Friday, August 22, 2014

FRIDAY AROUND-THE-HORN.

•  Hey, guess who got in on Ferguson: Maggie Gallagher. I'm not kidding! If you know her work as head of the Anti-Sex League, you'll know her passive-aggressive style, which she replicates here: A lot of shit about Michael Brown ("'That Indian clerk he roughed up was so small. He must have been so scared'") and love for the cops,  followed by a bullshit plea for tolerance:
We have to find a way out of tribalism, back to America.

During my years leading the fight against gay marriage, there were so many efforts to paint a picture of me as motivated by anti-gay hatred, and there were so many people hoping I would respond in kind. Some who opposed gay marriage even criticized me for refusing to strike back. They saw my gestures of respect for gay-marriage advocates as a desperate attempt to placate, rather than as a refusal to become the caricature my opponents hoped to make me.

To make something good improbably come out of Ferguson will require work from both sides of the racial and political divide.
If this were a vaudeville sketch, this is where the cops and the protesters would stop fighting and unite to beat up Maggie Gallagher. Also in the article: "I don’t want to respond with tit-for-tat stories about race," followed by tit-for-tat stories about race, and many other such examples of the Gallagher method which lead me to believe that even the racists won't be returning her calls.

•  At The Federalist, Daniel Payne is disgusted that Richmond, Virginia joined the National School Lunch Program so those little moochers statists like to call "children" will get free food:
It’s bad enough that we’ll have more students belly up to the government food trough (if you’ve never had a taste of “free” government lunch, consider yourself lucky); instead, consider RPS Superintendent Dana Bedden’s positive gushing about the new program: “I like it for the health and nutrition aspect, but this also removes the stigma of free lunch. Everyone can eat.” 
Ah, “stigma:” one of the last great impediments to full-blown government dependency.
Whereas if we had the little bastards clean toilets for their gruel, it'd be morally-educational. Alas,  "The Left wants the citizenry as dependent upon government as possible," says Payne. Because what other possible reason would they have for using tax dollars to feed children?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

HOW THE SHITTY HAVE FALLEN.

Since George F. Will got a gig as a Fox correspondent, his standards (such as they are) have certainly dropped:
In physics, a unified field theory is an attempt to explain with a single hypothesis the behavior of several fields. Its political corollary is the Cupcake Postulate, which explains everything, from Missouri to Iraq, concerning Americans’ comprehensive withdrawal of confidence from government at all levels and all areas of activity. 
Washington’s response to the menace of school bake sales illustrates progressivism’s ratchet..
[Blah blah food police Moochelle broccoli argh blargh]
What has this to do with police, from Ferguson, Mo., to your home town, toting marksman rifles, fighting knives, grenade launchers and other combat gear? Swollen government has a shriveled brain: By printing and borrowing money, government avoids thinking about its proper scope and actual competence. So it smears mine-resistant armored vehicles and other military marvels across 435 congressional districts because it can.
So, the explanation is: The connection between these two things is that they are stupid, and so is Big Gummint.
Contempt for government cannot be hermetically sealed; it seeps into everything. Which is why cupcake regulations have foreign policy consequences.
"Cupcake regulations have foreign policy consequences." Maybe he's just going senile?

THE WORLD IS SO FULL OF A NUMBER OF THINGS...

Since that Robert Tracinski column about Ayn Rand's heroes looking for love I've been checking out his venue, The Federalist, and I must say it's a treasure-trove of old-fashioned virtues-'n'-values nonsense, with titles like "If Millennials Want Liberty, They Need Virtue Too." (Author Rachel Lu promotes something called "virtue-interested libertarians," or as we call them around here "the worst of both worlds.")

I could go on about it all day, and I'll certainly have more later, but for the moment I'll just leave you with this wonderful passage by D.C. McAllister:
If we’re going to warn people of the perils of Big Gulps and French fries, shouldn’t we warn them of the dangers of sex?
The title of this essay is "Stop Pretending Sex Never Hurts." Amazingly, there's no cross-promotion with Astroglide.

I have to say I'm enjoying the conservative movement's Libertarian Moment much more than I expected.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED.

When we last paid attention to Robert Tracinski in 2013, he was telling the GOP how to be winners again. The whole piece is ridic, but Tracinski got a little interesting (that is to say, heated) when he talked about a certain author:
Yet the biggest failure of the right is that it has lost the economy’s technological elite. Admirers of Ayn Rand’s novels can immediately grasp why this is so important... 
Today’s John Galts and Hank Reardens are not in a valley in Colorado. They’re in a valley in California. The Hank Rearden of Silicon Valley, an innovator who started out in a garage and built a company which became the most valuable in the world, was Steve Jobs. But Jobs was—let’s be honest here—kind of a hippie. He had many of the virtues of an Ayn Rand hero, but a very different personal philosophy...
He never did finish this thought, probably because the vision of turtlenecked Producers transported him. Anyway, Traciniski's back at The Federalist, and he's really letting his Rand flag fly in something entitled "All An Ayn Rand Hero Really Wants Is Love." I have read the whole thing and I'm pretty sure it's not a joke.

His big point is: you littlebrains think Rand was for the rich and against the poor, but nuh-uh, because several Atlas Shrugged characters renounce their wealth  and go Galt -- and get rich again, but on their terms because they're naturally superior to the horrible statists like you. [retucks shirt]

Edifying as this lecture and its presumed effect on the crowds on his bedroom wall may have been for Tracinski, he seems unsatisfied, so he goes One Step Beyond and tries to us tell us not only that these characters are better at life and inventing and managerizing than the sheeple, but also that they are better at emotions:
...one of the very first things we learn about these tough, pitiless Ayn Rand heroes is their emotional vulnerability. One of the big themes that drives the plot throughout Part 1 is the loneliness of the producers.
The Loneliness of the Producers should definitely be the name of a slashfic site.
The novel projects a culture in which what they do is not recognized, valued, or rewarded. Or rather, since both Dagny and Rearden have been very successful in economic terms, they have been rewarded only with money, and they treat that as if it is the least important reward.
You even see them sighing and weeping sometimes, but eventually they find and form "family" with a bunch of other rich fucks and they all live productively ever after. They are so not cheesy antique wish-fulfillment objects for the little children inside who never got over their playmates' laughter.

The punch line? Tracinski's working on a reader's guide to Atlas Shrugged, and directs us to another site where, now that he has our attention...
My target is to raise $25,000 to buy back more of my time from other projects and focus on completing my Reader’s Guide to Atlas Shrugged in the next few months. Please, if you think this project is valuable, go to www.TracinskiLetter.com/subscribe to contribute. 
This is the kind of project that might normally be funded by a think tank or foundation, but my readers know that I have always been an independent voice.
By my life and my love of it, that's rich! When next I'm out on the street, I'll front my begging bowl with a sign that says INDEPENDENT VOICE SEEKS CROWDFUNDING, see how that works, and recalibrate my opinion of mankind accordingly.

UPDATE. In comments, cleter has a brainstorm:
"No amount of car elevators could fill the emptiness in Mitt Romney's heart. He didn't need more wealth, all he needed was love. And there, standing next to his Mercedes, he wept. All he wanted was slightly over 50% of America's love...."
From "Atlas Shrugged II: The Secret of Romney's Gold," by Brian Herbert and Ayn Rand Jr.

IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT.

This week has pretty much clarified what "the libertarian moment" really is: While that Times article  portrayed it as a historical moment, events show that it has become an actual moment -- something lasting only briefly, but calculated to have a long-term effect.

Take, for example,  "Why the ‘War on Journalists’ in Ferguson?" by Rick Moran. Readers of his impeccably rightwing venue, the PJ Tatler, may from the headline expect one of those columns featuring, in the words Timothy P. Carney, "wisdom shared by libertarians and conservatives" -- that is, conservatives of both kinds united to fight the power of Big Police.

However, Moran is actually with the cops:
It is unrealistic for reporters to think that police approach anyone not wearing blue during a riot with anything but suspicion. This is especially true when they are under gun fire, and Molotov Cocktails and rocks are being thrown at them. It appears that many of the detentions have occurred when reporters either got in the way or were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And on and on like that. But! Then Moran drops this:
On the other hand, there have been some questionable actions by police directed at reporters, like the incident mentioned above at the McDonald’s last week where two reporters were roughed up and dragged off to jail.
That done, it's back to stuff like
Do reporters think they should have free rein to run around a riot ignorantly, putting themselves and the police who try to assist them in danger?... That ignorance is going to get one of them killed unless they’re more careful.
That "on the other hand" section may seem to normal readers like a weird hiccup -- only there because of a nervous editor, perhaps, or a debilitating stroke.

But that was the actually the column's "libertarian moment" -- that is, the short part of it where the conservative writer pays homage to this libertarian thing they're all supposed to get with.

You can see something similar in Jonah Goldberg's latest. Mostly it's a fist-shaking fart-cloud about stupid liberals and black people who are always rioting for reasons he can't understand. It might have been written after an Abner Louima demonstration, that's how old-school this joint is -- Goldberg even namechecks the Nation of Islam, and the column is illustrated with a photo of Al Sharpton! But you don't get to be a top Professor of Liberal Fasciology by ignoring what the new breed is up to, and in his summation Goldberg makes room for the trope du jour:
Nearly everything about this story is ugly: the gleeful ideological and bureaucratic point-scoring, the spectacle of a militarized police force and bunkered police leadership, the self-congratulatory advocacy journalism, the Molotov cocktails and despondent victims of looting, the feeding frenzy of Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and countless lesser activist remoras, and — perhaps most of all — the constant soul-corrupting rationalizations of lawlessness that come with seeing the right “context.” (Context! Is there nothing it can’t do?)
See? He got the militarized police in there, nestled among the usual bullshit, so you New Age types can enjoy your racism and authoritarianism with a clear conscience.

You'll be seeing many such libertarian moments sitting on many conservative columns, like cherries on shit sundaes, until this whole thing blows over.

UPDATE. In comments, Bizarro Mike: "Maybe they could sell Libertarian Moments™ collectible figurines. You know, like Precious Moments™, but standing on their own, facing off the tax man come to make them pay grazing fees."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A DREAM DEFERRED.

In my Voice column I mentioned some folks who thought Ferguson would prove a libertarian inflection point for conservatives, and I see some of them are still at it. Under the headline "Ferguson Is The Beginning Of The End For Conservatives’ 'War On Crime,'" BuzzFeed's Evan McMorris-Santoro offers the testimony of Grover Norquist and Chuck DeVore, two conservative factota who think they see an opening here:
“On the crime stuff, a Republican can stand up and challenge the aggressiveness of the cops,” said Grover Norquist, top dog at Americans For Tax Reform and a supporter of criminal justice changes. “Democrats are surrounded by the images of people who defend Mumia or whoever that guy is who killed those cops"... 
“If our policies were in place,” DeVore said, Ferguson might not have the some of the divides he sees as at the root of the turmoil this week. 
“Perhaps there would be lower unemployment,” he said. “Perhaps there would be more two-parent households.”
The opportunistic tone, at least, is convincing. But I fear the moment is passing. As I said yesterday, take a look at National Review to see which way the stagnant wind blows. Charles C.W. Cooke, who has been among NR's stronger civil-libertarian voices on this subject, has retreated to his comfort zone -- i.e., nuh-uh-you-stupid-liberals, America still rules  -- as his colleagues go full lawn-order all around him.

The latest such salvo comes from Victor Davis Hanson, who is enraged that some measure of order was brought to Ferguson's streets, because it was New Black Panther Malik Shabazz who brought it. Imagine, when Jesse Jackson freed Navy Airman Robert Goodman from Syria in 1984, even Ronald Reagan said "you can't argue with success" -- but for Hanson, Shabazz's assist represents "at least a partial erosion of legal authority in Ferguson," which he finds "emblematic of our times in which the sanctity of established law exists only to the degree that it is considered useful in promoting a more egalitarian agenda. In the matter of the recent influx at the southern border..." You can smell it coming: the lawless-Obama shtick, and how all his crimes from Benghazi to immigration have led to this moment:
And so we get the disreputable Malik Shabazz as a Robespierre-like street arbitrator of calm or violence in Ferguson, various ethnic pressure groups as de facto legislators adjudicating who will be granted access to the United States, and the current administration able to pick and choose which particular existing federal law is deemed fair and useful and which discriminatory and counter-productive — and rendered therefore null and void. 
In all these cases, any particular law at any particular moment can be judged obsolete and an impediment to social justice — and so it can be replaced immediately by a sort of revolutionary justice with the full backing of the administrative state.
Did I miss something? Was the cop who shot Michael Brown lynched? Or even arrested?

If none of that means anything, then let's just make it this:
Blacks and whites have sharply different reactions to the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., and the protests and violence that followed. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to say that the shooting of Michael Brown “raises important issues about race that need to be discussed"... 
Reactions to last week’s events in Ferguson divide the public by partisan affiliation and age, as well as by race. Fully 68% of Democrats (including 62% of white Democrats) think the Brown case raises important issues about race that merit discussion. Just 21% of Democrats (including 25% of white Democrats) say questions of race are getting more attention than they deserve. Among Republicans, opinion is almost the reverse – 61% say the issue of race has gotten too much attention while 22% say the case has raised important racial issues that need to be discussed.
Contra Norquist, "challenging the aggressiveness of the cops" has got nothing to do with it. The plain fact is, Republicans (and the conservatives for whom they serve as avatars) can't back off law-and-order because their cracker constituency demands it.

But don't worry -- you'll hear all these arguments again, only louder and unanimously, if someone tries to arrest Cliven Bundy.

UPDATE. In comments, Jay B responds to Hanson's fantasy that under the Kenyan Pretender "any particular law at any particular moment can be judged obsolete and an impediment to social justice":
What law was judged obsolete and by whom? The people of Ferguson, who believed in the Right to Assembly and Free Speech only to meet with the Hermann Goering Division, Mayberry Company? Or the cops themselves, who saw fit to murder a kid, then go ballistic on the people who got mad about it? Doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of law left at the particular moment, but thanks for being racist, VDH. It's clarifying. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...on the situation in Ferguson and the related rightblogger identity crisis: Should they let their lipstick libertarian experimentation go beyond the vanilla stuff, and into kinky places that might outrage Jennifer Rubin? Questions remain!

Lots of excess material here: In the section about rightbloggers claiming Ferguson has something to do with Second Amendment rights -- as if America would tolerate black citizens open-carrying en masse; forbid it almighty Reagan! -- I'd hoped to include this Tim Cavanaugh rant at National Review, in which Cavanaugh is so enraged that Tom Toles alluded in a disparaging manner to the NRA in a Ferguson cartoon that he starts emitting stank from every hole -- calling Toles "The Worst Cartoonist In America," snarling about "cheap and half-baked premises" and "barnacle-encrusted clichés," comparing Toles to "monstrous dictators," saying he "keeps his finger right on the pulse of 1979," calling his draftsmanship "visually repulsive" (not aurally repulsive, I guess)... it's so unhinged that Cavanaugh's lack of a coherent point doesn't explain it. Maybe it's a Nast/Tweed or a Goebbels/revolver thing?

UPDATE. If you want some idea of how the Ooga-Booga Squad is whipping the Lipstick Libertarians among conservatives, look at The Corner at National Review this morning. Samples:
  • "Ferguson Protester to Cop: ‘F*** You, N*****’." (The protester is black and the cop is white, so you can imagine how this will enrage your typical NatRev reader.)
  • Victor Davis Hanson: "The gratuitous looting and street violence, the almost instantaneous rush to blast the police by soon to be presidential candidate Rand Paul; the arrival of the usual demagogues — Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson ('state execution'), and the New Black Panther Party... so reminiscent of the Trayvon Martin Case..." If you're playing the Racist Pundit Talking Point Drinking Game, that's four stiff shots right there.
  • Jay Nordlinger: "Black person kills white person. Zzzzz. White person kills black person — the world stops." Once again white people get the short end of the stick! Also: "Michael Brown’s life or Trayvon Martin’s life would be just as valuable if a person of a different color had done the shooting" -- which is to say, from Nordlinger's perspective, not at all.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

FERGUSON FRAUDS, CONTINUED.

Glad to see things look a bit calmer in Ferguson. Meantime the conservative festival of bad faith continues -- Here's the loathsome Ben Domenech, trying to get with the lipstick-libertarian program at The Federalist:
This isn’t to say that only libertarians are suspicious of cops. There has always been a strain of conservatism very skeptical of government power...
Whereas liberals love cops. Remember Chicago in '68, where they were hugging their nightsticks?
The officer draws his gun and fires. The youth flees. He is apparently shot dead in the back from a distance. The story does not look good, at all. As my colleague Sean Davis noted yesterday, if a civilian had done this – even one who had truly been assaulted and feared for his life – they would be in jail right now waiting prosecution as opposed to on paid leave funded by the taxpayers.
Well, if he were white, maybe -- a black guy would just be dead, like Michael Brown. Moving on to secondary targets. Domenech acknowledges it was bad that the cops bullied the press in Ferguson, sort of, theoretically, but...
Journalists love nothing more than to write about themselves, and particularly to write about themselves as martyrs or heroes. So you can bet they’ll be paying attention, and writing some more pieces about their harsh abuse, as the streets descend into further violence. It’s not that your rights don’t matter, of course, it’s just that their rights, you see, are just more important. Some people are more equal than others.
Reporters aren't the only ones who are asking for it:
But have no fear, good people of Ferguson – the tragedy there has done nothing to interrupt the party in Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama toasted Vernon Jordan and danced the night away. It is good to know that no matter what troubles the populace endures, the monarch’s show goes on.
The real villains of Ferguson: Reporters and Obama. If you really want you head tied in knots, go see Mollie Hemingway talk about how Ferguson shows the value of the Second Amendment -- as if any black person who showed up packing during Ferguson's hot nights wouldn't have had his head blown off. I wonder if Hemingway even remembers what her hero Ronald Reagan did about black folks with guns. Christ, what a passel of frauds.

UPDATE. Comments are lovely. Whetstone:
I expect that Ben Domenech would be whistling a different tune if cops tear-gassed people who looted others' prose.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

HOW BULLSHIT WORKS, FERGUSON EDITION.

I'll have more on Ferguson, MO this weekend, but here's a good template for how it's going down with conservatives, from Terresa Monroe-Hamilton at Right Wing News: First, you lay out all sorts of they're-just-animals stuff --
As far as it is being told, Brown, who was a big boy, resisted arrest as he was being put in the cruiser. A tussle ensued where Brown tried to get a hold of the officer’s weapon. He then fled the scene and the cop pursued him...

The real festivities began after the shooting as riots began. Store owners stood outside their businesses with baseball bats and guns to protect their livelihoods. Which explains in part the quadrupled sales in guns across the St. Louis area – looks like the good residents there have a lot more God-given sense than previously thought... 
Rob at Joshuapundit astutely put it: “There’s nothing that says ‘social justice’ like smashing up and looting a convenience store, a grocery or a Wal-Mart.” Indeed. It’s a free for all baby and the crowd is into letting it burn, while yelling “death to all cops"... 
The guy pulled a gun on the officer and was shot for it. No tears here, but it will escalate things. Nearby, a woman was shot in the head in a drive-by. She’ll live, but if this keeps up, the bodies will start to pile up. Let the protests begin.
-- then, having mollified your ooga-booga constituents with this miserable display, you suddenly change gears and pitch it to the up-and-coming "libertarian" crowd (because it's their moment, y'know) --
As awful as the shootings and the senseless waste of life is, the underlying story lies with the police force itself in my eyes...

This is the evil gift of Obama’s governmental control fetish. He has facilitated police forces whose attire is fashioned after the US Marine Corps MARPAT camouflage pattern...

Not very professional conduct on the officer’s part and not how I choose to remember the men in blue who I have looked up to my whole life. I’m not sure when all of this morphed into the police turning into Obama’s new army.
This is not to excuse Obama, whose approach to the issue of cop-militarization expert Radley Balko calls "more of the same, and in some cases worse," but the police have been turning into mini-militaries for decades. Calling it "Obama's new army" is like calling it Obama's Iraq War -- which of course they've also been doing.

To see a middle-American cop gun down an unarmed black kid, and then see his colleagues go colonial on his black neighbors while arresting MSM reporters in a vain attempt to conceal it, and then say it's Obama's fault -- that is some bullshit. And it beautifully encapsulates a conservatarian strategy we've been seeing a lot of lately: Stroke the bigots who are mashing down black folks with one hand, while pathetically pressing the other against your brow and weeping crocodile tears for the civil liberties you claim Democrats stole from you.

RETURN TO LIBERTY ISLAND!

We've had some fun with Adam Bellow's band of merry rightwing littérateurs at Liberty Island, and now they're having some fun with us -- their current lead item is announced on the front page as "Liberty Island Makes 'Em Crazy -- A Sampling of Liberals Being Driven to Incoherence by Our Eloquence and Moxie." They link to our and others' bad reviews and say what silly liberals we all are. Good for them, though I must say Norman Mailer did it better.

They're still turning out unique material. Here are some passages from "The Enforcement of Happiness" by Jamie Wilson, which as you'd never guess is about some dystopian future OR IS IT when Gummint micromanages everything about us:
"We're from the Racial Relations Council? Health and Human Services?" The slight young man stepped in hesitantly, followed by a tiny Hispanic woman in a sensible black suit and an older black man wearing a pristine white lab coat. Marcus held his smile, though his forehead wrinkled a bit in confusion. What, he wondered, was up with the entourage? 
"I understand you needed to talk to me about racial compliance. As you have no doubt seen for yourself, our hiring patterns are--" 
Smith waved him off. "We have your records, sir. Blue Screen International has done a stellar job of racio-sexual/gender/ethno balancing."
Spoiler, Lloyd Marcus twist:
"And your wife is Mrs. Leticia Jackson, born in Biloxi, Mississippi. You yourself were born in Harlem?" 
"My parents worked hard to get me out of Harlem," Marcus said almost reflexively. 
The semi-autonomous Harlem, effectively a gang state, had a very bad name these days...
Damn liberals ruined that Harlem. You probably don't need or want any more hints, but here:
"So we're here as a courtesy. We would be happy to provide you with our new free government service, Racial Reassignment Treatment. One quick little prick--" he chuckled, "--and your insides match your outsides. It's tragic that pseudo-African-American people like Clarence Thomas and Condoleezza Rice did not have this option. It would have made their lives so much easier."...

The dark-skinned man in the lab coat leaned over Marcus. "Race traitor," he whispered. "Oreo. Uncle Tom."
It's the good black people versus the bad black people, which you have to admit is pretty classic.