Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Look up "free speech" at Chicks on the Right, and you'll find literally hundreds of stories, mostly about how campus leftists and SJWs are trying to suppress speech and speakers they find offensive ("Student government’s response? Free speech? That might hurt people’s FEEEEEEEEELINGS"). They are especially warm for the speech rights of controversial wingnuts such as Milo Yiannopoulos, as when he was deprived of his constitutionally protected access to Twitter by their "glorified speech police," and they are of course right on top of every conservative campus speech cause célèbre, such as Evergreen State ("But if you thought the Cult of Social Justice was going to stand for Weinstein’s blatant disregard for their precious snowflake FEEEEEEEELINGS, you thought wrong...").

Speaking of free speech and colleges, U of Tampa visiting professor Ken Storey was recently fired because he tweeted that Hurricane Harvey was "karma" for Texas voting Republican. Here's Chicks on the Right's account, which you won't find in the "free speech" section:
University Fires Professor Who Suggested That Harvey Was ‘Instant Karma’ For Texas Republicans 
All I can say about this is, “good”… 
It’s not often liberal professors get fired for their distasteful comments. Glad someone at the University of Tampa has some sense.
If you forget everything else about these people, never forget that they're totally full of shit. For them, free speech isn't a principle, it's just another tactic in their arsenal of victim poses.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


One thing mainstream and conservative journalists seem to share is the curious idea that Trump is making a big mistake by "alienating" Congress.

The MSM pitch it as inside baseball for their cognoscenti readers, who will be titillated by the prospect of a Trump Administration collapse: "Conflict between Trump and Congress escalates as difficult agenda looms," harrumphs the Washington Post"Trump Widens Rift With Congress as Critical Showdowns Loom," says The New York Times.

Conservatives are more likely to see it as threat to their agenda, since that is, ostensibly, what they and the outsider President share: "Trump will need Republican friends in Washington if Russia probe heats up," warns W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner; "It’s All Fun and Games until Trump Gets Impeached," says Rich Lowry at National Review; "...the survival of his presidency will depend on the support of people within his own party who have come to hate his guts."

A few of the dumber conservatives, like Conrad "I'm rich, give me a column" Black and The Stupidest Man on the Internet, think Trump will roll over Congress because he is all-powerful. They're closer to the truth, but only accidentally and in a meaningless way. Trump is not going to lose to Congress because Trump is not in conflict with Congress. In fact, he's not on the same planet as Congress, or as nearly anyone else.

I don't mean that he's nuts. It's funny-sad that so many people talk about the mental problems they imagine the President has -- dementia, narcissistic personality disorder, what have you -- as if his behavior could only be explained by an illness. I've never approved of distance diagnosis of Presidents, and I haven't changed my mind.

By his own lights, Trump is behaving rationally. He knows people hate the Democrats -- and they hate the Republicans. Their specific reasons for hating each only interest him insofar as they direct his exploitation of each.

He shows his opposition to the Democrats by appealing to white voters' racism and uneducated voters' resentment of the professional class -- and by stirring the Democrats to show their opposition to him. He distances himself from the Republicans by publicly insulting them -- and by stirring their opposition as well, wimpy though it may be. (Whatever you think of Sheetcake Tina Fey, she's right about Paul Ryan and everyone knows it.)

That way, no matter whom the voter despises, there's a good chance he or she will remember that Trump despises them too and, if they're dumb enough, count it as a point in his favor.

What about blowback? The Democrats Trump doesn't have to worry about. The Republicans do have the power to harm him, but they're not idiots. His harsh words mean nothing to them. They just want their agenda passed.

So this Trump does lavishly: He supports every feature of the conservative agenda -- from tax breaks from the wealthy to persecution of the underprivileged -- and enables the looting of the federal government by Republican donors to an unprecedented degree.

As with his gross properties, he lays it on absurdly thick. Trump is not a traditional politician who horse-trades on a per-horse basis; he doesn't withhold some little bauble as a way of tempting his adversary to put up an equally modest bauble of his own. The ideal situation for most dealmakers is to come out ahead on a trade, but Trump's ideal to get something without paying for it. And he gets things without paying for them by giving the impression of endless largesse available to you if you play ball. He runs his White House grift like a luxury hotel. He keeps the goodies coming -- room service, dry cleaning, concierge perks, etc., all comped -- and leaves it to you to decide whether you want to risk having it all taken away.

Previous Presidents, no matter how scummy, were not capable of these innovations because, whatever their failings, they believed in governance and public service and merely sought to shake the machine enough to bring down some loose change without breaking it. Trump, on the other hand, doesn't give a shit whether he breaks it -- or about anything else. It's no skin off his ass; like his absurd Secret Service overcharges, it's someone else's money.

The reason is that, so far as he's concerned, he's not President. Oh, he has the title, and he famously tells everyone, ad infinitum, how stupendous his 2016 victory was. But he doesn't tell them that because he's proud of being President -- he doesn't care about that, no matter what armchair psychologists tell you about his ego (I mean, a psychologist, armchair or otherwise, is woefully insufficient to address his ego -- you would need a tragic poet). In his mind, Trump has always been something greater than President: He has been Donald Trump.

No, he tells them that because it's a way to extract fealty, or bribes, or to get the press to act as if he's President -- you know, like when Glenn Thrush says this hurricane represents for Trump a "Chance to Reclaim Power to Unify." Their willingness to play along -- that excites him, because it plays into his grift.

But the Presidency itself? He doesn't care. And I think his behavior become much easier to understand, and even less frustrating, when you stop assuming that he does. Think of him instead as a tyrant who somehow took over the apparatus of government, and who has none of the traditional ties to the citizens who normally elect Presidents. It's close enough to the truth.

Monday, August 28, 2017


...about the right's recent defense of Confederate statuary. I note that, while they seemed a little confused by the drive to remove symbols of Treason In Defense of Slavery after the Charleston massacre, and slow off the mark, they've been a lot quicker, more unified, and more devoted to their pro-secessionist-sculpture talking points after Charlottesville. Their arguments are still shit, though.

Friday, August 25, 2017


If you’re feeling down this’ll pick you up.
This is my favorite Sammy Davis Jr. number, a great tune from
Finian’s Rainbow 
that he just swings the hell out of.
Love the byplay with Jerry (RIP) and with the audience, too.

• My Bartlett's entry about Jonah Goldberg has been around long enough that we sometimes take it for granted, but today he proves the truism true: he really has come up with the stupidest thing ever written. It's an entry in the Confederate monument debate, which has already inspired a lot of brain-bleeds on the right, but no one else need bother now that Goldberg has weighed in (in part because he broke the scale). Here's a typical farting point:
Indeed, the fight over Confederate statues is just a discrete and more understandable eruption of the larger trend. This stuff has been happening for decades. One of the first outbreaks involved the word “crusader.” The term hurt the feelings of people who didn’t know what they didn’t know. Left-wing historians (and the Islamists who love them) convinced themselves that the Crusades were a trial run of Western imperialism and colonialism. They were, in fact, largely defensive wars intended to beat back the aggression of Muslim colonizers. Even the organization Campus Crusade for Christ changed its name to “Cru” lest people get the wrong impression.
Goldberg doesn't see why lefties and their head-chopping Mooslim friends consider the Crusades a racist symbol. I wonder if he sees why actual racists (including Anders Breivik) consider them a racist symbol, too. Maybe the liberals and Mooslims bamboozled them? Oh, and:
What fascinates me about this civilizational auto-immune disorder is how superficial it is. Mark-Viverito is from Puerto Rico. More than 95 percent of the people there speak Spanish. The dominant religion of Puerto Rico is Catholicism (85 percent). As far as I can tell, Mark-Viverito, who is of mixed European ancestry (her mother, Elizabeth Viverito, was of Italian descent and a prominent Puerto Rican feminist; her father, Anthony Mark, was a prominent doctor), does not speak Taino, the native language of the Arawak tribes who inhabited Puerto Rico when Columbus arrived. Rather, she speaks the languages of her alleged oppressors — Spanish and, of course, English. She even attended Columbia University. I could find no mention on the Internet that she has burned her diploma in protest.
You have to hand it to Goldberg -- the whole "you use an iPhone, your anti-capitalist argument is invalid" shtick seemed totally dead, yet he's given it new life by declaring it hypocritical to denounce colonialism if you speak Spanish (or English!). Goldberg braps the field again -- what a great way to shart the morning!

• "John C. Danforth was a Republican U.S. senator from Missouri from 1976 to 1995," intones the Washington Post, instead of saying "here's another old Republican who has nothing left to lose by disowning Trump":
Many have said that President Trump isn’t a Republican. They are correct, but for a reason more fundamental than those usually given. Some focus on Trump’s differences from mainstream GOP policies, but the party is broad enough to embrace different views, and Trump agrees with most Republicans on many issues. Others point to the insults he regularly directs at party members and leaders, but Trump is not the first to promote self above party. The fundamental reason Trump isn’t a Republican is far bigger than words or policies. He stands in opposition to the founding principle of our party — that of a united country.

We are the party of Abraham Lincoln...
LOL Abraham Lincoln! Buddy, most Republicans today would postpone the freaking 2020 election if Trump said it was necessary. They also think his nice-Nazis response to Charlottesville was a-ok. Most of them think colleges have a "negative effect on the way things are going in this country." Oh, and Republicans nominated and elected Trump. Notwithstanding his horrible policies are virtually the same ones the other preening dickheads they've been sending to statehouses and Congress for years have been pushing for, I understand why the Senator would prefer the lumbering, murderous Frankenstein he and his comrades brought into being to have a more thoughtful, "Presidential" countenance. But the actual voters have decided: It's not good enough being self-centered bigots on the downlow anymore -- they want to revel in it. I wonder if anyone not sitting on an editorial board is fooled?

Thursday, August 24, 2017


I see someone else decided to run down protesters:
A man hit three protesters while he was trying to drive through a march in St. Louis on Wednesday night.

The black Mercedes collided with protesters marching in honor of Kiwi Herring, a transgender woman shot dead by police on Tuesday, FOX2 reported.

A man and two women sustained minor injuries, and the driver was taken into custody about one block away from the scene for felony fleeing, according to St. Louis police spokesperson Schron Jackson.
Very interestingly, a street-level witness and the cops have different accounts of what happened. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The witness, Keith Rose, said the driver had his middle fingers raised before he accelerated through the group of people who were blocking Manchester Avenue and Sarah Street in the Grove neighborhood.

But St. Louis police said the driver stopped, honked and attempted to drive around the protesters before some of them surrounded his car and began hitting it with their hands and a flag pole.

The police statement, from spokeswoman Schron Jackson, said that three protesters were injured after they jumped onto the car and fell off when the driver pulled away.
Whom do you trust? Well, for one thing, the guy fled the scene; also the "protesters assaulted my car with their bodies" shtick sounds a lot like this 2008 fantasy from an Ace O'Spades rando who claimed "gay pride protesters" on Sunset Boulevard "ran in front of my car when they saw that I was almost past them" and "ducked down behind my car out of my view... hoping that I would put my car in reverse so they would get bumped and become 'justified' in focusing their rage against me and my vehicle" because, I don't now, gay people hate cars or something. Totally makes sense, right? (Rando also claimed to disperse the protesters with his sidearm, which is like the icing on the cake or the fly on the bullshit.)

It's fitting that running down protesters has become a rightwing thing, from Pepe Nazi twitter to Ole Perfesser Instapundit to mainsteam conservative media to Charlottesville and now this. Isn't conservative politics in the age of Trump pretty much the same as road rage -- fury at any social restriction that allows less-well-protected people to get in your way?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


The Village Voice stopped putting out paper editions this week. There's a lovely roundup at Esquire in which several old Voice hands pour one out.

No one asked me (nor mentioned my name THANKS PALS) but I'll speak to it anyway. I think Michael Musto made a good point --
I'm old enough to remember when computers came around and people felt there was something lost in communing with your typewriter. I don't think anybody now wishes they had their old typewriter back. A lot of times we cling on to old habits because they're familiar and it's hard to adapt, but ultimately we don't look back with a lot of longing about old archaic ways of doing things.
It's also true, as Christgau says, "Ten years ago everyone believed that the Kindle was going to kill the book. It didn't. Walk into the Strand Book Store. Books are not dead." But that's because books have proved out, as it were -- people keep reading them because they've seen the alternative and still prefer them. Paper-paper editions, on the other hand, aren't getting the same kind of play. Kindle-swiping and -tapping is a paltry thing next to the oceanic thrill of 80,000 words nestled in your hands, but once you learn to focus on a tiny screen the average New Republic or New York Times article doesn't lose much from digital transfer. So periodical paper, glossy or newsprint, is going away.

Regular readers will know I'm sentimental about the old things, particularly the old New York things. Growing up in Bridgeport, I cherished the weekly Voice as a dispatch from the world I wanted to get to; when I got there, I became one of those Village habitués waiting on Tuesday nights by the newsstand at Cooper Square to get the Voice for the job and apartment listings, or to see if my band got a Voice Choice. I did read the thing, too, and took it seriously enough to send in letters -- which they took seriously, too; I remember spending a half-hour on the phone with an editor who wanted to make sure his cuts to my stupid letter were acceptable to me. (They didn't do that at the Times.) When I got the chance to write for them, I took a big pay cut to take it and didn't flinch, because a call from the Voice was a call of duty -- maybe fancy-pants editorial professionals turned their noses up at it, but shit-ass urban poetasters like me answered the summons and joined the few, the proud, the mercilessly exploited. To do otherwise would be unpatriotic.

And still I serve -- at least so far as I know: maybe when I file next Sunday I'll get a note back saying, oh yeah, forgot to mention, like I did in 2014. If I don't, I'll get to work on the next one. One reason the fall of the paper-paper doesn't faze me is because I've been ploughing my furrow digital-only for years now -- as have a few others who, unless things really go south, will be on the unprinted page with me. They're part of the great tradition, too, even if the new Villagers are thumbing phones and pads for our words rather than waiting on the Square to buy them in a parcel.

Maybe you think the death of print means "the death of the Village Voice." Go on ahead, honey. We hear this every time some big bad thing happens -- like when Murdoch took over, and when Stern took over, and when so-and-so left and when so-and-so came back; eppur si muove. Even if the thing's a Flying Dutchman, I'm still at my post and ready for the next adventure.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


For years conservatives and libertarians agreed that employers could do pretty much anything they wanted to their employees, that worker protections were just an impediment to profit-making (though they were more than happy to protect workers from unions), and that the right to fire them for any old thing should not be abridged. But their hackles were raised in recent years when men like Brendan Eich and Donald Sterling started getting defenestrated on the grounds that their bigoted speech or actions had damaged the business entities with which they were associated.

Still, in nearly every thundering defense of these guys and denunciation of the PC liberal speech police, your average conservatarian would throw in a sentence, obviously painful to utter, about how of course the company had the right to fire the guy, however blah blah blah.

Apparently they're sick of having to defend this as a universal principle. The brethren have really gone nuts for James Damore, the Google Bro who was famously fired for circulating a memo saying his female co-workers were biologically unsuited to excel in a tech company. He's gotten more Ugh PC Bad defenses than all the other poster boys put together. And some of them have started asking: Must we protect every company's right to fire whom they please? Surely we can find a way to protect the racists and sexists!

Some of them have been content to vaguely threaten ("I’m just beginning to wonder if Google is not getting too big for our own good" -- Andrew Stuttaford, National Review). But in "How to Break Silicon Valley’s Anti-Free-Speech Monopoly," Stuttaford's colleague Jeremy Carl endorses regulating Google -- and other tech companies around which wingnuts have concocted conspiracy theories -- so that they're forced to publish, and if need be offer inflated prominence to, conservatives:
Government regulation of [electric] utilities has traditionally been justified to avoid having multiple companies building redundant and costly infrastructure and distribution assets. 
For conservatives, the time has begun to think of some major Web services — in particular Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter — in the same way. Yes, they are private companies, just as many utilities are. And yes, these Internet monopolies do not have the same physical-infrastructure advantages that electric-utility monopolies have. But because of their network effects, their dominance and monopoly power are in many ways even starker.

If I don’t like my utility I can put solar panels on my roof and an inverter and battery in my garage, and I can still get power. But if I can’t get access to the 2 billion people on Facebook because Facebook doesn’t like my politics, my rights of free expression are greatly curtailed. [emphasis added]
If I'm not guaranteed equal market share with Trevor Noah, I'm being prejumadiced against!

Making everything worse, as usual, is Megan McArdle. Suddenly the power of the internet "mob" to crush Damore's career is a massive problem for her -- in a way that its power to crush, say, Kathy Griffin's never was.

"Whenever a new form of power arises," McArdle cries, "we need to think about how to safeguard individual liberty against it." After all, "there’s only one internet, and we’re all stuck here for the rest of our lives." It's kind of like living in a company town -- except of course the company is always right... Well, it's kind of like being an entertainer who turned up in Red Channels during the blacklist -- except they were commies, or at least comsymps, so they got what was coming to them... Well, whatever, when it comes to this particular kind of speech martyr, "mass private coercion, which even if not quite as bad, still needs to have safeguards put in place to protect individual liberty."

McArdle doesn't say what those safeguards would be but, since she compares the current situation to the old Soviet Union and (I assume this was an inside joke) The Handmaid's Tale, clearly emergency powers may be invoked. The free market is okay when its hegemons are right-wing -- what's good for General Motors and all that -- but when it starts siding with liberals, something's got to be done.

Monday, August 21, 2017


...about Charlottesville and Boston, and the hard time rightbloggers are having with their Scary Alt-Left bullshit.

Among the fun sidelights: Susan Wright of Red State explaining what's really so terrible about the Nazi-Confederate comeuppance --
What we’ve seen, as a result of the filth they brought to Charlottesville and the subsequent loss of life, is that any meaningful discussion about the importance of maintaining our nation’s heritage – every part of it – has been lost. 
They gave Antifa and every other leftist group wiggle room to claim the high ground. Anybody who might be thinking about defending some of those time-worn monuments to the southern side of the war between the states will have to wade neck-deep through a cesspool of liberal rage and accusations of racism.
Wait, here's the best part:
Not that anyone not a liberal would ever be given the benefit of the doubt, anyway.
The party of personal responsibility just can't seem to catch a break!

Also, I refer briefly to Peter Ingemi's Boston post in the column, and his obvious frustration at having no juicy alt-left ultra-violence stories to tell. Ingemi was extremely upset by the crowd yelling at two Trump guys, mostly because one of them was holding an Israeli flag, which I guess is supposed to protect you like a St. Christopher medal protects travelers, or an American flag pin protects a Republican politician. Though no harm came to the two men, Ingemi says,
To me this was a turning point, it is a moment that in my opinion will get replayed over and over in states that Trump carried and I can’t think of anything else that would infuriate and energize Trump supporters more.
I'm sure they're very sensitive to criticism of Israel in Fritters, Alabama. Ingemi also tweeted, "Can't imagine any Massachusetts supporter of @realDonaldTrump walking through #BostonCommon today without thinking 'I need to arm myself.'" LOL. What was someone saying about snowflakes?

Friday, August 18, 2017


I see a lot of jibber-jabber on Twitter to the effect that Steve Bannon's exit will activate some sort of big change. Don't you believe it. Optimists (who are nearly always wrong) think it's great that Trump jettisoned a fascist, but his staff is full of them; the only thing that makes Bannon look more dangerous to us than, say, the deeply evil Scott Pruitt is his history at Breitbart, which has given us a lot of over-the-top rightwing gibberish headlines. (That, and him looking like a tub of rancid butter come to life.) But Trump doesn't even recite Breitbart headlines when he wants to go full Klansman -- he mainly cribs from Fox News. And just because Bannon's creepiness is more obvious than that of the other creeps doesn't mean his is particularly meaningful. There are tons of budding factota in the rightblogger farm system who could whisper the same poisons into Trump's ear, and he can get them cheap.

Even more hilarious is the idea that Bannon's ouster will lead to a Breitbart vendetta against the President. Those guys were on a 24-hour vendetta against Obama for years and it didn't amount to a fart in a windstorm. People make much of Breitbart factotum Joel B. Pollak tweeting "#WAR" after the announcement, but he and his squad were continually tweeting that hashthreat at the Kellogg's cereal company when they got into that stupid beef with them back in December, and people are still eating corn flakes. Our problems with endemic racism and dumbassery predate Breitbart and Bannon.

Expectedly, Breitbart alumnus Ben Shapiro takes the cake:

I'm sorry, shit like this just makes me think of that Achewood thread:

Can't you explain it to me in terms of The Two Ronnies or The Life of Riley?

UPDATE. Ha ha, sorry I can't stop Shapiro is killing me:
Bannon is also media savvy enough to know that he’ll never miss work being a Trump critic. The media will continue to book him. They’ll be eager to put him on television to criticize Trump; they think this will drive down Trump’s approval ratings. 
Millions of Americans who've never heard of Breitbart or Bannon will turn on the TV and think they've accidentally stumbled onto an old George Romero movie. "Mommy, is he a zombie?"
And Bannon will look for some other horse to back, or try to become the horse himself.
Oh Ben. Still haven't lost that fine literary style.
...I said one year ago that Bannon understands that in the game of thrones, you win or die; he doesn’t intend to die. Now that he’s been beheaded by Trump, look for him to try to become the Night King, leaving destruction in his wake.
What can one say to that except:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


LOL The Federalist:

Quoth author Matthew Boomer:
This is precisely why it is important for everyday people, most of whom try to be decent as well, to remember Lee—not as a hero, but as a man who devoted himself to the wrong ideals and, whatever sort of individual he may have been, found himself on the wrong side of one of the most decisive and morally laden moments in history.
OK -- so to make sure that happens, how about we give Lee googly eyes, paint I'M A STOOPID JERK on his horse, and have it fart "Dixie" on the hour?

(Speaking of which, the all-time greatest version of "Dixie" starts at 1:16 of this episode of Hard Drinkin' Lincoln:)


I told you that the Google Bro story and the Charlottesville story would dovetail. Neo-Nazis had planned Google Bro-related marches this coming weekend, but -- well, let CNN Tech tell it:
Rallies were slated to happen Saturday in at least nine major U.S. cities to protest Google (GOOG)'s firing of James Damore, an engineer who wrote a controversial memo on the company's diversity policies. 
Now, the organizers behind the "March on Google" have decided to cancel. 
The effort was announced last Wednesday by Jack Posobiec, a vocal Trump supporter and right-wing activist who is known for pushing the false "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory...
I remind you that Google Bro went hanging with the alt-right homies right as soon as his first wave of publicity hit. But he has since been elevated by the Wall Street Journal and (of course!) Reason (where he was interviewed by Cathy Young, who asked such hard-hitting questions as "among the women who work at Google, there are many who don't agree with the standard progressive view of women in tech—i.e. that all disparities are due to sexism?").

Now that he's been picked up by the majors, and Charlottesville has made things hot for his old running buddies, Damore went out of his way to say that he found those fringey guys de trop in another big-media int. So Puffed, the Alt-Right Dragon sadly slipped into his cave:
On Wednesday, a post on March on Google's website said it is postponing the march...
...because everyone involved realized it was unseemly? Ha ha ha, no:
...due to "credible Alt Left terrorist threats."
Yeah, hanging with fascists might call down the anti-fascists, and blaming Nazi violence on anti-Nazis is the new MAGA.

Of course there's a bit of media lag, so some of Damore's alt-right pipeline is still disgorging -- his interview with The Rebel, a Great White and I Do Mean White North alt-right outfit, has just dropped. But I'm confident he can ride this wave of unfortunate counter-publicity out and, when no one remembers who his early sponsors were, make his big move to Time or the Atlantic or MSNBC, where he'll be accepted as a voice of mainstream conservatism -- as opposed to those guys who (no one will remember) he used to hang out with. That's how the pros do it, folks!


The negative fallout from decent people and a few Republicans over Charlottesville has got wingnuts foaming at the mouth. Here's Mark Krikorian, a vicious immigration opponent who is seeing his devil's bargain to get President La Migra dying on the vine, flipping out:
Let’s accept for the sake of argument the president’s contention that there were “fine people” on both sides in Charlottesville (though where you’d find such a person in a torchlight parade chanting about Jews isn’t clear). These hypothetical fine people on the “Unite the Right” side still would not be conservatives, or even American patriots, because they’ve given up on America. They, like the left...
Let's just pause to savor this direct comparison of liberals to neo-Confederates and Nazis, right after the Republican President spoke up for neo-Confederates and Nazis.
...reject the existence of an American people and equality of all before the law, and instead embrace identity politics and the ideology of government-enforced multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism -- the root cause of slavery and genocide throughout history!
There’s no mystery why the mainstream left hasn’t denounced the antifas and communists the way the mainstream right has the Nazis and Klansmen. The mainstream left and the antifas share an antipathy for American nationalism and agree on the goal of deconstructing the American people – it’s just that the antifas are willing to do the wet work that New York Times editorial writers are unsuited for.
I don't see why the Good Grey Lady needs such cat's-paws to achieve their goal of violent revolution when they've got top agents like Bret Stephens and Ross Douthat working on it for them.

Seriously, don't they have an employee assistance program at National Review? Guy needs a tranquilizer. (Disclaimer: Not recommending Soviet-style involuntary commitment and medication for political reasons. You might have thought so 'cause that's just our style!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


...about the Google Bro and how his sad case demonstrates what conservatives really mean by "free speech." I know Charlottesville is the big deal these days and it pisses me off too, but there's plenty of good stuff on that (e.g.); I wanted to make sure the Damore thing got noted, because it's typical of the bad faith among the rightwing: They never mention Constitutional rights except as a punchline until an opportunity emerges for their invocation to serve the powerful, and then all of a sudden they're William fucking Kunstler.

Besides, I think over time a linkage between Charlottesville and Damore will emerge. You can already see it in the subtext of William Jacobson's pathetically-titled Legal Insurrection post, "The Ritual Shaming of James Damore still matters." "If anything," says Jacobson, "Ritual Shaming as a means of controlling speech will get even worse after Charlottesville." He doesn't explain that remark, but I bet his fans can guess what he means, and so can I: People may start noticing that the people most inclined to bitch about free speech rights these days are the same people who for decades have been trying to take them away from everyone else.

UPDATE. I see at National Review today Jeremy Carl suggests the government regulate Google and other popular internet businessess like utilities so conservatives may be guaranteed access to their users, as the Founding Fathers intended. "If I can’t get access to the 2 billion people on Facebook because Facebook doesn’t like my politics," says Carl, "my rights of free expression are greatly curtailed." As long as we've stopped worshipping the magic of the marketplace, comrade, how about we nationalize some industries?

UPDATE 2. For readers who've been speculating that Damore is actually trolling for a wingnut welfare gig, his new statements at CNN suggests that you've won the pool:
"I do not support the alt-right," he told CNN Tech. "Just because someone supports me doesn't mean I support them."
From Stefan Molyneux's special guest to huffy post-Charlottesville moderate Republican -- good career move, Google Bro! And:
"I'm a centrist, and they're calling me a Nazi. That is a real problem."
Say, wasn't that how Bret Stephens got the Times gig?

Sunday, August 13, 2017


The middle-of-the-road wingnuts are running to convince us that no, that's not what they meant. For years David French has thundered against "SJWs" as the aggressors against poor defenseless conservatives. He called for "a cultural and political war against the intellectual and legal corruption of the university Left" and, having gotten those ass-covering modifiers out of the way, asked "Which GOP presidential candidate will fire the first shot?" He lamented how "painfully easy" it would be "for leftist activists to position themselves close to a group of strategically-chosen Trump supporters, initiate a disruption, and then resist the instant the crowd tried to push them out" and make his people look bad. Now that what was really going on all along has followed its natural progression and a young SJW is dead at the hands of a Nazi, he tells us at National Review (where another front-page story tells us, "Whatever the campus mob wants, the campus mob gets"), that "America is at a dangerous crossroads."

David French can go fuck himself. The guy who shot Steve Scalise was a lone nut wandering the world with a gun, not remotely typical of liberals and denounced immediately and unequivocally by the man he claimed to follow; Heather Heyer was killed by a member of a real mob that goes around invading college campuses to wreak havoc on college kids because guys like French told them there was a war on.

Fuck Erick Erickson too, who couldn't BothSides hard enough:
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As the left-wing social justice warriors have created mobs across America intent on destroying lives for daring to engage in wrong-think, an equal and opposite white supremacist movement has risen up. Both would silence the other side for wrong-think. Both work at the extremes of American politics.
He blames Heyer's death on "the planned white supremacists rally that turned into a day of violent clashes" -- on an event -- no, not even an event, the sequelae of an event, not on her actual assailant. Things just got out of hand! Also, Erickson predicts "the reaction of the social justice warriors will be equal to what is on display in Charlottesville, which in turn will force another reaction from these boys." What the neo-Nazis did was terrible, but no worse than what the other side is going to do in my paranoid fantasy!

The actual neo-Nazis are almost comically inept at defending themselves. Here's far-right nutjob Angelo John Gage, described as "Marine Veteran Angelo John Gage" by Truthfeed, in a video admitting the Unite the Right rally brought in “kooks,” but also some people he didn’t think were kooks — like indentitarians (Spoiler: They're white nationalist kooks), whom “I agree with,” said Gage, because they’re “simply people who believe that everyone has an identity that’s worth protecting. If you don’t believe that, then you think certain identities don’t have a right to exist and therefore you’re a supremacist and you’re a bigot…” Gage then blamed the violence on the neo-Nazis being “stripped of their First Amendment rights" and the local government, which “failed to protect United States citizens which led to fatalities..."

This Big Gummint is the Real Killer excuse is spreading among the nut fringe, and any normal person will probably see though it and treat it with the contempt it deserves. But many of them will look at French's and Erickson's moderation act and take it at face value, and in due time they'll go back to talking about how SJWs -- not neo-Nazis, and certainly not the safety-net-slashing GOP nor the bought-off id-monster in the White House and his crackpot enablers -- are America's greatest threat.

Friday, August 11, 2017


Hey baby (above) has been in my head for awhile. The other day someone directed me to a funny item in McSweeney's or something like that (can't find it now) in which a woman writes clever reviews of her street harassers. It was okay, but in my book no Hey Baby, partly because it didn't have Pat Place on guitar, and partly because, if we're going to use mordant humor to cope with endemic sexism, I prefer it with a little scrappiness, which is Maggie Estep's big plus here: she's like some cute, adenoidal raven. It's also partly because, of course, that place and those days are written in my heart, which breaks to think how lost they are. Maggie Estep is dead; John S. Hall, the King Missile guy who tangos with her here, keeps his oar in, but is mainly a lawyer. Now they are old, now they are young; they change all in a moment as their thought changes. It is sometimes a terrible thing to be out of the body, God help us.

• It had been remarked elsewhere that CNN's reason for getting rid of Jeffrey Lord was bullshit; Lord was clearly using Sieg Heil as a joke, not as an ode to Hitler. It's also bad tactically, because it gives Lord the opportunity (which he swiftly seized) to play the First Amendment martyr. But this false move has its merits. First, it goes to show how pusillanimous CNN is, and may convince people who should but don't know better that Big Media is not their friend. I know this overlaps with the POV of the Breitbart Bund, but the reason they have gotten over so well with it is its kernel of truth -- the nets are certainly not their friends, either, and the Breitbarters' acknowledgement of their gutlessness was what made it so easy for them to manipulate the mainsteam press; they knew that the media "moguls" would bend with the first hard word borne on hot air. That's how we wound up with an administration full of feebs, cranks, and fascists -- these people first colonized the airwaves as the browbeaten refs went "let's hear them out, it's only fair," and when we got crypto-Nazis in the White House and memos about "cultural Marxists" at the NSA, no one could remember what was insane about it.  That's why Jeffrey Lord, whom I have shown time and time again to be a meretricious piece of shit, was on CNN in the first place.  Which brings up the other silver lining of CNN's unfortunate decision -- bad as it is, it reduces the opportunity for Lord to normalize his shabby arguments and further dumb down the discourse. So I won't wring my hands too much about the reasoning. As the Google Bro incident and their many other flops-on-the-pitch show, they'll scream foul no matter what.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017


I'm late to this, but my truism that anything Jonah Goldberg writes is the stupidest thing ever written until Goldberg writes something else may have been shattered by the synapse-freezing stupidity of his column last weekend. Written in the form of a Q&A, for a while's it's just normally Goldberg-dumb: He mentions he's writing "sort of a prequel to Liberal Fascism" (like The Phantom Menace, only performed as a monologue by Jar Jar Binks) and meanders through some politics:
Q: What do you think of the White House’s new immigration proposal?
M: I haven’t studied it.
Q: Is that a dodge?
M: Sort of. I will say that the reaction has been ridiculous. The idea that it’s racist to control your borders or copy Canada is bonkers. It’s also funny. Liberals love to insist that Europe or Canada or Scandinavia does things in a more enlightened way. But say, “Okay, let’s have Canada’s immigration policy or France’s national-security policies or Switzerland’s health-insurance system” and the same people freak out.
Durr hurr you liberals love Canada but you don't love stampedes but Calgary has a Stampede every year WHICH IS IT LIBS.

But later, McRib intoxication or something sets in:
Q: Will you ever write a novel?
M: I hope so. I never planned on being a pundit. I wanted to write comic books and sci-fi. I kind of stumbled into this life. I have several ideas, but I need time and/or f-you money.
Faulkner said, "The writer doesn't need economic freedom. All he needs is a pencil and some paper." Goldberg says well, if I save up enough money from writing about how liberals are Hitler maybe I'll write a novel. And I bet he'd be great at it -- listen to his aesthetics:
Q: What do you mean fiction is about human nature?
M: I’m glad you asked. I think there’s a profound conservatism to all great fiction.
[Almost imperceptibly -- with the merest shiver of leaves and panic among the animals -- the fart-rumble commences]
If I had to define the essence of leftism in a single phrase, it’d be “the perfectibility of man.” This is the idea that stretches back past Rousseau and probably the Gnostics to Plato’s Republic. Before public policy or any ideological agenda, conservatism recognizes the bedrock fact that man is flawed. He can be good, but only by being civilized. That’s why science fiction is so conservative.
[Now all can feel it, like the first stirrings of Sensurround; all can hear it, like the ripping of a distant, gigantic sail; and some poor, sensitive creatures can even smell it]
It can be set in some far-flung galaxy or some technological wonderland. But what makes it accessible to us is that humans — or even aliens — are still driven by timeless motivations. Human nature is the rock in the river of time. Acknowledging the fact that human nature has no history is the first principle of realism, and realism is conservative.
[A FARTING COMES ACROSS THE SKY -- like the jagged bellow of a cassowary caught in a paint-mixer, amplified a hundred-fold. Nostril hairs singe; lungs convulse. "The fools," gasp those who have not been immediately knocked unconscious, "they let Trump near the button."]

I've already asked the TLS for dibs.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


That Google guy who thinks ladies don't perform as well in tech as men because they lack "men’s higher drive for status" and other butch traits has, predictably, attracted the adulation of straightmale-rights dorksBen Domenech begins his entry with a bad-faith clusterbomb:
Fear of crackdown on free speech is a bipartisan thing these days. In the run-up to the 2016 election, conservatives were terrified that Hillary Clinton would ratchet up the crackdown on right of center groups seen under the Obama administration’s IRS, and particularly the exposure of even modest members of the donor class to public outcry along the lines of Brendan Eich’s experience at Mozilla.
(ed. note: The IRS and the Brendan Eich controversies were always both bullshit, and only mentioned during the 2016 campaign when wingnuts needed a break from Benghazi, I Have Here In My Hand a List of  33,000 Emails, and Trump Is a Businessman He Will Fix Everything.)

Domenech goes on to say that Donald Trump's not as hard on free speech as liberals think (notwithstanding that his Attorney General recently threatened a bunch of reporters), and even defends Trump's temperament, reminding us that Obama once had an interview with "a YouTube star who sits in bathtubs full of milk and cereal" -- an old wingnut trick to make the gomers think Obama was interviewed while this person was in the bathtub. (Comparing even that favorably with the history of our Pussygrabber in Chief is of course out of the question.)

Anyway Domenech moves on to one of the clumsier sure-corporations-can-do-what-they-what-but-homina-homina-homina bits I've seen:
Now, Google is not a public platform, and of course there is all sorts of awful content that is on a daily basis flagged and removed with objections that are justified. But you can see the direction this type of story is headed. First Google will be forced to hire people to do a better job of policing its sites, tasked with removing “extremist” content – and then there will be definitional drifts in how such content is considered extreme. What is religious speech in some parts of the world will be hate speech in some other parts of the world, and then the ability to use the platforms that have come to dominate the space will be determined by the priorities of the corporations involved.
My devotion to capitalism has bitten me in the ass again! We have been around this mulberry bush before, so I'll make it short: Show me, please, a conservative who has similarly spoken up for the rights of other at-will employees fired for speech who were not peddling modish rightwing bigotry, and maybe I'll take this more seriously.

Monday, August 07, 2017


...about the trend among conservatives of calling investigations of Trump a "coup." You may recall I mentioned this subject last week but even since then, as the investigations have heated up so have the paranoid delusions.

This seems to effect even wimpy establishment conservatives like Matt Lewis:
Attorney Harvey Silvergate argues that every professional in America inadvertently commits three felonies a day. I’m assuming that this number is much higher for a casino magnate who operates in, say, Atlantic City. My point here is that it’s entirely possible that Donald Trump never colluded with Russians, yet may have taken some liberties that a grand jury with unlimited time and resources—not to mention subpoena power!—might discover.
Why, it could happen to any of us -- an overzealous prosecutor looking for a quick score might snoop in your life, or mine, and find that we've claimed a bogus deduction worth a couple of hundred dollars. And that's why we should sympathize with Trump if it turns out he's sent bales of cash to the Russian mob.
Think of it. A special prosecutors’ raison d’etre is to find something. That’s how an Arkansas land deal leads to a blue dress—which, in turn, led Kenneth Starr to perjury.
OK, I gotta admit: That bit took nerve.

Thursday, August 03, 2017


People (or at least memeorandum editors) keep directing my attention to Kurt Schlichter, a cartoon version of more skilled rightwing propagandists. I've fallen for his act before, because his writing is such overripe cheese that it's hard not to make fun of, as you can see from his latest offense and a typically reasonable section about how trying to make it easier for immigrants to become legal is like letting muggers go free:
Case in point – [Democrats'] bizarre embrace of illegal aliens. Democrats seem to think that foreigners who violate our laws have a greater right to determine what will be America's laws than actual Americans. After all, that's their argument when they whine because some illegal is getting shipped back to his Third World hellhole-of-origin. They seem to think that just because some uninvited, unwanted, unlegal trespasser (we’re not supposed to call them “illegal,” right?) has been violating our laws for an exceptionally long period of time makes his offense less offensive. Huh? That’s like saying getting slugged in the gut once is a no-no, but being pounded in the pancreas a couple dozen times is cool.
"Pounded in the pancreas," LOL. Sounds like he drilled alliteration in boot camp.  Like everything else he writes it's garbage, but I wanted to call attention to a section of the loony two-part fantasy he did earlier this week,  in which he imagines Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and other conservative boogiemen trying to take down Trump and ending up hanged for treason. It has all the hallmarks of an abuser's fantasy -- we might call it look-what-you-made-me-do fascism -- including an elaborately-constructed conspiracy of which the victim is guilty and a dryly indignant defense at the end ("Dissent had morphed into criminality, and it was now to be treated that way") explaining the regrettable necessity of you having to explain to people that you walked into a door.

Schlichter's current botch, interestingly, ends similarly -- "Donald Trump is a warning... If you somehow depose him via your smarmy shenanigans, what comes along next is really going to upset you," etc. Looking through Schlichter's oeuvre, we can detect a recent obsession with the theme of the libtard coup -- "This Is A Coup Against Our Right To Govern Ourselves," "If The Left Wins Their Soft Coup, Everyone Loses," "This Is A Coup Against Our Right To Govern Ourselves," et alia.

I can only imagine what he's cooking up in his literary meth lab now that Mueller's got a grand jury going. Consonants could collide and concatenate catastrophically!

He's not the only one -- not with the consonants, but with the coup coup ka joob. Some examples:
  • "'Silent Coup': Limbaugh Says DC Establishment Is 'Trying to Take Out' Trump" -- Fox News Insider
  • "The Slow-Motion Coup d’Etat picks up steam" -- William A. Jacobson, Legal Insurrection
  • "Dick Morris: The CIA ‘Silent Coup’ Against Donald Trump" -- National Enquirer (!!)
  • "Treasonous Generals Isolating Trump In Preparation For Coup" -- Alex Jones ("this is the most important broadcast I've ever done," LOL) 
They have a lot of support -- not among the hinterland patriots they like to pretend will rise up to defend their TV buffoon, I'm guessing, but among all the other internet tough guys who jump on any opportunity for Turner Diaries cosplay -- like Ole Perfesser Glenn Reynolds:
The anti-Trump folks are making clear that they hate Trump more than they love America. But if the rules don’t apply, then the rules don’t apply. They won’t like it when the rules don’t apply.
Ooooh, scary! I love the idea of the Perfesser trying to muster his posse comitatus at the local gastropub: "Festus, you take your men up the post road to Washington. Seize what you need from the local gentry -- except for the names on this list, they're premium subscribers -- and don't worry, the Second Amendment trumps the Third, hehindeed. What's that? No, I agreed to a keg for your men, not craft beers! And bar snacks only, no entrees. Okay, everyone gets stuffed mushrooms but -- hey, what happened to my laptop?"

Can't wait to see Salena Zito and Chris Arnade comin' over that hill. Saddle my Schwinn!

Tuesday, August 01, 2017


You may have seen Katherine Stewart's Times Op-Ed suggesting that the "government schools" theme beloved of modern conservatives has its genesis in slavery and segregation. Some relevant clips:
Before the Civil War, the South was largely free of public schools. That changed during Reconstruction, and when it did, a former Confederate Army chaplain and a leader of the Southern Presbyterian Church, Robert Lewis Dabney, was not happy about it. An avid defender of the biblical “righteousness” of slavery, Dabney railed against the new public schools. In the 1870s, he inveighed against the unrighteousness of taxing his “oppressed” white brethren to provide “pretended education to the brats of black paupers.” For Dabney, the root of the evil in “the Yankee theory of popular state education” was democratic government itself, which interfered with the liberty of the slaver South.
Flashing forward, Stewart touches on the influence of protowingnuts James W. Fifield Jr. and Rousas Rushdoony, and on the Brown v. Board of Education fallout in the South, where "some districts shut down public schools altogether; others promoted private 'segregation academies' for whites, often with religious programming, to be subsidized with tuition grants and voucher schemes."

Stewart also mentions the influence on this movement of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, which insight appears to have twisted some of the brethren's guts -- for the same reason that, you may have seen, Nancy MacLean's recent book on another libertarian saint, James Buchanan, has enraged rightwingers from Reason to The American Spectator to Jonah Goldberg (and, in my view, if you were trying to triangulate the absolute worst of the conservatarian movement you could hardly pick three better coordinates).

Speaking of worst of the worst, Rod Dreher gets after Stewart today:
...I read this op-ed piece from today’s New York Times, in which Katherine Stewart says that people like us — parents who have chosen to withdraw their kids from public schooling, or not to send them there in the first place — are Jesus-crazed racists who hate democracy, or at best useful idiots of said villains. It is liberal crackpottery at its purest.
Then Dreher quotes two of his buddies (Andrew T. Walker and, God help us, David French) on how bad she is -- but he does not quote Stewart. At all. In fact, he doesn't even try to characterize her arguments, except as something he and his pals hate -- and his quotes from them don't mention her historical sources, except for an offhand reference to "tying [church schools] to a Confederate past" from French. Her point of view only appears, distorted, as a reflection in the shiny surface of their rage.

Even for Dreher this is a bit much. But I shouldn't be surprised. As we've seen time and time again, Dreher is pretty much a segregationist, and usually drenches that sentiment in many thousands of words of God-gab and crap sociology to make it hard for non-initiates to see clearly. But what makes him even more defensive and obfuscating in DJing this hatefest than he is in the normal course of his writing, apparently, is when someone catches on to the whole rotten shtick -- that the conservative movement (and the white evangelical movement that feeds it votes) is not just touched by racism, but relies, indeed is founded on it. Then he puts on the whole armor of God.

That's probably what drove him to such an extreme: It's a bit early for him and his comrades to reveal themselves -- after all, Trump's only been in six months; there'll be time enough to talk turkey when this godless democracy thing has been weakened sufficiently to be dispensed with. Meantime anyone who's caught on early has to be swatted like a fly.

UPDATE. I see Megan McArdle has gotten in on this, too ("Demonizing School Choice Won't Help Education," LOL), though she brings her own unique bucket-footed style to it:
One could quibble with some of Stewart’s summation. But it’s certainly fair to note that people opposed to desegregation decided that one way to solve the problem was to get rid of public schools, allowing racists to choose a lily-white educational environment for their children. Maintaining Jim Crow is a vile motive, and it can’t be denied that that was one historical reason some people had for supporting school choice.

Only the proper answer to this is, So what? You cannot stop terrible people from promoting sound ideas for bad reasons. Liberals who think that ad hominem is a sufficient rebuttal to a policy proposal should first stop to consider the role of Hitler’s Germany in spreading national health insurance programs to the countries they invaded. If you think “But Hitler” does not really constitute a useful argument about universal health coverage, then you should probably not resort to “But Jim Crow” in a disagreement over school funding.
Sure, some people want to get their kids out of public school because they're segregationists, but be fair -- some people want universal health care because they want to gas all the Jews.