Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN: Charles Murray and David Brooks:
I’ll be shocked if there’s another book this year as important as Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart.”
And it's important because it explains why the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor has nothing to do with capitalism.
It’s wrong to describe an America in which the salt of the earth common people are preyed upon by this or that nefarious elite. It’s wrong to tell the familiar underdog morality tale in which the problems of the masses are caused by the elites.
The "familiar underdog morality tale" that the rich get over on the poor every chance they get is not, as Bobo portrays it, an old wives' tale like "cats steal babies' breath"; it is human reality; it has been for centuries, it's in full effect now, and everyone knows it. That's why guys like Murray have to keep coming up with new loads of bullshit to dump on it.

Brooks of course is in the reality-denying business. But he has to be careful -- while Murray's premise that poor people don't work because they're too busy aping liberal morals is good enough for the doofuses who read the conservative press, the Times crowd wants its bullshit with a little less roughage. Here's how that load comes out of Bobo's fudge factory:
Members of the lower tribe work hard and dream big, but are more removed from traditional bourgeois norms. They live in disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods in which it is much harder to be self-disciplined and productive.
Disorganized postmodern neighborhoods! So they can't make it to the employment office because the layout is confusing and someone deconstructed all the street signs? Or is it that they're so spellbound by all the Kathy Acker novels in the shop windows, they can't commence to a-entrepreneurin'? 

All that's left now, besides the inevitable endless seminars by libertarian dorks, is for the first bullshit liberal to take up Murrayism. Say, what's Joe Klein up to these days?

Monday, January 30, 2012

CHILDS' PLAY. At first I wasn't sure about Kermit's and Miss Piggy's press conference, in which they gave Fox Business' Eric Bolling a hard time for accusing them of communism:
While publicizing the upcoming U.K. release of the movie, Kermit responded, “If we had a problem with oil companies, why would we have spend the entire film driving around in a gas-guzzling Rolls-Royce?”

“It’s almost as laughable as accusing Fox News of being news,” Miss Piggy added.
In general, I prefer that my pop culture crap be left out of the dismal swamp of politics. In years to come, I don't want to see a noble biopic about Kermit's brave stand against McCarthyism, which took its toll and left him dead of an overdose on the toilet. (Wait, actually that would be awesome.)

On the other hand, it's hard to resist the rare and pleasurable spectacle of celebrities refusing to take Fox seriously. They act like it's no big thing to hit back at the people who had attacked them. Admittedly, as Muppets, they have a considerable power base; on the other hand, they are made out of felt and plastic. Also they presumably plan to keep making movies, and you can imagine how Murdoch will treat their product when next it emerges.

They show more guts, in other words, than most people in media.

But the thing I like most about it is John Nolte's sulky reaction at Big Hollywood:
As a response, and nearly a week after the segment aired, the Fox-hating entertainment media (which is all of them) viralized the clip, blew the controversy up into something it really wasn’t, and did so because they find it impossible to turn down an opportunity to prove they’re one of the minions in the club.

What effectively happened, though, is a week-old Fox Business segment was consequently amplified into the news narrative...
Week-old, huh? Let's take a trip down memory lane to Big Hollywood's 2009 attack on Oscar the Grouch, written by Larry O'Connor:
Last week, in a re-broadcast of an episode that originally aired two years ago...
Nolte reminds us that the Muppet movie "didn’t do anywhere near as well at the box office as some had expected and hoped," and predicts that the press conference clip "probably will go viral, and as a result this once universally-beloved brand will no longer be loved quite so universally." But, perhaps sensing that he looks like an ass trying even feebly to fight back against Muppets,  Nolte adds that the contretemps "wasn’t the fault of the Muppets. That was the immature, clubby entertainment media." Nothing personal, Kermy baby, call me!

Now I'm psyched for Yo Gabba Gabba! to do something about global warming.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP about the Alinsky craze that sweeping the nation, and how the rightbloggers have started accusing Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and each other of double secret Alinsky.

Something I couldn't find a place for is the wonderful outrage expressed by Monica Crowley that Alinsky dedicated his big book to Lucifer -- the sort of literary trope that Crowley was born to misapprehend. But Pat Dollard goes her one better in "Saul Alinsky: A Role Model For Left-Wing Satanists," a hallucinogenic essay decorated with pictures of Hell:
I’m not sure whether Alinsky really was a Satanist/Luciferian of some sort or whether he was just joking. He may well have been just joking. The man certainly did have a sense of humor...

Be that as it may, he’s an excellent role model for politically left-leaning Satanists, whether theistic or symbolic. (When I say “role model” I mean only in a very general sense, not one to be followed slavishly.) Certainly he can be said to have manifested his true will. And he espoused a lot of values that are familiar to today’s Satanists, such as his emphasis on power, self-interest, creativity, and practicality.
Creativity and practicality! So if you're trying to make it in show biz but work nights and save your money, you're about as SatanAlinsky as it gets. Find yourself a tenure track position ASAP!

For extra credit, explain to me what Godlstein is trying to say here. So far, to me, it sounds like It's not Alinsky if you cross your fingers, but with bigger words, and a steady background noise of pants-rubbing and shirt-retucking.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I'M A LONER, DOTTIE, A REBEL. Obama's snoozy SOTU address contained this bit about the military:
At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within our reach.
Seems like a generic sort of rah-rah teamwork thing to me. But to Jonah Goldberg it's worse than Hitler:
That is disgusting.

What Obama is saying, quite plainly, is that America would be better off if it wasn’t America any longer. He’s making the case not for American exceptionalism, but for Spartan exceptionalism.

It’s far worse than anything George W. Bush, the supposed warmonger, ever said. Bush, the alleged fascist, didn’t want to militarize our free country; he tried to use our military to make militarized countries free.
Instead of killing scores of innocent Iraqis, Obama wants Americans to work together on the country's welfare. That's Librul Fascism! Also welfare!

Goldberg's not a joiner, I guess. Remember what he said when he actually had the chance to help George W. Bush "use our military to make militarized countries free"?  "I'm 35 years old, my family couldn't afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter..." That's one of the great things about being Goldberg's kind of freedom fighter -- you never have to do any actual fighting.

(I expect he's always been like this. Can't you see him getting out of gym in high school on anti-collectivist grounds? "But mom, they told me to be in a relay race just when I really needed to go get a triple chili dog. So I said I swear by my life and my love of it Farrrt.")

Thursday, January 26, 2012

CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS. Charles Murray, best known for his book Niggers are Stupid (sorry, The Bell Curve), has a new one out called Kinder, Küche, Kirche 2.0 (sorry, Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010). We saw last week his promotional essay at the Wall Street Journal, which posited an America desperately class-riven but insisted it had nothing to do with money, and prescribed that upper-middle-class people show a good example and a constant wagging finger to their lower-class brethren, who had fallen into the unfortunate habit of making illicit babies and such like.

Well, Murray's been making the rounds, as has a quiz from his book which is supposed to tell you "How Thick Is Your Bubble" -- that is, how isolated you are from the real down-home white America that Murray thinks needs redemption. Among the questions: "Have you ever had a close friend who was an evangelical Christian?" "How many times in the last year have you eaten at one of the following restaurant chains? Applebee’s, Waffle House," etc., and "Have you ever watched an Oprah, Dr. Phil, or Judge Judy show all the way through?"

Nonetheless I scored 63, as many of the questions had to do with low birth, manual labor, cheap beer, and stupid shit on TV and at the multiplexes, notwithstanding that I have become over the years a hoity-toity scribbler.  But so what? Murray explains:
To my knowledge, sociologists haven’t gotten around to asking upper-middle-class Americans how much they know about their fellow citizens, so once again I must ask you to serve as a source of evidence by comparing your own experience to my generalizations. This time, I have a twenty-five-question quiz for you to take.

I hope it will serve two purposes: first, to calibrate the extent of your own ignorance (if any); second, to give you a framework for thinking about the ignorance that may be common in your professional or personal circles, even if it doesn’t apply to you.
Even if it doesn't apply to me? This sounds like an invitation to consider myself possessed of special knowledge, and thus prepared for the lower-class reclamation work Murray has in mind. But this wisdom might also prepare me to exploit the shit out of my former class-comrades by appealing to their tastes and prejudices with an ad campaign or a political candidacy or some other such wallet-extracting device. Richard Nixon and Jimmy Swaggart would have scored very high on this test.

Which is really what I think he's after. He and his adherents aren't interested in saving America, but in saving themselves.

Conservatives are convinced, and always trying to convince others, that liberals are all sissies who have soft hands and never drink Bud, and thus are Out of Step with America. Thus liberals are presumed to be ignorant of, and to despise, real Americans; and when Obama tries to spread a little of the nation's wealth among them, it cannot be to help them at a time of great need, because he's not one of them (and why, a conservative would reason, would anyone help anyone who was not of their kind?), and so must be due to his Kenyan anti-colonial socialist whatchamacallit.

It must have occurred to some conservatives, though, that they themselves don't have the common touch -- right now they're fighting over whether to nominate a rich asset-stripper or a college professor/lobbyist for the Presidency. And they don't think it has anything to do with their ruinous policies, which seem designed to make life harder for the working people they're hoping to woo. So they're interested in this test, and trying to figure how to ace it by using Murray's Cliff Notes. (I can imagine David Brooks crying, O I've got this, I've been to Applebee's! For a general consulting fee I will take part in this project!) They think if they can get the Branson and Budweiser thing down, they can go among the rabble and not get laughed off the earth.

I look forward to seeing them try. Come on, Mitt, tell them how much you enjoyed Little Fockers.

UPDATE. In comments, Batocchio is reminded of the "You might be a redneck" routine. (You knew it was by Jeff Foxworthy? 2 points!)

professor fate wants to know why Murray didn't ask about porn. Well, you must consider his audience, which is not actual lower-middle-class people but joy-popping nerdcons who want to hear about a cleaned-up Real America -- "Leave It to Beaver," not Wisconsin Death Trip, or even Winter's Bone. Imagine though if he'd taken the thing more seriously:

- Have you ever done meth? Maximum of 7 points. 3 points if you've ever done it, and 1 point for each tooth lost as a consequence up to 4. (No points if you took it at a gay orgy and called it Tina.)

- Have you ever had your credit card refused by the Home Shopping Network? 5 points.

- Are you still paying interest on a rear-projection TV you dumped in the woods last year? 3 points.

Etc. Comments are a joy in general. "'Have you ever had a job that caused something to hurt at the end of the day?' Yes. (sniffle) My heart," says Spaghetti Lee. "I've taken Cosmopolitan quizzes that were more scientific," says DocAmazing. "I got 60 (I know and have eaten at all the restaurants, but I'm on a diet)," says redoubt. "What's unusual about this? I'm African-American." No points for you, redoubt -- this test's restricted!

UPDATE 2. Har, Tbogg: "I took The Bubble Challenge and, well... 21. It would appear that I am Cornel West." This is despite his working-class bona fides, which Murray's finely-tuned calculus somehow missed. Also scoring low on the test, the insufferable Ilya Somin:
I managed a middling 37 on his 0–99 point scale. As Murray recognizes, one can easily quibble about the details of many of the questions. For example, I not only have “attended” a Rotary Club meeting, but actually gave a speech at one when I was 17. Maybe I should get extra credit for the latter.
I should think they'd take points off. "Here's Ilya from Little Libertarians, he's going to tell us why he wears a suit and tie to gym class."
I would also have achieved a higher score if there were more sports-related questions.
I expect all the pointy-heads will start asking for Bubble Test Affirmative Action. "No, I don't know any Skynyrd, but I know I'm supposed to like Drive-By Truckers." "No, I didn't participate in sports, but I used to pretend to be Tom Landry when I was yelling at the gardener."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

STATE OF THE UNION. I think I get it: Obama knows nobody except DC nerds cares about this stuff, so he's going Hi NRG and throwing a baffling cloud of programs to get over. By the time analysts have sorted them out, everyone will be on to the next celebrity breakup or funny animal video.

Good for him, and for them. I get sicker every year of the thudding Kabuki, and the bizarre sound that makes the applause sound like ball bearings being poured into a dumpster.

At this point (9:36 pm) I most admire the Lock Them In School Till They're 18 Act, which is clearly designed to get Republicans to loudly insist on their Constitutional right to drop out of high school. Well played, Black Hitler!

Oh, it's also cool that he's getting the Navy to buy enough windmills to power three million homes. It's Swabby Capitalism!

UPDATE. Is this thing still on, or is this a Red Tails promo? Well, I suppose a Democratic President has to lay on the military references. And it was nice of him to wake up Joe Lieberman with the prospect of war with Iran.

I'm not gonna enjoy these things until with they come with the sounds of rapidly approaching tumbrels.

COME BACK NEXT WEEK FOR OUR LATINO OUTREACH!  As I've said before, I don't like to trawl comments sections, but sometimes it's too instructive to pass up.

Walter Russell Mead has an article called "Black Women Lead Shift To A Post-Blue World." As it's mainly about how black women are getting jobs -- "as increasing numbers of Black women enter the professional world, they are beginning to close the the earnings gap between themselves and their white peers" -- you might wonder where he was getting the "Post-Blue" thing. This seems to be the extent of it:
And the good news goes beyond the monetary: the [Washington Post] survey finds Black women to be more ambitious, more religious, and more optimistic about their future than many other groups, with a strong understanding of the value of hard work and achievement.

Condoleezza Rice, in other words, is not alone.
She's a Republican, see. (Unmentioned is this part of the Post story: "Half of black women surveyed call racism a 'big problem' in the country; nearly half worry about being discriminated against.")

Ole Perfesser Instapundit gets excited: "I wonder if their political views will evolve in response to this new entrepreneurialism?"

Well, you know what won't help? Mead's comments section:
Of course Black Woman are becoming entrepreneurs in greater numbers. The Govt has been picking winners and losers for a few decades now and Black Woman are at the top of their list... When a Govt takes from me to give a certain groups it deems “special” privileges that others do not get it’s called tyranny...

“Black women are setting up as entrepreneurs” — or as Affirmative Action gooberment or Big Corp. employees?...

They are essentially fronts for the men who know how to do the actual work...

I’d be ambitious and optimistic as well if the government was stacking the deck in my favor in the form of quotas and set-asides...

It is comic to hear you claim this is the result of “hard work and achievement”. It is anything but these. What silliness. Next you will be calling Obama competent...

To be sure, the fact that “…more and more Black women are setting up as entrepreneurs.” Is not good news overall.

Why does WRM capitalize “Black” while down-casing “white” when referring to the races? I thought we were striving for equality.
These aren't the fringe of Mead's comments -- they're the overwhelming majority. But what did you expect? They're the same people Mead cultivated with his Ooga Booga bullshit, and now they're understandably pissed that their hero said something nice about black women.

If only he could have tipped them off ahead of time that he was only doing it for propaganda purposes! Then we could have had a comments section full of "nudge nudge wink wink" and "Don't worry, Mead, I'm not gonna say that stuff I was gonna say about how they're all lazy." Well, maybe next time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

MORAL SUPERIORITY COMPLEX. Megan McArdle, talking about a drug that prolongs melanoma sufferers lives but (possibly) only for a matter of months, suddenly grabs the banged-up doll with  STOOPID LIBRUL written on its chest and denounces its terrible attitude:
I think the central difference between me, and the people who think that IPAB's reimbursement-rate powers will be a big help in controlling health care costs, is that the latter group tends to think that a lot of expensive health care problems are like back surgery--something that doesn't do any good, but gets done anyway, because of desperate patients and arrogant/ignorant/greedy surgeons.
It's a good thing doctors aren't unionized or McArdle would be calling for a federal investigation.
I tend to think that more of the questions are like this one. Is spending $50,000 to give a pancreatic cancer patient an extra 5-9 months of life a wasted expenditure, or a medical advance? On the one hand, 5-9 months isn't very long. On the other hand, for a typical pancreatic cancer patient, you've doubled their lifespan, which seems like a very long time indeed.

If we get better cancer treatments--
[Here she rolls her eyes at the doll]
which is what everyone says they want--
[Cap'n Happy and Mr. & Mrs. Bear look at each other and nod]
we're probably going to be asking those questions a lot. And either way, we aren't going to like the answer.
Oh, won't we?  Once the Right Sort return to power and America gets its own austerity program, I expect the proper solution --  getting Big Gummint out of the healthcare business and letting those patients who can't afford the treatment die, as nature intended -- will become obvious. But unlike the liberals, who pretend they want better cancer treatments but really just want death panels, the Responsible People will not be to blame, because poor people getting the shaft is just economics, which is nobody's fault.

UPDATE. Commenter Mr. Wonderful gets to the point better than I do:
Megan's "let's face it"s invoke what she assumes we all grant are universal facts about human nature. She'll say, in effect, "let's face it, liberal parents want their kids to be able to get into good private schools, no matter what they say about public education."

But even when there is a grain (or more) of truth to what she says, once you invoke similar common knowledge (e.g., "let's face it: capitalism selects for the greedy, and human greed is a pan-historical and universal vice, so it should be controlled via rules and legislation"), she gets all libertarian...
It's a reliable theme in her writing. Liberals have all kinds of cuh-razy ideas, so let's forget it and go back to the  reliable old-world wisdom of the American Enterprise Institute.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about Newt Gingrich's victory in South Carolina, which rightbloggers generally see as good training for Mitt Romney, who must take on some of the Gingrich magic in order to win the nomination and the Presidency. Surprisingly no one advised him to dump his wife, but some of them think he should be more of an asshole, which would be a neat trick.

At Hot Air Tina Korbe makes an unusual appeal:
It’s insulting to voters’ intelligence when these men claim to approach political problems as one unfamiliar with the behind-the-scenes realities of politics would. At the same time, though, it’s a mystery to me why none of them can find a way to turn their “insider” status to their own advantage. Yes, the nation has been in an anti-incumbent mood since at least 2008 and wary of political “insiders” who look to their own advantage ahead of the good of the American people, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want our representatives in Washington to possess the strategic savvy to thwart unwanted legislation and advance desired legislation...
Great idea. They should start touring the country with George W. Bush, Hank Paulson, and Dennis Hastert.

UPDATE. I gotta say, one of the fringe benefits of this gibberish is that it has Jim Hoft calling Ann Coulter an "elitist." Feed, cannibals, feed!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

THE NAGGY STATE.  Shorter Charles Murray: Richer Americans can best help poorer Americans by lecturing them.

No, really:
The best thing that the new upper class can do to provide that reinforcement is to drop its condescending "nonjudgmentalism." Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn't hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices.
Well, Murray's doing his part! The rest of you better man up in the nagging department.

This is his solution to income inequality -- which even Murray acknowledges exists between the "upper-middle class" and the "working class" (where are the lower- and middle-middle classes in this, I wonder?). You non-W.H. Brady Scholars may think it has something to do with inequality of opportunity. You're way off, Murray says; these days lower-class men choose to work less, out of perversity or something (oh, I forgot -- the Sixties™, they ruined everything).
It's not that white working class males can no longer make a "family wage" that enables them to marry. The average male employed in a working-class occupation earned as much in 2010 as he did in 1960.
It's not like prices haven't gone up since 1960, making "earned as much" a joke.
It's not that a bad job market led discouraged men to drop out of the labor force. Labor-force dropout increased just as fast during the boom years of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s as it did during bad years.
Booms don't boom equally for everyone. Murray notices that upper-middle-class workers have seen their incomes rise at a higher rate than the lower-class workers', but it doesn't occur to him that their employers had to pay them that much to get them to work -- else the workers couldn't afford the middle-class stuff that made those jobs worth having. (Though their employers seem to have caught on that they too can make do with less.)

As for the lower-than-upper-middle-class workers, why would anyone boost their incomes? Those poor guys were stuck. "Working-class occupations" became increasingly less than they had been; "boom times" or no, jobs for less-educated Americans offering sustenance-or-better wages have been draining away for decades, largely replaced by gigs that a family can't live on. Try making a living in retail these days.

Every normal person sees this just walking around. But guys like Murray never notice. To them, lack of opportunity is something The Poors can shake off by taking Soulcraft lessons from their betters. Yet inexplicably they haven't done so, despite ever so many helpful editorials.

So Murray wishes to authorize a flying squad of upper-middle-class people to abandon their fancy beers and cable TV shows and go out among the less fortunate and tell them what bums they are. I would propose we call them the Gladstone Gangs, after the British PM who used to pull this act with prostitutes -- except that would be unfair, as Gladstone sometimes tried to intervene on behalf of working people with something other than yak. So let's just add that to Murray's general legacy, and leave it to the judgment of future generations, if we have any.

UPDATE. That crazy fucker Bryan Caplan has read a whole book of that Murray stuff, and he's excited:
I'm not kidding. If Murray is right, traditionalists need to forget populism. Their "cultural differences" with the elite are largely cosmetic. Elites are the answer to traditionalists' prayers. They work hard, avoid trouble, get married, and give their kids a good home. The sooner everyone realizes this, the better.
Newt Swingrich is a man of ideas. Maybe we can get him to spread this gospel. Then it's sure to catch fire, perhaps literally.

Friday, January 20, 2012

THE ICING ON THE CAKE. Obama singing some Al Green at the Apollo was very cute. How are the belligerati responding? Aware that it's a no-win situation for them, they're tryin' to hold it in; but their commenters -- like the posse at Weasel Zippers -- can't help themselves. They seem to have two themes -- the inevitable one:
What’s soetero doing singing a song by a Christian Minister? His butt buddies in the muslim brotherhood ain’t gonna like it…

The SOB is gay. Period...

When is Barney Frank going to sing “What, What in the butt?”...

And definitely a friend of Dorothy. Look up Man’s Country and the Down Low Club from Chicago. Enlightening...

Reggie Love is saying “Hey you bitches, don’t be dissing my down-low man!”
And the other inevitable one:
♫ Dang Me, Dang Me
They Oughtta Take a Rope
and Hang Me♫
High From the Highest Treeee ♫...

Note the reaction of the brothers and sisters in the audience. Cheering on the black (mostly white) brother who is overseeing their continued wretched existence as po’, oppressed minorities. When will these fools ever stop using the pigmentation of their skins as an excuse to fail. Gee, is that racist, commiecrats?...
You guys know that normally I don't trawl rightbloggers' comments sections for material, but I'm making an exception in this case because it feels so good to see these douchebags make such fucking idiots of themselves. Well done, Black Hitler!

UPDATE. Huh, hadn't heard of Mofo Politics. They seem to want to play in this space. Let's see what they have:
Terrorist supporter Barack Obama sings Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”

Whatever, d!ckhead.
Is this a parody of a conservative site? I can't tell anymore. Well, at least I know Kathy Shaidle isn't kidding with "Obama’s white half tries to sing." I bet Shaidle does a mean cover of "Dixie."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

DEVIOUSLY CLEVER. Slow night, so I just opened up American Thinker and the first thing that crawled out was Kim Zigfeld:
Last week, Americans learned that they are, or soon may be, at war with Vladimir Putin's Russia.
That is, of course, unless they do just exactly what the Kremlin asks, which is pretty simple, really, and consists largely of re-electing Barack H. Obama, the best friend the Kremlin ever had, as president of the United States.
Later: "[Russia's] principle strategy will be to threaten Americans with World War III unless they choose Obama." Aside from the obvious PR drawbacks of such a campaign, why would Russia want Obama in office, particularly?
Patrushev accused the United States of attempting to topple Iran's government and subjugate its population "by all available means" and implied that Russia would help Iran to shut down oil supplies to the United States through the Persian Gulf if the U.S. dared to try to block Iran's nuclear weapons program, which, he assured, is nothing urgent that Americans need to worry about.

But Patrushev (who is one of Russia's most strident haters of America and her values) said it all still might work out: "In the case of Vladimir Putin and then Barack Obama coming to power, the Russian-U.S. relationship, as well as the situation in the world as a whole, may see a strengthening trend." It seems that the prospect of Americans returning Republicans to the White House makes Russians at least as nervous as the prospect of the West unseating Russia's bosom buddies in Tehran.
Wait -- so the Russian guy accused the U.S. of trying to take over Iran? Who was running the country when that was going on?
Russia's Foreign Ministry simultaneously launched a scathing attack on the recently enacted U.S. defense budget, echoing the Soviet era in accusing the U.S. of violating multiple provisions of international law, including the Geneva Conventions, just by enacting it. Russia also accused the U.S. of violating the Conventions in conducting activity at its prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. 
I don't blame the Russian Guy for being pissed. But the U.S. defense budget -- who signs that? Keeping Gitmo open -- who's responsible for that? I thought those were President things. Yet Zigfeld tells us Obama is "Putin's patsy."

Maybe this is like that episode of The West Wing where President Bartlett had to temporarily sign over the Presidency so the feds could find his kidnapped daughter. Obama kowtows to the Kremlin, but then, when it's time to do something the Russians don't like, he hands the show over to Curtis LeMay IV or somebody, and lays low until it's time to suck up again.

In a way it's nice to know that our former Soviet enemies can still talk a line of we-will-bury-you bullshit. Unfortunately there's a global black market for bullshit, and American conservatives are its most reliable customers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE 1%? You always know what's coming when Megan McArdle starts like this:
After a disappointing year, the big banks are pulling back on their bonus pools. A lot. This is going to be hard on bankers whose salaries are usually a very small part of their overall compensation--and yes, yes, before you drag out the world's smallest violin, let me agree that they have no entitlement to anything more. Nonetheless...
I'll boil it down to you: Bankers make all the money and money pays for things and boy you creepy little New York "creatives" are going to be sorry when they all Go Galt. (Why they should Go Galt, she doesn't say -- presumably the seething contempt of the masses will hurt their feelings so bad that they have to run away to Bumfuck, Arkansas and start a new Stock Exchange. Or go overseas and find a country that wants its economy destroyed by bogus financial instruments.)
So it's interesting to contemplate what it will look like, if the financial industry gets shrunk down to the size that many are hoping. The last time that happened, in the 1930s-1960s, New York had a lot of other businesses: shipping, manufacturing, and for that matter, being the corporate headquarters for so many national businesses. That's pretty much ended. New York is now a specialist city: creative industries, finance, and tourism.
It's sort of a Rorschach thing, really: I read it and think, yeah, wouldn't it be nice to have policies that would give cities back a manufacturing base through which poor people could make a living? Whereas she writes it and thinks, stinky bohemians don't know their place.

I will add that I never saw a family come into New York from the hinterlands and pony up food, lodging, and ticket money to watch a financial analyst fart through silk.

UPDATE. Tbogg shorters appropriately.

I suppose I should also link to a couple of my own past considerations of the New York revival topic. Everyone should have a part to play in the sustenance of the city, but whereas the working class once served as its backbone, those citizens have since been reduced to retainers for the rich, with their servants' quarters moved to the farther reaches of the boroughs.  McArdle can't engage this reality, so she goes with the brokers-versus-bohemians puppet show; her fans will cheer for Team Pinstripe to beat up the hippies, and everyone can forget about the enormous remainder of the population, which struggles more every day to get by and could actually help if these idiots would first acknowledge their existence, their need, and their power.

Comments are also choice. Jennifer: "You'll know things are really bad when the Thermomixes start showing up in the pawn shops." Fats Durston: "Wow. New Yo'k, just like I pitchered it. Stockbrokers 'n' ever'thang." Etc.

Monday, January 16, 2012

THE CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTERIZATIONS. Every MLK Day you get conservatives talking about how Martin Luther King was kind of a Rick Santorum type. At The Heritage Fondation this year, Matt Spalding drew the short straw:
Conservatives, of course, have reservations about certain aspects of King’s legacy. For one, he became too close, later in his career, to the welfare state. He was enamored of the theology of the Social Gospel, the movement that undermined much of mainstream Protestantism in the 20th century. Later in life, he was a vocal opponent of American involvement in the Vietnam. And we now know that in his scholarship and personal life King was far from perfect.

Nevertheless, there are three ways in which King’s message is profoundly conservative and relevant.
And we move on to the platitudes that prove King was right-wing, e.g.:
He believed in work ethic and thrift and spoke against crime and disorderly conduct.
Whereas liberals lay around in beanbag chairs in between trips to cash their welfare checks at the liquor store which they also rob. Still, we must never forget that the man was no Reagan:
This forgotten aspect of King’s thought is told expertly in an article entitled “Where Dr. King Went Wrong”...
After a bellyful of this, it's almost refreshing to read racist loon Marcus Epstein's "Myths of Martin Luther King" at LewRockwell.com, in which he tells conservatives to stop trying to insist that King was one of them ("the problem with this view is that King openly advocated quotas and racial set-asides"). Here's a more up-to-date version of the same thing. Deranged, yes, but at least they know what conservatism is.

Unfortunately conservatives will never heed their advice, because they're still compelled to seek office and the opportunities to loot the treasury that come with it, and after a solid year of Ooga Booga and dog whistles they only have the third Monday in January to try and convince America that they were just kidding.

UPDATE. In comments, a couple of readers notice Spalding's "later in his career... later in life" schtick, like King was a good Chamber of Commerce type until he went to a be-in or something. "'Later in life'?" asks Doghouse Riley. "The man didn't make it to forty. The fact was in all the papers at the time." Fats Durston fixates on that "Where Dr. King Went Wrong" book, which according to Spalding posits that "King turned to the welfare state when he became disheartened by the emergence of the black underclass." "Yeah," says Durston, "no black underclass existed before the civil rights movement. It only arose because of, well, fuckifIknow, but probably hippies or late '50s jazz."

Provider_UNE is looking forward to February, when conservatives "start screeching like wild banshees about the lack of a White History month."

Worth noting also: Ole Perfesser Instapundit celebrated MLK Day by denouncing "corrupt and racist" gun controllers and pleading for "sensible gun laws" -- i.e., cheap and plentiful pistols in major urban areas -- "...that don’t oppress minorities or entrap honest citizens." If his sudden interest in racism and the oppression of minorities surprises you, please note that he was talking about early 20th Century Irish and Italian immigrants, not the you-know-whats. This is the Perfesser we're talking about here. (Oh, and now he's pretending he didn't know that "liver lips" has been used as a racial slur. Other prominent internet conservatives experience no such confusion.)
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP about the Bain Capital film and the rightbloggers who may not like Mitt Romney but know that when creative destruction is challenged, that by God is the Water's Edge and all must stand as one against the common enemy, sociamalism. There was some good action among the Romney-haters who refused to jump in for the big win -- how can you not love a nontroversy that has Dan Riehl running to Campaign for America's Future for back-up? But I chose to focus instead on the explanations that when Bain Capital destroys a dream in one place, another is born somewhere else. It's like New Age meets Libertarianism.

Friday, January 13, 2012

LIBERTARIANISM FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE LIBERTARIANISM.  David French notices that lots of U.S. servicemembers are donating to Ron Paul's campaign. But he has an explanation that will allow his more old-fashioned wingnut readers to feel good about this.

First, these brave men and women aren't contributing to Paul because they're antiwar hippies -- "the idealists who seem to believe that just one more irrigation project, or one more new school, or a few more cups of chai (with some nice intercultural dialogue) will turn the corner in the Area of Operations." No, they're antiwar because, like David French, they hate towelheads.
The Middle East is a savage place that views human life cheaply and will never, ever be worth fighting to change, and in fighting to change these cultures, we simply make more enemies. So long as they don’t try to kill us at home, they can do whatever they want to each other, and if they do try to kill us at home, the response shouldn’t be nation-building or invasion but overwhelming punitive force designed to destroy our enemies, not transform cultures. We’ll call this school of thought “Rubble doesn’t cause trouble”...

Almost every Ron Paul supporter I’ve ever known in the military (and I know quite a few) is in the “rubble doesn’t cause trouble” camp. They’re not idealistic about peace, and they don’t necessarily believe the rhetoric that if we leave Iraq and Afghanistan, we won’t get attacked. They instead think we responded the wrong way to 9/11 and that the last ten years of costly war have proven them right.
French doesn't agree with them there -- he still wants America to roam the world looking for inferior people to fuck with. But because he respects our men and women in uniform (and needs them to do the actual fucking-with for him), he'll defend them against charges of being interested in peace.

Well, look, if Glenn Greenwald can use Ron Paul for his cause, why can't French use him for his? It's not like the crazy old fuck is serving any other useful purpose except posing for "Well, ya gotta admit Ron Paul is right about..." stories.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

THE PARTY OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Newt Gingrich says he's sorry he unleashed the hounds of hell on Mitt Romney's Bain Capital predations. But he has an explanation:
“I agree with you,” Gingrich said. “It’s an impossible theme to talk about with Obama in the background. Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally in that area because he is so deeply into class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect. … I agree with you entirely.”
In a couple of months I expect Gingrich to reveal he cheated on his wife and blame it on Kenyan anti-colonialism.

UPDATE. Gingrich returns with an incoherent backtrack on his backtrack: "This issue at hand is neither about Bain Capital, private equity firms, nor about capitalism... Instead of accepting the responsibility to answer questions about his business background, the Romney campaign is throwing up a smokescreen about an attack on capitalism."  Were voters supposed to look at "When Mitt Romney Came to Town" and think, "Well, I'm all for asset stripping and throwing people out of work, but this guy went too far"?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

PUTTIN' DOWN ROOTS. Nancy Nall informs me that Rod Dreher, whose recent retreat from the Big City and return to the country and the Old Ways in which he was brungded up was lovingly documented by David Brooks ("they decided to accept the limitations of small-town life in exchange for the privilege of being a part of a community"), is already dissatisfied with the quality of his broadband service in his new/old hometown of Fritters, Louisiana (he lives in the "historic downtown").
Before you say, “Oh, shut up, you and your First World problems,” I will point out that given the line of work I’m in — media — I have to have reliable broadband access to do my job efficiently. I’m already developing some work-arounds, and I can go to the coffee shop or to my mom and dad’s house (out in the country!) if I need to have fast Internet.
Ain't he able-bodied? Cain't he till the soil? Does he really go down to the General Store and ask where a feller who's In Media can git hisself some wi-fi?
This is such a small town that I don’t know that AT&T has any real economic incentive to upgrade its equipment to provide first-class broadband to people here. Is this something the town, or parish government, would have an interest in subsidizing, as an economic development initiative?...
[Insert Big Gummint lazy good fer nuthin' poors joke here]
You don’t realize how much our modern way of economic life depends on reliable high-speed Internet service, until you don’t have it. Towns and places that don’t have it are going to get left behind, economically.
Well, guess that's it, Rod will have to up sticks again. Where do you good people imagine he will land next?

LIBERALS HAVE NAMES LIKE "CARL," AND CONSERVATIVES HAVE NAMES LIKE "LENNY." I think I've figured out the appeal of PJ Lifestyle, the Pajamas Media style section from which I got that bizarre "Hell on Wheels" review last week. It seems to be part of an alternate universe PJM is building, in which conservatives who have renounced the world -- you know, like this guy -- can feel at home. It goes Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood one better -- instead of just interpreting movies and TV shows according to doctrine, its writers apply their Procrustean standards to other leisure and cultural activities as well.

Take Kathy Shaidle's "George Carlin Wasn’t Funny: The Top Five Most Overrated Comedians." Understand first that Shaidle is one of those culture warriors who thinks we're all living in a politically correct pogrom; she wrote in 2010 that since the 1980s, "political correctness has gotten worse, not better. Yes, some of us joke about it, but we do so in whispers around the office coffeemaker, lest we risk our jobs."

Yet, brave soul that she is, she's willing to take on the PC shibboleths of our time, as she announces in her opening:
Yeah, I’m a heretic. I also fell asleep during Star Wars.

Bruce Springsteen? Pompous blowhard.

The Godfather? Long stretches of beige nothingness.

And The Who are better than The Beatles.

(Hell, I prefer The Monkees to The Beatles…)

But here’s the first “pop culture” contrarianism I’m a teensy bit afraid to confess in public:

George Carlin never made me laugh.
Now, if you've been around the internet at all, you know that contrarianism is actually a great way to get attention. Does everyone love "Mad Men"? Write about how it stinks and watch the clicks and quotes roll in!

Shaidle's got as much right to get in on this racket as anyone. But when you read her article, you find that her idea of contrarianism is very narrow -- that is, what she mainly finds unfunny about these allegedly funny people is liberalism.

When Louis CK talks about Tracy Morgan's gay jokes (in an interview!), Shaidle complains that he "sounds like the kind of person a comedian (like Louis CK) is supposed to be making fun of." Then she answers CK with a long Mark Steyn quote, and asks, "isn’t Steyn’s take patently superior? But Mark Steyn votes the wrong way, so no GQ 'Man of the Year' virtual tongue-baths for him."

On and on it goes: The Smothers Brothers were really fired by DEMOCRAT Senator John Pastore and one of them was mean to Penn Jillette -- that's how not-funny they are! Lenny Bruce isn't funny mainly because she says so -- and not that she needs back-up, but professional funnyman Nick Gillespie thinks so too, and Rush Limbaugh is funnier than Jon Stewart, so there. And Carlin's not funny because "like so many old hippies, he just wouldn’t go away." Plus:
And if Carlin was so brave, why didn’t he rail against two other words you REALLY can’t say on the radio and [most of] TV: “n*****” and “f****t”? Because fighting for the right to say them would shock his liberal fans...
Apparently the "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" bit isn't funny, but this shit is a riot. (Oh, and I think the words she means here are "nigger" and "faggot." The PC speech police must have put in those stars against her contrarian will. Fight the power, sister!)

In the real world, where normal people might conceivably wander in and read your stuff, articles like this would be incomprehensible. But normal people seldom get to these articles, because they're not the target market -- which would seem to be the people of the Conservative Exodus. Even deranged separatists need something to read at the compound.

UPDATE. But I gotta say, I got a kick out of the one about how Twilight is okay even though it has vampires because it's pro-life. "Will these women follow Bella’s example and protect their unborn child?" asks author Rhonda Robinson. "Perhaps. If this film is as persuasive as its opponents fear." I wonder where the big fights between the Hollyweird lieberals who want to get rich off the Twilight franchise and the Hollyweird lieberals who fear its pro-life message take place. The New Republic, maybe?

Monday, January 09, 2012

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about rightbloggers starting, with an auspicious and a dropping eye, to adjust to life after the carnival and Make Mine Mitt. It's starting to look like 2008 again, when the party bosses foisted that traitor John McCain on them. Well, they still get to run against a black guy.

Excised from the final draft was Tom Maguire, who didn't enjoy Ron Paul's attack on Newt Gingrich for his lack of military service as much as I did.  Maguire pointed out that when Paul served he had not been stationed in a hot zone, and therefore was "not likely to be shot at," whereas when Gingrich had a chance to serve in Vietnam "in 1965, it was not yet clear to the public at large that the Johnson Administration had no strategy for winning the war." As Gingrich is an esteemed historian, he presumably foresaw both America's defeat and his own importance to the nation's future, and wisely kept himself safe home. What a patriot!

Oh, and there's that asshole Rod Dreher, who claims to both believe and endorse Rick Santorum's claim that if his own son came out gay he would not beat him with a tire iron until he straightened out:
I found out that in my small, very conservative and churchgoing Southern town, there’s a lot of affection for Ginger Snap, a local black drag queen. Ginger Snap has her own float in the community Christmas parade. I guarantee that if you polled the people along the parade route, both white and black, nine out of 10 would say that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed. But they will also watch Ginger Snap roll by on her float and wave.
No civil rights for you, but we shore enjoy you wearin' a purty dress on a parade float! I wonder how many of them hit on Ginger Snap when they're drunk.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

BOO FUCKING HOO. Yes, it's hilarious that John freaking Yoo is calling Obama's quasi-recess appointments an "Abuse of Executive Power... even with my broad view of executive power." Even if one didn't know the backstory of the Republicans' relentless obstructionism, that is rich.

But I kind of prefer the Ole Perfesser's comment:
A lawyer-reader emails: “If Richard Cordray were Sarah Palin, someone would file a qui tam action against him when he gets his first paycheck, and someone in Ohio would file a grievance with the Ohio Supreme Court’s Attorney Disciplinary Counsel seeking sanctions for Cordray’s clearly unconstitutional actions.” Well, not so much if Richard Cordray were Sarah Palin, as if Republicans acted like Democrats. Maybe they should give it a try — the Dems seem to enjoy it. And they did manage to prevent a Palin candidacy through sheer harassment.
He's talking about the people who impeached Bill Clinton for a blowjob. And "prevent a Palin candidacy through sheer harassment" -- look, no one's more disappointed than me that she's not running, but, why man, she did make love to this "harassment"; the resulting ressentiment was the source of all her power over the yokels. And when she bowed out it wasn't because she'd been chased off -- imagine DFHs chasing off America's Sweetheart!  -- but because through tedious drumming she wore out her welcome as even an opera buffo version of a statesman, and retreated to take the short-end money as a celebrity spokesmodel.

Know what I like best about this? That it's not one of the Perfesser's rawr-we-will-crush-you posts, but instead one of those in which he claims victim status because a mean liberal fought back. Those used to piss me off, too, but now for some reason I can't get enough of them.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

NOT SINCE "THE DUKES OF HAZZARD"... Pajamas Media TV critic S.T. Karnick:
To be sure, in some ways ["Hell on Wheels"] pays obeisance to modern political and cultural clichés about the nation’s past. Predictably, the United States in 1865 is shown as dirty and corrupt, and life for many is depicted as short, brutal, ugly, dirty, and meaningless. The railroad encampment is a cesspool rife with drunkenness, violence, and sexual license. Although no longer slaves, all the blacks we see are impoverished manual laborers.
So: a documentary, then?
Fortunately, Hell on Wheels producers Joe and Tony Gayton don’t leave it at that. Instead, they convey numerous story elements that contradict the cynical contemporary view of the nation’s history in very interesting and important ways. In the very first episode, for example, common views of the history of American race relations and the origins of the War Between the States are subverted. A northerner is cruel to the former slaves who are working on the railroad, whereas the protagonist, a southerner and former slaveholder, is sympathetic to them and treats them fairly. Later we find out that even though he fought for the Confederacy, the Southerner had already freed his own slaves and suffered privation in order to pay them wages for their services.
Ah -- so,  more of a Freaky Friday sort of thing.
Similarly, Sherman’s March and the Union’s conduct of the war in general are depicted as vicious and unconscionable, whereas the Southern cause is characterized as a matter of honor, which the characters — who would know, of course — clearly accept as true...

Ex-slaves in the North, by contrast, are shown as living under awful conditions that make a mockery of the Emancipation Proclamation... Ferguson foreshadows the argument that the black educator and political leader Booker T. Washington would make near the end of the century: that blacks shouldn’t wait around for political solutions requiring equal treatment from whites, but could only ensure their own betterment through hard work, competition, and entrepreneurship...

Having obliterated the southern half of the nation, the government’s activities in the postwar era seem largely confined to displacing Indians, killing Indians, and seeking out corrupt ways of amassing wealth for the politically connected few...
Readers, I haven't seen this show. Is it really the glowing tribute to the Lost Cause Karnick portrays? Because if so, I think America might be ready for my contrarian take on "Uncle Tom's Cabin," with Ian McShane as a tortured, foul-mouthed Simon Legree.

Even outside of the Southron stuff, the review is full if wonders, e.g.:
The real villain here is clearly government. As Cole’s entreaty indicates, the white people in the railroad encampment want nothing but for the Indians to leave them alone, and vice versa, but the government is intent on forcing them into separate worlds.
Also, in the machinations of the Republican-enabled railroad barons of the Gilded Age Karnick finds "strong parallels to modern-day congressional Democrats."

Well, you go to culture war with the culture warriors you've got, I guess. (h/t Dan Coyle)

UPDATE. "I have no idea about the show's historic accuracy," says Tod Westlake, a fan of the show, in comments, "but it's defintely entertaining. I believe this might have something to do with a literary technique known as 'irony.' I had to look it up, myself." On this head, DocAmazing recommends "Kung Fu," the old TV show about how rural Westerners loved Asians once they got to know/had their bullies beaten up by them. Me, I'm wondering if I had Once Upon a Time in the West all wrong. Maybe Frank and the weaselly railroad builder were the heroes. I mean, what did Harmonica produce?

Monday, January 02, 2012

ANNALS OF COMMUNITARIAN CONSERVATISM, CONT. You may recall that last weekend David Brooks told his readers how Rod Dreher had moved back to his old homestead because small-town folks are so nice, and invited them to check out Dreher's "communitarian conservatism" (i.e., the scam formerly known as Crunchy Conservatism) at his blog at The American Conservative.

I wonder how those who took Brooks' invitation enjoyed this heartwarming recent post in which Dreher commiserates with an understandably anonymous doctor about what leeches the poor are:
["Dr. Smith"] said that many of the patients he sees “are people who are poor because they just don’t want to work. They’ve never had a job and they never will have a job. They’re fine with that.” 
He said that the general public has no idea how much money is wasted on medical fraud and abuse by members of the underclass, and on treating people who have no intention of being anything other than dependents on the state, and who will demand treatment “if they as much as stub their toe” because they don’t have to pay for it...

The observable common behavior [of the poor] is so strange, irresponsible, and wholly dysfunctional that it’s hard to relate it to any norms we recognize as healthy, or even sane. But one is not permitted to say things like this out loud, or one will be accused of heartlessness, and worse.
Yet here's Dreher saying it out loud; what a brave fellow! Be nice to him, now, he just lost his sister.

It's been a while since I read the Bible. Was this Jesus guy Dreher claims to worship as big an asshole as he is?

UPDATE. Some commenters observe that Dreher, like his intellectual forebears, distinguishes between the "deserving poor" and the "undeserving poor." Slocum observes, "The Christian conservative thing to do would be to throw some money down on the ground and get a good ole bumfight going. That's how we see who deserves what."

Commenter g asks, "If you 'as much as stub your toe' and get treatment, the doctor gets the payment, not the patient. What motivation would the patient have to get treatment if he doesn't need it? Aren't most perpetrators of Medicaid fraud the medical professionals, not the patients?"

Medicare and Medicaid frauds do indeed enrich unscrupulous doctors, pharmacists, and health care professionals -- like these charming HMO execs I wrote about elsewhere, who are charged with shunting their sicker, less profitable customers off to hospices, from which they allegedly received kickbacks.

The Obama Administration has been working hard to cut medical fraud. But that's not the solution Christians would prefer; rather than crack down on the industrious capitalists who cheat the system, they'd prefer to throw poor people whom they suspect of malingering out of hospitals. They seem to believe that, like hippies, the poors fuck up the system out of sheer malevolence, not from any rational cause.

UPDATE 2. You know, I really shouldn't blame Dreherism on Christians. Many evangelicals support government services to the poor, and there's no reason to assume that all Jesus people share Dreher's way of looking at things. It's easy to be misled by the very visible public perches occupied by retributive Christians, and thus perpetuate the feedback loop that associates ordinary followers of Christ with religious hucksters.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP about the Santorum Surge and how evanescent I expect it to be. To give you some idea why, here's a quote from James Lileks -- yes, that James Lileks -- on Santorum: "Santorum's remarks are not a recipe for electoral success in the 21st century." And he said it in 2003. If that's what Lileks thought in 2003, by now Richard Viguerie must be going, "Christ, not that Jesus freak bullshit again."

On the other hand, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have said nice things about him, so Santorum may expect significant support from the has-been grifter wing of the party.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD. I got into a little beef with Glenn Greenwald about his column comparing Ron Paul's civil libertarianism with that of President Obama. I think I was a little unfair about it. There are after all plenty of good reasons to be pissed about Obama, the latest being that horrible bill that he just signed, despite his alleged "reservations." From the bill:
(c) Disposition Under Law of War- The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
As the "War on Terror" is basically a war without end, the ACLU is right to call it "indefinite detention." You'd think that would be good grounds for a veto. But we didn't get one.

So once again our MOR Democratic President disappoints. I must say that, while I've been expecting less than what was advertised since the campaigning Senator Obama went for the bailouts in 2008, he's gone even further than I expected.

Greenwald, though, chooses to use Ron Paul as a cudgel to beat Obama. This is the sort of dreamy, libertarian-with-an-explanation thing that makes me especially cynical and Realpolitiky.

Greenwald carefully stresses that he doesn't support Paul, but when you read his description of Obama --
He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth...
And then read him on Paul --
The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul.
Then you have to ask: If he feels that way, how can he not support Ron Paul? Obama as described by Greenwald is a tyrannical monster, and Paul's the only guy with any meaningful support willing to oppose his tyranny. From this perspective it would seem practically a war crime not to start up a government in exile and oppose Generalissimo Obama by any means necessary.

Greenwald says there are "all sorts of legitimate reasons for progressives to oppose Ron Paul’s candidacy on the whole." But he doesn't lay them out in the column, though he does mention the newsletters we've all heard so much about -- which issue has become the go-to knock on Paul, so much so that it's practically a diversion now; it makes it look like Paul is a serious candidate sadly undone by the unfortunate revelation of a peccadillo, rather than the avatar of a disastrous idea of government.

Paul, as he is advertised, wouldn't just put an end to the national security state. He'd put an end to the welfare state.  No Social Security, no Medicare, no minimum wage, no FDA, etc. Even successful Big-Gummint projects like the Clean Air Act would be subject to new, corporation-friendly amendments.

Tyranny-wise, we'd be cutting out the middleman: Instead of having a government that sometimes enables and sometimes blocks the wishes of special interests, we'd let the special interests rumble for domination over all of us, with nothing but free-market pixie dust for protection.

Maybe you think it'd be worth it, because then the military-industrial complex would also be dismantled, and though we'd be fucked, at least the foreign babies would be spared. After all, in the enlightened, proto-libertarian Gilded Age, we didn't have any such foreign adventures -- well, okay, the Spanish-American War, and the Philippine Insurrection, and a bunch of little invasions that inexplicably took place without socialist inspiration. And yeah, okay, there were massacres. But at least it was fairer then, because sometimes U.S. troops opened fire on Americans too. Freedom!

Fuck that shit. I'm voting for Black Hitler in 2012.

UPDATE. In comments, Greenwald says -- very graciously, I would add -- that he did lay out the  problems with Paul in his italicized "honest line of reasoning" that a hypothetical pro-Obama liberal would take. I am tempted to say that I didn't credit this because Greenwald had put it in the mouth of a fictional character with whom he doesn't agree, and so I did not consider it his own point of view; but to be honest, my eyes were too filled with blood to read carefully after I saw my own point of view characterized thus: "Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason..." Jesus, Glenn, why not add "Mwah hah hah" and "Pathetic humans! Who can save you now?" while you're at it?