists are mad at him -- they don't get his Alinskyitism like Kurtz does:
The left yearns for Obama to take on the Tea Party in an overt ideological battle. But that is exactly the sort of thing Alinskyite organizers are forbidden to do. Bromwich asks why Obama has steadfastly refused to recognize the existence of the Tea Party. The answer is Saul Alinsky.
For Kurtz, I suspect, the answer is always Saul Alinsky. Obama invades Libya? Alinsky! Slow to support gay marriage? Alinsky! The lefty things he does are Alinsky, and the seemingly neutral or conservative things he does are also Alinsky. Why? Because he's an Alinskyite. QED.

"No true Scotsman" has got nothing on "All true Alinskyites."

UPDATE. Commenters are impetuous, Homeric. Some incline toward literary parody, like TKK ("As usual, the face of Saul Alinsky, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience..."). Others use clever inversions, like wjts ("'Leading from behind' is classic Illuminati strategy... Weishaupt used to literally lead from behind, by stage-managing his group’s protests from the back of the room..."). Some go for plain mockery, like kia ("a double Kung Fu master of of Alyinskyology, the go-to guy, the terrier that always finds a rat or at least a picture of a rat or OK fine not even a picture of a rat a dried dog turd with whiskers stuck in it and raisins for eyes..."). But aha! Those are all Alinskyite stratagems, and reveal the commenters' true agenda! Well, this is just a little Lincoln Park and you're all Saul Alinsky hypocrites. The conservative deconstruction squad is not fooled!

UPDATE 2. For some reason this reminds me of the bits in John Ford's The Whole Town's Talking where Jean Arthur, hauled in by the cops to ID poor Arthur Jones (Edward G. Robinson) as Killer Mannion, decides to play tough and attributes a number of jobs she knows nothing about to Mannion. That part starts at 7:20 and ends at 8:40, with a lot of funny business in between. I encourage you to watch the whole clip just to steep in early Ford. What a grand director he was, even outside his milieu.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

BOO FUCKING HOO. You can tell what Jonah Goldberg has to say is important because he begins with this --
...Look, I am past exhausted talking about liberal media bias. It’s real, we all know it, and people who deny it aren’t even fooling themselves. But some things just have to be pointed out. This morning I watched the first 15 minutes of the Today Show. I don’t particularly love or even like the program, but I find it useful to see what the producers think is the big news of the day. And sometimes Chuck Todd is on, and I like him. If I sound defensive about watching the show it’s only because I am.
It's the rhetorical equivalent of dancing outside a locked men's-room door. Obviously Goldberg has to get something off his chest besides crumbs from his second breakfast. So what is it?
Anyway, the first ten minutes was about Gabby Giffords’ return to the House yesterday. I’m not sure it merited the full ten minutes or trumped the hard news that later followed, but it’s a great story and everyone is rooting for the lady, so I’m fine with it.
Generous of him, isn't it?
But think about this for a second. The Giffords shooting sent the media elite in this country into a bout of St. Vitus’s dance that would have warranted an army of exorcists in previous ages. Sarah Palin’s Facebook map...
Oh, that again -- the never-ending "blood-libel" sob story that liberals made everyone think Sarah Palin shot Giffords. It's all people ever talk about! So what's the problem now? Is covering Giffords' return somehow disrespectful to the sufferings of rightwing slander victims?

In brief: People are saying mean things about the Tea Party, which is blood-libel-plus. Also:
Then last night, on the very day Gabby Giffords heroically returns to cast her first vote since that tragic attack seven months ago, the vice president of the United States calls the Republican party a bunch of terrorists.
Joe Biden! I'm surprised he took time off from posing for the marble bust they're making of him at the National Press Club to give a statement.
No one cares. I hate the “if this were Bush” game so we’re in luck. Instead imagine if this was Dick Cheney calling the Progressive Caucus (or whatever they’re called)...
To get the gist of the rest, find an old rubber doll, fill it with Cheez-Whiz, punch holes in the eyes and butt, and squeeze it. Jesus Christ. These guys just won a huge victory in Congress, and Goldberg's blubbering that someone spoke unkindly of them on TV. I'm beginning to think "liberal media" is the conservative adult equivalent of "mommy."

UPDATE. Several commenters rush to point out that this is, in fact, the author of Liberal Fascism lecturing other people on civility. But if we start getting into Goldberg's credentials as a buffoon we'll be here all night.
ANNALS OF THE CULTURE WARS, SMURF EDITION. Okay, Kulturkampfers, what are you on about this time? Sesame Street? The Easter Parade? Law & Order: Criminal Intent? Nope -- communist Smurfs, apparently:
As Papa Smurf and friends re-enter the cultural atmosphere, there’s no dodging the question: Are the Smurfs now, or they have ever been … communist?...

“They have a dictatorlike leader, and they all have defined roles,” said editor Curtis Silver, who wrote about the psychology of the Smurfs for Wired magazine’s website. “When it comes to their day-to-day life, they’re like a Communistic group.”
Please don't tell them about the matriarchal syndicalist cell known as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Now, consider life in the Smurfs’ village: Residents live in identical mushroom houses. Everyone dresses alike. They sing the same group song, over and over. They have no apparent deity.
Washington Times reporter Patrick Hruby's 1,279-word (!) article is inspired in part by a pre-existing silly debate among French intellectuals, and he does include a few voices of sanity and a cheeky conclusion. Also it smells of ripe link-bait. So maybe it's meant as a mere bagatelle.

But in the current conservative environment, even nonsense will serve to stuff the cannon. Nancy French at National Review:
Hollywood’s newest offering is a film version of the iconic 1980s television show, which ran for nine years on NBC. The little blue guys — and one girl! — are back.

And guess what? They are no longer Commu-Smurfs.

You didn’t have to be Joseph McCarthy to see the red undertones of the blue Smurf society...
She goes on like that, observably tickled -- but, one realizes with horror, it's not the very idea than anyone would be crazy enough to take this guff seriously that tickles her; no, French seems genuinely pleased that the Smurfs have been reeducated: "If the 1980s cartoon was some hidden message about how communism beats capitalism each and every episode, then this movie’s philosophical shift is a very welcome change in deed."

(Consonant with French's previous deep thoughts on feminism, illegitimate children, and premarital sex, she also offers this: "Though it’s wonderful she expressed more of her personality, beware that the Katie Perry-voiced Smurf does utter the sentence, 'I kissed a Smurf and I liked it.'" Though cartoon communism has been purged, can we accept this implicit comfort with lesbianism as a trade-off? Find out in French's next column!)

John Hawkins at Right Wing News at first seems relatively sane on the subject:
In the Smurfs’ case, sure, they should probably have Smurfberry famines caused by Papa Smurf’s meddling and Smurfs locked up in prison for speaking out against the government, but since when have cartoons ever been accurate? All in all, the show has a good message, its been around forever, and there haven’t been any waves of kids basing their economic beliefs on the Smurfs, so I think parents are safe to let their kids watch.
But then it hits you: wait a minute -- we're actually having a conversation about whether or not the Smurfs' obvious communist content is acceptable for children. Just because the author decides that, on balance, it's okay (though I suppose some concerned parents will arrange a Very Special Talk with their astonished kids afterward) doesn't mean the premise isn't batshit.

As a middle-aged American I'm sadly accustomed to seeing the ridiculous turn into the acceptable, but the mainstreaming process seems to be going much faster now. I've known for a while that some people will believe anything, but I worry that events will force me to the conclusion that some folks have a vested interest not only in the specific lunacies they disseminate, but in the destruction of reason itself.

UPDATE. Comments are as usual choice, but o'ercrowned today by mortimer's: "Hayek warned about all this in The Road to Smurfdom."