Thursday, May 31, 2012

HEY LOOK. Our old friend Michael Webster has a photo essay up at Burn. It's called New York but, trust me, it isn't at all what you expect a photo essay called New York to be. (That is to say: No saxophones.) The vastly inferior accompanying non-photo essay is by me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

IT NEVER HAPPENED. The United Fruit Company is probably best known for its major role in making banana republics out of Guatemala and Honduras. In fact, UFC's predations figure prominently in the Wikipedia entry on Banana Republics:
In the late 19th century, the United Fruit Company, the Standard Fruit Company, and Sam Zemurray's Cuyamel Fruit Company dominated the Honduran economy's key banana-export sector and the national infrastructure (e.g. railroads and ports). Moreover, El Pulpo (The Octopus). was the nickname of the United Fruit Company, because it freely interfered — sometimes violently — with Honduran national politics. In 1910, the businessman Sam Zemurray hired mercenaries, led by “General” Lee Christmas, an American mercenary soldier from New Orleans, to effect a coup d’état in Honduras, and install a government more amenable to the business interests of the Cuyamel Fruit Company. Yet, twenty-three years later, by means of a hostile takeover, Sam Zemurray assumed control of the rival United Fruit Company, in 1933.

In the mid 20th century, during the 1950s, the United Fruit Company convinced the administrations of U.S. presidents Harry Truman (1945–53) and Dwight Eisenhower (1953–61) that the popular government of Colonel Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán in Guatemala was secretly pro-Soviet, for having expropriated unused “fruit company lands” to landless peasants. In the Cold War (1945–91) context of the pro-active anti-Communism of the Senator McCarthy era of U.S. national politics (1947–57), said geopolitical consideration facilitated President Eisenhower's ordering the CIA's Guatemalan coup d’état (1954), which deposed the elected government of President–Colonel Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, and installed the pro-business government of Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas (1954–57)...
Etc. There are plenty of other tellings of the story.

But that's not how New York Sun editor Ira Stoll sees it. His "Lessons From the United Fruit Company" at Reason magazine begins:
Americans puzzling over the role of today’s powerful corporations—Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs, Google—may profit from considering the example of the United Fruit Company.
And in what follows there's not a thing about UFC's military and political predations in Central America -- not even a defense of them. Instead it's all about "the wonderful things about capitalism" the company's success can teach us. There's "upward mobility," "technological innovation," "bias-free marketing creativity," etc. The only discouraging word is about "when capitalism becomes cronyism" -- that is, in Stoll's telling, when UFC got too hooked up with Washington lobbyists. "A business that lives by Washington is finally at its mercy," sighs Stoll, "as United Fruit learned when the antitrust cops came after it." Alas, their faith in the free market faltered, and the expected evil of regulation resulted.

This is rather like telling the story of King Leopold and the Congo, but leaving out the torture and murder of his subjects/slaves, cooing over the great efficiency he brought to the rubber trade, and bemoaning the guilt-tripping muckrakers and the failures of European imperial nerve that put an end to that Ruritanian idyll.

You know, I expect them to try that next.

As such as Stoll tell it, history is a fairy tale in which the lovely maiden Capitalism skips merrily through the woods sprinkling fairy dust; occasionally labor unions, suffragists, civil rights workers and so forth come around and plague her, but there can be no reason for this except the influence of the devil, because she is so good. Eventually a knight, in the form of U.S. troops or hired assassins, comes along and rescues her, and everyone lives happily ever after, until the devil stirs some other wretches to trouble her.

Sometimes the facts are so glaringly obvious that they can't put this over, in which case they repair to think tanks and cook up fresh versions with novel twists (liberals are the real fascists! FDR was the villain of the Depression!). And if they can't get anybody besides the true believers to swallow those, then they just pretend the things they couldn't talk away never happened, and resolve not to mention them again.

Their busy minds may still stir with new stories, and vanity may tempt them to put them out. (Some of my best material comes from rightbloggers who just can't resist that temptation.) But longtime operatives such as Stoll have learned to be patient. In the real world, the work is done by brute force and baser kinds of fraud, and sometimes it's better to just keep quiet while the goons take care of business.

Don't think so? Look at all the erstwhile worshippers of George W. Bush who can no longer even say his name, but still glibly insist that something just like his policies will fix everything up. Never mind history -- they count on you forgetting yesterday.

UPDATE. Gorgeous comments here. "Any time that history puts the lie to American exceptionalism, it then becomes fair game for the ideological revisionists," says  montag. "One only need look at the way Chile's been portrayed by the right, let alone the rest of Latin America. "  Chile's a classic example of what I'm talking about. I remember how, when  Pinochet croaked, they got right on the rehab effort. But they've since become quieter about it, at least in places where normal people can hear them. Though sometimes the dead-enders like their Pinochetism straight-up, you're more likely to get more devious approaches, like Megan McArdle's insistence that no one she knows goes for Pinochet anymore while in the secluded meth labs of the Right they continue to praise his holy name.

Also, Mercurino says of my Leopold rehabilitation fable, "I think that's the abstract of Dr. Newt Gingrich's dissertation." And mortimer leads us to a magnificent story about the hunt for justice after a massacre in Guatemala in 1982, when Central American commie-hunters were our best friends, but I warn you -- it's long and it will make you mad.
NUMBO JUMBO. Jonah Robert Goldberg* dons his scrubs and tell us why the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's recommendation against PSA tests for prostate cancer is death-panel socialism:
Adding to the “costs” of the test are “false positives” — they tell people they have cancer when they don’t about 10 percent of the time. The task force thinks this problem makes the cost of screening higher than the tiny benefit screening generates for society.
From the actual USPSTF report:
Harms related to screening. Convincing evidence demonstrates that the PSA test often produces false-positive results (approximately 80% of positive PSA tests are false positives when a cut-off point of 2.5–4.0 ng/mL is used)...
You can read the rest of Goldberg's "argument," but I warn you, it lives up to his usual standards. For example: Goldberg refers to the recommendation as a "ban," though there is as yet no sign that HHS is going to follow the recommendation for Medicare. Also:
First, the task force measures the effect of testing on the death rate from any disease (all-cause mortality). That’s a bogus benchmark, because, as John Maynard Keynes famously noted, in the long run we all die.
For the most part, I think it's a good thing that doctors stopped diagnosing certain unfortunates as imbeciles. However...

*UPDATE. Hmm -- the Post has changed the byline to that of Robert Goldberg. And I thought I was sensitive to his style! (Apparently the Post editors did, too.) It's still a crap argument, but please read all gratuitous insults as directed toward the original subject.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A LITTLE GOOD NEWS. Anyone on this tedious rightblogger watch will have noticed the howling frenzy into which Elizabeth Warren's old claims of Cherokee ancestry has driven them. There has been a torrent of gags about "Fauxcahontas," citations of Cher's "Half-Breed," and other leading indicators of the state of Republican minority outreach.

Their main complaint, to the extent that it is coherent, seems to be that Warren must have expected career advancement from her claim. No evidence that she received such perks (appointment to a "Native American Chair" at Harvard, for example) has been discovered, but they keep pitching -- and often tying it to the Obama "born in Kenya" crap they've also been pushing for a few weeks. "I don’t know whether either Obama or Warren intentionally misrepresented their backgrounds," says David French of National Review, "but one thing I do know: The more diverse they seemed, the better it was for their academic careers. " *

I've found the whole thing depressing for a couple of reasons. First, because in the real world playing Indian is not remotely a big deal. Anyone who spends any time in the south or the west will meet many white folks who say they're one-eighth Choctaw, or Sioux on their great-grandfather's side, or such like, usually on no better grounds than Warren's claim that she heard of her Cherokee forebears from her mother. That right-wingers who claim to be conversant with ordinary Americans don't know or pretend not to know this just adds some bitter irony to the situation.

Second, it's just the sort of idiotic thing that, at the nadir of my despair of American politics, I am inclined to expect a major race to be decided upon.

Well, it looks like I was wrong:
A new poll shows the US Senate race in Massachusetts tightening, with challenger Elizabeth Warren running essentially even with incumbent Scott Brown (R), and with relatively few voters undecided...

Back in February, the poll found 49 percent for Brown and 40 percent for Warren. The share of respondents saying they were undecided has fallen from 9 percent in February to 5 percent in the new poll, taken earlier this week.

Warren appears to have solidified her position despite controversy that has emerged in recent weeks over whether she inappropriately identified herself as a "minority" law scholar and whether that self-identification may have advanced her career.
Warren's campaign may still go Pete Tong, in which case I'll probably think up some other reason to be pissed at the voters of Massachusetts. But thank God it won't be over this stupid bullshit.

* UPDATE. I neglected to add that French offers nothing to back up this assertion except tales of his own days at Cornell, which he portrays as overrun by affirmative action hires and admissions and therefore proof that Obama went to the Columbia admissions office dressed in a loincloth and munching on a dog, which is the only reason they admitted him and kept him on despite his suppressed lousy grades.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

KILL 'EM WITH KINDNESS. These days of gay presidents, when even the black people conservatives were counting on to fuck up the Rainbow Coalition aren't behaving as expected, must be hard on the hardcore. The Anchoress -- that shut-in who never shuts up -- preacheth:
Beyond the bumperstickerspeak and repetition of the feelings being promoted in the pop-culture and on execrable morning talk shows, I dare say it’s the Catholics who are saying the most interesting, compelling and thoughtful things about homosexuality, life, love and faith right now.
And she's not talking about "Pray I don't kill you, faggot," or any of those Catholic classics I recall from my childhood. No, drastic times call for drastic measures. So she offers instead a video by Michael Voris, whose work I've noticed before, which brings us a kinder, gentler message -- "moved unsentimental old me to tears at one point," sniffs The Anchoress -- about how the proper Catholic should feel about those strange and miserable creatures whom they are called by Christ to pity:
For the man or woman who discovers this about themselves, the reaction must range from bewilderment to sadness to anger. The feelings of different-from-everyone-else that every person feels from time to time and sometimes even frequently must reach a level of intensity that those who do not suffer from this could not likely understand. This is the first and foremost source of compassion that we must always feel and exhibit toward our fellow dignified humans who have this cross of self-doubt, difference, a future wracked with uncertainty.
Also, homosexuals are "never really able to see any hope whatsoever down the road." Say, homosexuals, why do you call yourselves gay? The whole thing sounds like a drag and I don't mean RuPaul.

But wait, there's hope! On the other hand, says Voris, gays are "more intensely loved by God than most others," because they are "victim souls" who "suffer in a way more exacting than the rest of us" with "the cross of homosexuality." If you're a Catholic homosexual, all this suffering can get you into heaven (assuming you never have sex or impure thoughts or, if you do, repent of them in a timely manner, meaning before you get hit by lightning or something).  In fact, your suffering, celibate example can bring "countless souls to Christ."

If you're not a Catholic, well, you know, aitch-ee-double-hockey-sticks.

If you were thinking of dropping a comment over there, don't bother. The Anchoress has closed them. As she explains in another post:
I’m distracted enough without having to moderate comments, so yes, they are still closed until after June 1.
I’m frankly considering never reopening them! [smiley face]
I get the feeling our mean fake nun is clutching the metal ruler 24/7 these days.

UPDATE. In (uniformly brill, as ever) comments, DocAmazing considers an angle I'd missed: "Voris' thesis implies that Andrew Sullivan has a deep internal life. I just can't see it."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

SHORTER VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Those desperate Democrats will certainly fight dirty this year. Here's some bullshit about Obama getting bad grades in college. Yes, certainly they will fight dirty, these Democrats, because they are desperate.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the controversy over a 1991 press booklet that described Obama as "born in Kenya," which rightbloggers have taken up as proof that Obama wanted people to think he was a foreigner.

I noticed on the pixel trail that, while nearly all the folks pumping this story insist that they, personally, believe Obama was born in Hawaii, a large percentage of their commenters talk old-fashioned birtherism (e.g., "so sick that they are going to let this illegal President stay in the white house"). But why not? The subject is a magnet for conspiracy theorists of all stripes, and as long as you're entertaining the idea that an ambitious American politician would want to portray himself as ineligible for the Presidency, you might as well also talk about Barry Soetoro's fake birth certificate and plot to firebomb the U.S. from within with Bill Ayers.

Once upon a time these guys were a fringe, of the sort that any political movement would need to lose if it were going to be taken seriously; now, they're an important part of the Republican base.

One of my favorites from the story is Rosslyn Smith of The American Thinker, who had many angles to offer, including this:
The political left has a long history of using plays, movies, and TV series to push their agenda because dramatic media showcase their agenda items to good effect. Many audience members get so wrapped up in the images, characters, and action that they don't stop to think about the huge dose of political propaganda being served on the side. This is one reason why the left talks so much of narratives. The political right, on the other hand, completely dominates the emotionally cooler medium of talk radio...
So: Leftists hypnotize the American people with Glee and Syriana while conservatives stay aloof in the cool, Apollonian heights of The Rush Limbaugh Show, talking about where Barack Obama was born. This is the most convincing evidence I have yet seen of the existence of parallel universes.

UPDATE. Among the many sterling comments to this post, wjts gets extra credit for answering the tendentious questions asked by afterbirther Roger Kimball. My favorite:
Why can’t we see a certified copy of his birth certificate?
Because there's a problem with your wireless connection.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

THE LATEST CRAZE: AFTERBIRTHERISM!  The brethren learn that in 1991 a publicist said Obama was Kenyan, and suddenly birtherism is resurrected -- in a new, Möbius strip form, Afterbirtherism, in which Obama is attacked as not being foreign born:
It is evidence--not of the President's foreign origin, but that Barack Obama's public persona has perhaps been presented differently at different times.
Well, if that isn't an impeachable offense, why do we even have a Constitution?

The publicist says there was nothing sinister in it, she just fucked up, and rightbloggers go, oh sure you did -- you "fucked up" at concealing your decades-long plot to deceive the American people! The Right Sphere has our favorite version:
Despite the numerous times the article states that the booklet does not change the fact that Obama was born in Hawaii, the moron Left and their smear merchants are running with the “ has gone birther” narrative. This is their way of trying to kill the story before it makes it to the mainstream media, or at the very least, poison the story and change what the mainstream media says about the new information.
Later, this cowboy hears the publicist's explanation, and sees that it's all been just a misunderstanding and -- oh, who am I kidding?
Not good enough. Who gave her the “fact” she failed to check? There was no google or wikipedia back in 1991. This is not the end of the story.
Second place goes to American Thinker's Thomas Lifson, who closes his Afterbirther essay thus:
It is the sort of thing that can be discussed by anyone, and presents visual elements, which operate on a different part of the brain than words do.
Worthy of Criswell, that one.

Looking at the ferocious stupidity of the posts and of their commenters (love the guy at Gateway Pundit who says, "Everyone should call the New York Times and ask why their journalists never found this or reported on it"), it's clear that the people who go for this don't even qualify as a fringe -- they're like severely mentally-disabled children who react spasmodically to certain colors or shapes. Yet as long as there's clicks and cash in it, the ones who are not dumb but merely cynical, like Ole Perfesser Instapundit, will indulge them.

On the bright side, I can't imagine normal people hearing this bedlam and being convinced of anything except the need to get away from these nuts. Maybe soon the Afterbirthers will just retreat into their private world, and leave the fate of the nation to people who haven't completely lost their minds.

UPDATE. Famous libertarian Nick Gillespie approaches the subject:
... Obama's most-ardent champions must agree this sort of thing is a pretty good catch by the crew. When you're in a race that's heating up, this sort of blast from the past is the last thing with which you want to be dealing... 
There's no question that this sort of document may add to the idea that Obama is willing to edit and revise his life story depending on circumstance (the insurance company story about this mother's treatments strikes me as a more telling example, since Obama is not really implicated in the author booklet in the same way).
To be fair, there's also a lot of stuff in there about how the distant past isn't as important as the present, so you know Gillespie's really part of the plague-on-both-your-houses libertarian Third Way, which is basically conservatism plus marijuana.

UPDATE 2. Gender of publicist corrected in post, as part of the cover-up.


IT'S TRAD, DAD. This Times story about some rich guy's attempt at an ad campaign against Obama has mainly gotten attention for a line in the brief referring to the President as a "metrosexual, black Abraham Lincoln." But what makes the whole thing a loser is the unrelenting focus on Jeremiah Wright:
The document, which was written by former advisers to Mr. McCain, is critical of his decision in 2008 not to aggressively pursue Mr. Obama’s relationship with Mr. Wright. In the opening paragraphs of the proposal, the Republican strategists refer to Mr. McCain as “a crusty old politician who often seemed confused, burdened with a campaign just as confused.” 
“Our plan is to do exactly what John McCain would not let us do: Show the world how Barack Obama’s opinions of America and the world were formed,” the proposal says. “And why the influence of that misguided mentor and our president’s formative years among left-wing intellectuals has brought our country to its knees." 
The plan is designed for maximum impact, far beyond a typical $10 million television advertising campaign. It calls for full-page newspaper advertisements featuring a comment Mr. Wright made the Sunday after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he said.
I don't know much about Joe Ricketts, but clearly he's not paying attention to where his fellow conservatives have taken the discussion. There's nothing here about Obama eating dogs, having a composite girlfriend, murdering Andrew Breitbart, or unleashing black flash mobs on our nation's white people. There's nothing about him trying to take over the internet, or his wife taking ten million dollar vacations. And not one blessed word about Saul Alinsky!

It's like Ricketts walked in from 2008 telling everyone about this great new band called MGMT. As if! Ricketts should spend some time around the cool kids, from whom he will learn that a barrage of non-sequiturs is the New Style. Here's a fine example of the genre from one Leah Lax:
Yes I listen to the Tea Party. Org Bless their anti-Semitic Hearts (showing Jewish love) and today they came so close on who is Obama's Civilian Army they could not join the dots, it became very apparent that the Muslim Black Panthers are this very army. They are funded by the Nation of Islam they admit they are killers; they admit the murder of Malcolm X. But the Tea Party .org blog talk radio let it slip by without even thinking of the obvious. 
They spoke about how Farrakhan is on the CIA payroll but why. Van Jones is on the same payroll as well as Bill Ayes The reason will be to provide a government split into sections 1 a Black nation for Islam 2 a communist nation , 3 a socialist nation. And one will be were the We the people who revolt against them will stay and live. This country will be divided into 4 sections . The South may be the We the People, the north east maybe the Nation of Islam, the upper mid-west may be the Socialist and the Communist will be beyond the Rockies. 
Alaska and Hawaii will stand on its own the new Switzerland
Now we're getting somewhere! C'mon, pops, get with it. You'll be speaking wingnut in no time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

THE CONSERVATIVE INTELLECTUAL TRADITION, PART 430,292. I see Perfesser Glenn Reynolds is back on the air. Let's look in:
YOU KNOW WHO HAS MORE PRIVATE-SECTOR BUSINESS EXPERIENCE THAN BARACK OBAMA? Yeah, Mitt Romney, sure. Everybody knows that. But also Rush Limbaugh. And I don’t mean for his radio show — his iced tea business is the real deal. I ordered tea Sunday night, and (with free shipping) got it this morning. That’s the kind of service I normally expect from Amazon and not much of anyone else. I don’t know how much tea he’s selling, but it’s probably a lot, and it’s certainly more product than Obama has ever sold. It’s good tea, too . . .
I forget. What is this guy famous for, again? I thought I had some idea, but it turned out I was thinking of Larry King.

UPDATE. From comments: "Kroger will sell you a gallon of the Turkey Hill iced tea for $2.29, and their house brand for $1.39. (It's on sale this week.) Maybe when you've got a well-padded ass resting in an oversized McMansion in a suburb that's far, far away from commercial development or funny-colored people it's worth the $10/gallon premium to have someone bring your iced tea to your door..." Well, you know, BigHank53: Markets in everything.

Other wiseguys run up the flagpole MotherFucking Iced Tea™, Crunchy Con Flakes, etc.
ALEC AKBAR. Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute at the Washington Times:
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recently came under attack from left-wing activists for meeting with representatives of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nationwide association of conservative state legislators. This is but the latest salvo in a sustained attack on ALEC from the political left. The governor rightly has ignored the attacks, which really are efforts to stifle political speech.
Translation: About 30 people demonstrated on the sidewalk, and they weren't holding BREITBART IS HERE signs, so it's an "attack" -- indeed, a "salvo"! -- rather than Tea Party free speech.
ALEC’s critics paint it as a shadowy organization that pushes ready-made legislation to advance a corporate agenda. In reality... 
In reality, or at least grammatical reality, you would expect the author to address these charges next. But Smith isn't done crying victim:
...the attack on ALEC is part of a much broader attack by those seeking to drive all market voices from the marketplace of ideas. ALEC’s critics say they object to its tactics, but what they really seek to attack is its ideological principles: free markets and limited government.
And apple pie. Don't forget apple pie.

In the course of this short editorial, Smith uses the word "attack" eight times. By the end, he's stepped it up to "thuggery" and "strong-arm tactics." Yet as aficionados of the genre will have guessed, Smith cites in evidence nothing more thuggish than that small sidewalk protest. His other claims are even sillier. Get a load, and I do mean load, of this:
This effort to drive out pro-market voices is far more extensive than the attack on ALEC. Anti-business forces already have succeeded at excluding business experts from governmental policy advisory councils and imposing second-class status on them in academic journals. Any nonprofit political organization that receives business funding comes under constant attack - unless, that is, the funding is aimed at expanding the size and scope of government.
Smith doesn't bother to explain how the big bad lefties are "imposing second-class status" on "business experts" in "academic journals." Maybe some think-tank like ALEC or CEI tried to plant propaganda in some peer-reviewed publications, and they didn't go for it. "Constant attack" we can take to mean that somebody disagreed with them, out loud. Actually that's all any of it means.

I talk here from time to time about the insidiousness of propaganda, and how its practitioners are not just making bogus cases but also corrupting the language by the poisonous example of their obliviousness to meaning. Smith's effort is an especially clear example -- not fancied up by one of those bards of bullshit trained at Reason or the Wall Street Journal, but done straight to the template by someone too busy, uninterested, or incapable of normal human interaction to do anything else.

Smith may be as terrible a writer as he appears, but I wouldn't swear to it, because the sort of thing he's doing doesn't call for good writing -- it calls for its opposite. Good writing is supposed to clarify, and Smith's intention is to obfuscate.

He has a strong motivation to do so. Some folks besides the usual suspects have caught on to ALEC, and are reporting its true mission of muscling government to do the bidding of business (and lying about it). Even worse, this reporting has actually been heeded by audiences, causing businesses and politicians to disassociate themselves from ALEC.

Smith could have told us all that, but doing so would have invited readers to ask what's so unjust about the press accurately reporting what ALEC does, and ALEC affiliates deciding to quit the organization in consequence. They might then figure out that Smith's only real complaint is that his team suffers from it. So Smith just plays victim up and down the block -- which is still ridiculous, as both CEI and ALEC are well-connected and -funded wingnut welfare queens. But victim status, as has been obvious for decades, is the one reliable equity of modern conservative thought, and in the last ditch that's what they go with.

Besides, it's in the Washington Times -- it doesn't have to be too convincing. Sometimes you just gotta go through the motions. Don't cry, it's soft duty and the money's good!

Christ, I'm glad I'm not in that line of work.

Monday, May 14, 2012

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about Obama's gay marriage statement and the delusional rightblogger reactions. One of the main reasons I believe in the justice of marriage equality is that the guys who are against it write such incredibly shitty polemics. Clear thinking makes clear writing,  and the obverse is also true.  Get a load of this from The Right Scoop:
They are actually comparing race to sexual preference? Yes, I said preference. Unlike skin color, there is NO evidence to support the idea that babies are born gay. People want to believe it’s innate but it’s just that, a belief. And a well crafted belief to elevate the idea of being gay far above preference into something that can tear at the fabric of the institution of marriage.
I suppose it's elitist of me to say so, but when your opponents argue like this, you can be reasonably certain you've picked the right side.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A FAR GONE CONCLUSION. Well, I asked for a new meme to replace the "Obama plots to lose in 2012 and come back in future gay America" one, and Jeffrey T. Kuhner at the Washington Times has delivered: By endorsing gay marriage, Obama is committing "political suicide" on purpose because he hates this country and, with this "latest onslaught on traditional America," means to kill it once and for all, even if he has to sacrifice himself to do it.  He's our first suicide bomber President!
The ultimate aim of the radical left has been to destroy religion - especially Western Christendom. Once a religion dies, so does the culture and civilization it spawned. America is at a crossroads, enmeshed in a cultural war with homosexual advocates like Mr. Obama who are determined to strike at the very nexus of our civilization.
Give him this much -- Kuhner, "a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute" (and author of a 2011 WashTimes article that celebrated the dedication of the MLK Memorial by informing us on what a commie bastard King was) is little inclined to play the compassionate-conservative games his comrades go for. At one point he tells us:
The liberal media, such as the New York Times, consistently portray anti-gay-marriage advocates as bigots. This is nonsense. Most Americans are neither intolerant nor bigoted.
Just when you're expecting to hear him defend that claim of toleration with Dick Cheney and the boys at the Log Cabin Club, Kuhner goes with this:
Every major religious faith - Christianity, Islam, Orthodox Judaism - teaches that homosexuality is an abomination. Homosexual behavior, especially sodomy, is unnatural and immoral.
That's a choice not an echo right there.

While I never had much respect for the Washington Times (they used to let John Podhoretz review movies, for God's sake), lately they seem to have entered a particularly degenerate era. I assume they're just keeping up with their readership.
YOU KNOW IT'S BULLSHIT WHEN... Mickey Kaus gets in on it. Remember that Obama/Grover Cleveland conspiracy Aaron Goldstein floated the other day? Twitter correspondent @westwit tipped me to this from Kaus:
Thinking two steps ahead? If Barack Obama loses the 2012 election, do you think he’s going to quit elective politics...? I don’t. I think he’s going to run again, Grover Cleveland style. That casts possible additional (distant) light on today’s endorsement of same-sex marriage: It may or may not help Obama in 2012. But it would much more reliably likely help him in 2016, when public opinion can be expected to have shifted further in favor of this social innovation. It would certainly help him in the Democratic primaries...
And he didn't mention me or Goldstein. I thought Kaus knew how to logroll if nothing else. Well, at least I have the comfort of knowing that within days Kaus' contribution will also be forgotten, as the whole Obama-threw-2012-for-fags thing becomes received wingnut wisdom. Next meme, please.

UPDATE, many days later: I just noticed Kaus updated his post to credit Goldstein and myself. Say what you will, the man's a pro.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

JESUS WANTS ME FOR A DUMB SCHEME. I hope you've all been enjoying the latest conservative counterintuition: That Fox News is in the tank for gay marriageRod Dreher is right in there, telling us one of his famous stories about how ten years ago a "Fox staffer" told him he "had been told not to touch anything to do with homosexuality" -- in the specific context, that is, of Rod's big scoop on "the role homosexual networks within the seminaries and the Catholic clergy have played in the [child abuse] cover-ups." (This was before Dreher decided that it was not the gay nets per se but the "cultural Left" that caused the altar-boy daisy-chains. Or is that the same thing?) "This was policy handed down from the very top of the network," the apparatchik allegedly told him. Straight from the Gay Fox Kremlin!

Ah, how this takes me back -- specifically, to 2007, when Brother Rod was ecstatic that Foxy "Uncle Rupert" Murdoch had bought Beliefnet:
This is good for Beliefnet, trust me. Murdoch is an Internet visionary, and his deep pockets will only allow this website to diversity and improve its content. I have absolutely no fear at all that Team Rupert will in any way dictate content. Murdoch's core ideology is capitalism -- for better and for worse.
Happy capitalist Uncle Rupert is Jesus' best friend until it's time for the story to change. Outrage, for these people, is a little tin clicker they keep in a box until opportunity demands they take it out, stand on a soapbox, hold it righteously aloft and feverishly fiddle. That the scam sometimes involves a pretense of interest in the truth probably amuses someone Dreher's working for, though I don't think Dreher himself understands what's funny about it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

HEADLINE SAYS, "OBAMA CAN'T SWIM." The first U.S. President to declare his support for gay marriage is getting a predictable reaction from idiots. I think Gerard Vanderleun deserves some sort of prize, though. His first rapid response was that Obama is gay:
As the country's majorities again confirm at the ballot box they are not in favor of gay "marriage," the nation's ostensible leader continues an evolutionary decloseting whose speed is lapped, so to speak, by the platypus. The delay is puzzling to me. Given the fact that Obama is the gayest straight man ever to hold the office of the president, I fail to see what the problem is in his coming out of the closet on a rocket...

Gee whiz. I wonder if Obama will come out or not. He could of course avoid taking a "position" simply giving Andrew Sullivan one hot evening in the Lincoln Bedroom and leaking the photographs to, but some things are just too revolting to evolve into.
Vanderleun then stuck up an old post in which he pretended to be cool with gay marriage ("can't we take a step back and draw a deep breath, smell the winds of change and admit that Gay Marriage is a done deal?"), while describing himself (quite unnecessarily) as "compulsively heterosexual."

This kind of nutshells the schtick all around: It's not that they're against gay people (notwithstanding that only this morning they were beating their chests over the defeat of gay marriage and civil unions in North Carolina) -- it's all about the flip-flopping, or the attack on religion ("BREAKING: Obama casts faith aside," "Obama Continues Attacks On Christian Church... He just threw MILLIONS of Christian Americans under the bus," etc), or Obama is looking for "gay money" or some shit.

It would be one thing, a very small thing, if you could believe for a nanosecond that all these guys who say they have nothing against gay people would actually be glad marriage equality got a little closer to the goal line so long as Obama could be denied any credit for it.  But they don't care about that; as we saw with the Osama Bin Laden hit, they don't care about anything except winning.

Obama's a politician, but at least he's playing out his string in the right direction. The other guys are more like those deranged spouses who'll shoot up a crowded room just to get a bead on the one who made them feel small.

UPDATE. BTW 2nding this.

UPDATE 2. I mean, come on -- Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator:
Now I happen to support same sex marriage. But Obama is only supporting it because it is now politically expedient for him to do so.
This isn't Murder in the Cathedral, it's American politics. Lincoln didn't issue the Emancipation Proclamation till halfway through the Civil War. We take what we can get when we can get it.

Also, Goldstein seems to think Obama is planning a Grover Cleveland, or maybe a John Quincy Adams:
But let's say Obama loses in November. He has a ready made excuse for his defeat. Obama can say that the forces of darkness (i.e. opponents of gay marriage) are to blame for his defeat while patting himself on the back for his "courage" in supporting same sex marriage. It also helps to position him for a comeback in 2016 or 2020. Make no mistake. If Obama loses this fall it won't be the last we see of him. By that time with a greater presence of voters born after 1980 chances are there will be more voters in favor of gay marriage which would give Obama an opportunity to claim he was ahead of the curve.
"Claim he was ahead of the curve" is a hell of a thing to say under the circumstances. But you know you've really gone off the edge of the table when you're accusing a sitting U.S. President of supporting gay marriage in an election year so he can win some other election. Maybe next they'll accuse him of angling for U.N. Secretary-General.

UPDATE 3. I might have known: In comments (which are excellent BTW) sxp151 informs me that Niles Gardiner already accused Obama of angling for U.N. Secretary-General:
President Obama seems increasingly uncomfortable in domestic US settings, but highly energised when speaking abroad, especially to audiences that are traditionally anti-American. Which is why, if he loses in 2012, which is now increasingly likely, he might see the position of UN Secretary General as a natural fit.
It bothers me, because I'm just trying to get laughs, and they're trying to take over the world. I should have the advantage.
LOG CABIN BONFIRE. North Carolina has passed its anti-gay-marriage amendment, and conservatives are rejoicing. I'm really not seeing much of the more-in-sorrow-than-anger, we-love-you-we-just-don't-think-you're-as-good-as-us schtick they pull when they're pretending to be new model wingnuts who wouldn't discriminate against a fly. With a few admirable exceptions, they're either full-throatedly shouting approval or ignoring the news, hoping to keep their hands clean for the next gay outreach.

At the PJ Tatler, Bryan Preston seems to have had a bit too much champagne.
In the aftermath of North Carolina’s vote, this NewsObserver photo may reveal what Barack Obama and the Democrats fear the most. [photo of black people cheering news] Black churches overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage.
This is one of their great dreams: That they can get the blacks to kill the gays for them, thus winning control of the board from the Democrat plantation masters. But after another Dixie cup of Freixenet, Preston grows maudlin:
Democrats use black churches and black pastors to spread their party’s message from pulpits every Sunday during election season. No one should be under any illusions that supporting gay marriage could cost Obama the black vote. It won’t.
A loyal supporter busts some amyl under his nose and Preston comes back to life:
November will be about the economy, full stop. But it could cost him enough of the black vote to hurt him in November. It could erode support and enthusiasm for Democrats generally.
See, hatred of homosexuals can turn America Republican all by itself -- we won't even need the blackity-blacks to do it! It's win-win!
That’s what Obama fears, and it’s part of the reason he did not want to be seen opposing Amendment 1 in North Carolina the day voters approved it. So Obama canceled his event in North Carolina today and dances his ludicrous dance on gay marriage. The only real evolution he is undergoing is tactical. His opinions have been set in stone since he was a sarong-wearing college kid doing crossword puzzles in his composite girlfriend’s apartment.
Ha ha ha ha, ludicrous dance in a sarong! [Minces around PJHQ, limp-wristedly flapping his hands]
Polling on gay marriage may be a bit like polling on Obama’s personal approval rating: Useless. People do not want to tell pollsters that they dislike Barack Obama personally, even though they really do, fearing that saying they dislike him will make them appear racist or mean.
Bet you didn't know that Gallup, Harris, and all those guys send Black Panthers to your house to do the questionnaires.Try telling them you don't like Obama!
The truth is, he often comes off as an aloof know-it-all who either doesn’t know what he’s doing, or does know what he’s doing and is being intentionally destructive. He often comes off as dishonest, hypocritical, and a bit of a jerk. He’s a bore who never says anything interesting unless he’s talking basketball. It’s not hard to imagine him singing the old country song “Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble When You’re Perfect In Every Way” and mean it.
Give Preston credit: He's neatly encapsulated the entire conservative case against Obama, except for, you know [pushes in nose, sticks out tongue and bottom lip].

Eventually a wearied Preston gets right down to the nub of his argument:
But people don’t want to say that out loud, since we’re all supposed to pretend that he’s someone we’d like to hang out with whether we agree with his politics or not...
Likewise, people apparently will tell a pollster one thing about their view of gay marriage to appear tolerant or with the times, but when they’re alone in the voting booth, they think about the issue in a more serious way.
There you have it, folks: Americans pretend to like black and gay people, but in reality they're miserable bigots like Bryan Preston. 'Less'n ole Bry thinks he's sumpthin' better than they are...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

NOTHING MEANS NOTHING ANYMORE. It's hard to pick among the various idiots who heard about the White House staff's booking procedures for families with pregnant members whose kids may be born in time for their tours, and disseminated it as White House Registers Fetuses Skreee Outrage. But you can at least feel almost sorry for Mollie Hemingway at James Poulos' Hipsterbunker, who apparently hasn't quite gotten the hang of soulless apparatchik behavior:
Update: I posted this, then pulled the post on account of believing it must be some hoax. It must be a hoax, right? Why would any White House need this information, much less one as supportive of abortion as this one? It doesn't make sense to me. In any case, here's a copy of the email used to source the story, courtesy of the Washington Free Beacon. 
But someone must explain this to me, if it's not a hoax. Why would the White House need this information? I mean, I tell my children about the baseball games they attended in utero. And I even let them count it toward their list of stadiums they've visited. But, then again, I'm pro-life.
Then, buried down in the comments section where no normal person will see them:
OK, so the idea appears to be that if your child will be born by the time of a scheduled tour, you register him or her before they're born. 
At least that sort of makes sense. 
Still fascinating that such an abortion-supportive regime would treat unborn children as people.
Yeah, and the Obamanazis' so-called "census" (Where's that in the Constitution, huh?) also asks for your -- get this -- "place of birth." Birth! They admit babies are born! What a bunch of hypocrites!

Doesn't matter. At the GOP convention every speaker will make a joke about the registered fetuses, as well as the fake birth certificate, the Michelle Obama "Whitey" tape, etc., though everyone will grow grave and silent when the multitude honors Andrew Breitbart and pledges to avenge his murder.

I'm beginning to incline toward conspiracy theories now, myself. At present I strongly suspect these guys are all paid off by the DNC.

CULTURE WAR FOR DUMMIES. As a sensible person might have guessed, Jim Downey, the guy who wrote the unused Saturday Night Live sketch about Obama and Bin Laden, denies there was anything political about its absence from last weekend's show. Of course there is always something political going on behind the scenes at a professional entertainment concern, but the politics are usually that of the show's often constitutionally insecure workers (as hundreds of sour SNL reminiscences demonstrate), and not the tedious sort that usually concerns us here. Who knows who's trying to screw whom over there, and on what basis? But it probably isn't foreign policy.

Nonetheless as I mentioned yesterday the exclusion became a Thing among rightbloggers, who seldom sputter more than when the subject is, even just ostensibly, culture, pop or otherwise. E.g.: "Good politically-oriented comedy usually has an element of courage. It's not blind in the left eye with microscopic vision in the right," lectures some guy at Ace Of Spades, quoting Bergson, I think.

National Review even brought in Wall Street Journal comedy legend John Fund, who explained to readers, in his famously winsome style, that the "censored script" was in point of fact and on the merits a laff riot, and called for collective action against the unfair practices at SNL:
I’ve never met Jim Downey, the author of the scrapped script, but I can only hope people who believe in equal-opportunity potshots rise to his defense.
Fund probably thinks it works like the morning news shows: Make a big enough stink that they have to make sure you have equal time, and when they do keep bitching about bias until they're afraid to ever seriously challenge you.

UPDATE. They're still at it. Some guy at Gene Lalor's blog provides a timeline of the conspiracy:
In deference to complaints by arch-racial agitator Rev. Jesse Jackson and in conformity with a concerted effort to compensate for alleged discrimination toward African-Americans in the entertainment industry, Hollywood and television producers caved and today blacks are more than well-represented on the silver and TV screens.

They bent over backwards, upside-down and every whichway to assure blacks that the entertainment industry was not only not racist but that they would slander conservatives in the process in order to prove their how liberal they were. revealed that “SNL” has caved again, this time to advance the Obama 2012 re-election campaign.
Tim Meadows was the thin end of the wedge!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger confusion over the composite characters in Dreams From My Father.  This shit is so stupid that at this point I don't think they even care if anyone else is reading it, let alone convinced by it -- they're just sitting in the back making fart noises, figuratively speaking (though perhaps literally, too).

UPDATE. In keeping with our recent Sunday night tradition of putting something stupid by Ann Althouse in the Voice link post, here's Tbogg on the stupid something. Because who wants to risk staring directly into that mess?

UPDATE 2. Whoops, had to fix the link for Tbogg, because I accidentally stuck in one about the latest serious conservative outrage: Saturday Night Live cut a sketch about Obama because bias. No, I'm not kidding. Everyblogger who's anybody from Gateway Jim Hoft to guest Perfesser Ed Driscoll is bitching about it, and about how (breaking!) SNL isn't funny anymore. This is an important front in the culture war, one that's sure to be the making of Greg Gutfield.

Also too: Attention must be paid to the great comments here, including that of Spaghetti Lee: "How do you murder someone Chicago-style? Drown them in tomato sauce?"

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

SHORTER BYRON YORK: Romney aide Richard Grenell was not forced out by social conservatives. He wasn't really even an aide. Rather, he is a radical homosexual activist who won the trust of the Romney campaign, then attacked it from within as a gay suicide bomber.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

HIP TO BE SQUARE. I mentioned in my most recent Voice column Jonah Goldberg's typically incisive response to the whole alleged issue of Obama being too cool:
I wish the ad had at least one or two really solid clips conveying how despearately Obama wants to seem cool, which is always the great coolness-killer. It would have helped set the tone of the ad much better. What would those clips be? I'm not sure, but then again I'm not making the ad. Michael Moore seems to find a way to find that kind of footage pretty easily, and I have no doubt it can be found in Obama's case.
If only we had a picture of him with poop in his pants, holding a commie flag, everyone'd know what a poopy-pants commie he is! Faart. Yet it appears someone took not only this ridiculous subject but also Goldberg's thinly-veiled bleg seriously. At her internet Sunday school, The Anchoress prowls the aisles with a metal ruler and tells you what's cool and what isn't:
Have you heard the news? Barack Obama is cool!

He’s not just cool, he’s way cool; the coolest thing ever!
Too bad she forgot to link to a citation; I'd love to know what idiot said that.
Never having been “cool” myself (or desperate enough to seek its conferral upon me by people I always found to be rather sad trend-followers)...
While you so-called cool kids were friggin' and frugin' in your discos, The Anch was pretending to be a nun. That's totally Goth!
Coolness does not need anyone to define it, but allow me to try.
How much time we would save if only The Anchoress could occasionally remember the thing she said just before the thing she said.
The quality of “coolness” contains within it an attitude of discrete detachment, which is not the same as aloofness. It suggests an intellect attuned to a different frequency—perhaps to a higher muse—but still comfortable sharing the ground with the rest of us. Its muted confidence is so supreme...
On and on goes Sister Malizia's cool lesson, and just as the boys and girls are about to nod off she pulls out the visuals:
Come to think of it, by these definitions, one could safely opine that the “coolest” leaders currently athwart the world’s stage are still England’s Queen Elizabeth II, who recently crashed a wedding simply to wish a bridal couple well, and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who takes the daily piñata beatings that come his way in stride, and answers with a blessing.
Somehow I don't think this will get the kids to throw in their porkpie hats for mitres and crowns, much as I would enjoy that.

Meanwhile Ole Perfesser Instapundit uses reader mail to explain how uncool Obama really is:
My theory is Obama represents the supremacy (however short-lived) of the beta-male. The only people who think he’s a hep-cat are hipster betas and 60′s radical-nostalgia dopes (also perennial personal-risk-averse betas who never did anything bold on their own). It’s all projection, much like the rest of the way that demographic operates
The thing about the "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members" attitude is, it's more impressive when Groucho Marx says it than when some guy who writes letters to Instapundit says it.

How hard this all is for them -- because once upon a time, they were cool. Back in the 1980s Reagan was everyone's daddy, John Paul II did a world tour and danced with the kids, and everyone dressed and wanted to be like characters from Dynasty. Fashions fade, though, and you're left with the enduring values behind what made your heroes cool. In their case that's tax breaks for the rich, endless wars, and persecution of homosexuals. We already had a retro revival of that:

I'm not sure the time is right for another. But who knows? Show biz is tricky.

UPDATE. "Weren't these the same guys who insisted that George Bush calling people 'Stretch' and 'Pooty-poot' was a veritable laff riot?" asks Doghouse Riley in comments. mortimer reminds us that Lisa Schiffren wrote "an entire, very wet column" in the Wall Street Journal about how "she and her soccer mom friends" found Bush "'hot' as in virile, sexy and powerful." Not to mention proto-Anchoress Peggy Noonan's swoon over both the President's testicles. Chacun à son ghoul.