Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Weep for Megan McArdle. She's been hurt so many times -- first by the Supreme Court failing to kill Obamacare in 2012: "my day lilies are still blooming beautifully," she said then, bravely, through shaking lips and tears; "...I assume that we're all looking forward to seeing Obama campaign on his large middle class tax hike. Pass the popcorn!" As if Obama's reelection a few months later weren't worse enough, she has lately had to sit through a couple of other disastrous repeal-and-replace attempts; but when last week Republicans' hopes revived for Graham-Cassidy, so did McArdle's, and she dared to dream of a future where the rickety Rube Goldberg ACA version of national health care lay in ruins and the Democrats must beg for socialized medicine in the streets:
The left can pass another Obamacare, or some different, more expansive plan. But to do so, they will have to go through the whole painful process of passing Obamacare all over again: soothe or pay off all the anxious interest groups; find the extra tax dollars to fund it; reassure voters who have good insurance that they will not lose by the new plan. 
This task will be immensely harder in Round 2 than it was in 2010. By the time they get around to it (in 2020, soonest), Democrats will be forced to scavenge for new sources of funding at the same time as every predator on K Street is scouring the landscape to feed our existing defense commitments and rapidly growing entitlement burden.
That'll show those scavenging moochers! So engrossed was she in her vengeance fantasy, she lapsed into that hoary Peggy Noonan passive-aggressive shtick, counseling Democrats to win big by being Republicans:
Can Democrats win back states they’ve lost by marching into 50 capitols and proposing single payer? Certainly not. But they may be able to win back those states by designing local solutions that fit the local politics, economy and cultural values, while pushing those places a little closer to progressive ideals. And in the process, they might bring some political diversity into their own party, which would be good for Democratic electoral fortunes, and good for America.
Well, today Graham-Cassidy collapsed, and mainly for a reason McArdle could never bring herself to even acknowledge: That no Senator who absolutely didn't have to attach himself or herself to this bill would do so, because the bill was as popular as cancer (just one of the many diseases that under Graham-Cassidy would have bankrupted and/or killed many more Americans than before). Even Trumpkins hated it because, as much as they may hate Colin Kaepernick and people who can read and write, they hate even more the idea of dying just so some rich fuck can be richer still.

And this has been the problem with all the repealreplacements -- Republicans have to show voters they're serious about getting rid of the black guy's health care thing, but can't even pretend to fill the gap with something that won't straight-up kill them, let alone something that would actually improve their lives. Anyone who could be held responsible for such a bill's passage would be hunted down by his or her constituents, as the President is fond of saying, like a dog. So they do these little Kabuki shows that always end with them hanging their heads in front of the microphones and pledging to do better next time while Trump raves on his golden toilet.

Because that's all they can do. It's so plain it takes a pundit not to see it.

I'm not a sentimental fellow, but when I imagine McArdle having to confront the fact that the sole remaining health care bill before the Senate now is Medicare For All,  and that even chucklehead outfits like Politico have to admit single payer "is fairly popular — at least in principle" (their strangulated way of saying it won their poll 49-35), well, I can hardly keep from laughing.

Monday, September 25, 2017


...about the Treason of the Kneeling Football Players. I'm also loving the idea floated by some dummies that patriots should transition from the NFL to NASCAR. How long will football fans tolerate a sporting event in which players strive to avoid head-on collisions?

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Sometimes, long as I've studied them, I'm still amazed how deeply devoted your average conservative is to his own victimhood. Whether out of office or, as now, enjoying nearly unprecedented control of the levers of power, your conservative will performatively cower before mouse-shadows he'll claim are the Alinskyite hordes, and plead for your sympathy and probably a fundraiser donation.

Have a look at David French's latest at National Review, about how all the colleges are aflame with anti-Milo riots and, in that small part of the country not occupied by burning campuses, Ta-Nahisi Coates conducts his vast honky pogrom; in other words, a typical David French column. Except in this one, French actually acknowledges that liberals have tumbled (about time, too) to their outrage machine -- that, in the polite words of David Remnick, conservatives "take some examples of exaggerated identity politics… and blow them up on Fox or Breitbart" till they're all thrashing in their Barcaloungers, self-soiled with rage and ressentiment.

To this French gives his defense, or rather his belligerent nuh-uh:
When I read words like that, I think they just don’t know.
Picture French in a James Dean red jacket, kicking a hole in a portrait of Hillary Clinton.
Or maybe they know — but don’t care — the extent to which a hostile, illiberal brand of identity politics has seeped into every nook and cranny of American culture. It’s not the case that conservative Americans sit ensconced in their immense privilege, raging at an irrelevant fringe hyped up by Fox News. Rather they experience identity politics at their jobs, hear their children and grandchildren describe experiencing it at school, and find it so omnipresent on television and online that they can’t seem to find any space (aside from conservative media) where someone isn’t mocking their values or accusing them of being complicit in historical atrocities.
Sounds like a nightmare! Yet, amazingly, absolutely no one I know shares French's experience. If "every nook and cranny of American culture" really were taken over by the ultraleft, people who were not directly employed by the wingnut outrage industry would also notice. Yet the young people I know who are in school don't report being forced to abjure or condemn (as the case may be) whiteness. Neither I nor any of the other working schlubs I know are interrupted at our jobs to troop down to the Cesar Chavez Auditorium for our mandatory two-minutes hate against Trump and the Bible. And given the enormous number of channels on "television" and the infinity of offerings "online," I can't even guess what French means by "can’t seem to find any space... where someone isn’t mocking their values or accusing them of being complicit in historical atrocities," unless he has some haywire version of Parental Controls that has him locked into Rachel Maddow and Lawyers Guns & Money.

The way I see it, were French to acknowledge that his odd theory -- that a country ruled by Donald Trump and a mob of ultraconservative Republicans is actually groaning under the yoke of a leftist hegemony -- is not shared by many more people than subscribe to his magazine, he would have but two possible rejoinders: That libtards like myself and David Remnick, old and white and male as we are, "just don't know" French's pain because we're so numb to the constant social justice warring and Antifa and Black Lives Matter and George Soros that it sounds normal to us -- or we're in on it with them and are lying to protect our international socialist masters and to make it look like French is the crazy one! 

Actually there's a third option: French is just full of shit. Now, why didn't I just go to that first? Hey, I guess in a way his whining worked!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Your moment of Dreher, Part 3,209:

Note the caption. Hey, you should have seen the cover they wanted to use!

Dreher's inspirator this time is Mark Regnerus, who reports that women with liberal views desire more sex than women with conservative views (or at least report something like that on whatever survey he's using; when it comes to this sort of thing, the grains of salt come extra large). This Regnerus attributes not to circumstances or experiences, but to philosophy: "it is a moral good to express one’s sexuality in actions of one’s own free choosing. Pleasure is reached for and should be." This attitude, which may sound healthy to you heathens, Regnerus anathematizes; normal people only have sex when God or grandma demands children, whereas liberal women DENY THE LIVING GOD, and all His works (and probably grandma and her works too, yea even the Pie Baked From Scratch), and thus "have a difficult time attributing transcendent value to aspects of life such as work, relationships, children, and daily tasks.” Look at women with ten children — you never see them wanting sex! And your lady CEO is famously sexless, until the Right Man comes along and she takes off her glasses and shakes out her hair [guitar riff]. In the end, they want more sex only because “they feel poignantly the lack of sufficient transcendence in life” they could have had from Joel Osteen and vacuuming if only they weren't so liberal.

Maybe there's a corollary -- you won't feel like having sex if you have a column to wank several times a day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Trump's "I will kill you all" speech at the U.N. pleased the expected parties -- his anti-immigration twaddle thrilled the overt racists, the Believers in the Three Magic Words got what they came for ("Trump called out radical Islamic terrorism BY NAME"), and his general belligerence excited chest-beaters such as Florida Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis, who declared, "This is the international UN version of 'draining the swamp'" -- though, to be fair, seeing how draining the swamp has turned out domestically, maybe DeSantis was trying to tell us this speech was bullshit, too. And maybe Trump's brutish base, to whom I suspect it was pitched, liked that he was tellin' off them furriners, if they even remember what the United Nations is (the wingnut operatives in the White House seem to be working from an antique Bircher playbook).

The funniest ones were those who tried to make Trump's rant seem thoughtful and philosophical, like Sohrab Ahmari at Commentary:
If your default vision of liberal order looks like Barack Obama- and Angela Merkel-style transnationalism, you were probably disappointed with Trump’s speech. The features of the Obama/Merkel model are endless diplomatic processes for their own sake; the expansion of transnational “norms” and institutions, usually at the expense of democratic self-government; and a general disdain for anything redolent of nationhood and nationalism and particularity.
Translation: If you have to power to kill and don't announce your intention to use it, preferably in the crudest terms and while wearing a flag pin, you're a weakling. Trump's "alternative vision of liberal order," Ahmari claimed, "would have looked familiar to a Ronald Reagan or a Daniel Patrick Moynihan." I'm sure it would be familiar to them -- from their buddies the Contras. But as little as I think of those two, I don't think they would have wanted America itself to become a banana republic, and its President a caudillo.

Monday, September 18, 2017


...about the uproar over Jemele Hill calling Trump a white supremacist, and how we all learned to laugh and love again thanks to Clay Travis saying "boobs." It's kind of fitting that the brethren cheered for one of the stupider terms for breasts; if he'd said "I support the Second Amendment and tits" I wonder how it'd go over. (If he'd said "I support the Second Amendment and eating pussy" I know how it'd go over.)

I mentioned the blackcon group Project 21 in the column -- I'd seen them before, and regret not having space to discuss their history. In addition to pushing wonky wingnut causes like genetically modified foods,  they've been sending black conservatives to stick up for white conservatives for years. Here’s Project 21 spokesperson Deneen Borelli, for example, a frequent talking head on Fox, claiming in 2012 that Obama threw the black community “under the bus” by supporting same-sex marriage; here she is that same year responding to the Trayvon Martin shooting with “race-based concerns with Barack Obama, Eric Holder and their involvement with the Black Panther movement…” Most recently Project 21 defended Trump against the CEOs who quit his business councils (“it certainly reeks of corporate America bowing to the will of the anti-Trump resistance movement”) and by bothsidesing the Charlottesville incident. Diamond and Silk can only hope the wingnut sinecures remain so generous into their old age, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if it ever comes time to cut staff, white people won't be in the first wave.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


I put up some pictures from the two rallies I attended in Washington Saturday: The pro-Trump Mother of All Rallies, and the March of the Juggalos. The two groups had something in common: in each case the crowd was conscious of its outsider status. But the Trump people seemed defensive, like they know they're surrounded by people who don't like them and from whom they may have to defend themselves. Maybe it's because they know how precarious their victory was, so though they claim the privileges of the majority (a preacher on their stage kept talking about "restoration") they hang onto the grievance and persecution of the minority. It seemed at least a fifth of them were dressed in some kind of security gear -- shirts and jackets with "Burnside Bums," "Picket Patriots," "American Guard," and other para-paramilitary names printed on them -- and stalking around like they were looking for malefactors to take down. (I got some of this on my Twitter feed, but Will Sommer's from Saturday is better.)

The Juggalos, on the other hand, were the opposite of paramilitary -- their costumes were variegated  and fanciful -- they're literally a motley crew -- often loud and vulgar but never aiming to intimidate. They were louche as hell, having clearly dispensed with as given their last fuck whether the world at large digs their scene, but confident that whatever the world thought, their Juggalo crew had their back (the "Fam-i-ly" chant was big at the Lincoln Memorial). Over the mainstream as they were, they didn't seem to expect enemies; you didn't see anyone looking to crack heads. They wanted respect, but only as a means to get the law's unjust persecution off their backs; other than that, if you didn't like 'em, your loss. They were an easy group to be around, but so would be the Trumpkins, I imagine, when they're not on their imaginary battlements; it's too bad they think they have to always be on them.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Some of my longer-serving readers will remember a project by Bill Whittle called Ejectia. It was yet another online wingnut nest, but pitched by him as something more than a website -- indeed, a "City-State of Virtue" that he intended to build with reader donations. He even had "early test renderings" of the intended result ("Some people would like it to be a collection of Greek buildings in a verdant valley. Some want it on a tropical isle...").

Ejectia of course vaporized,  and Whittle went on to new horizons - and he's still out there grifting, bless him, with the same cutting edge material. But what of the dream of an alternative rightwing universe? One would think that with Trump mutilating America into the human centipede of their dreams, conservatives would have no need of fantasy lands. But hope springs eternal, and if they bought it once they'll buy it again, so here's something called "Respvblica" (the "v" is for "it's like in the gladiator movies, see?"). I learned of it from a pitch letter that began thus:
Believing that real estate is not necessary to form a country in our Internet-led world today, innovators, pioneers and entrepreneurs Benjamin Poser and Joshua Resnek announced the start of Respvblica.com, the first, credible virtual nation. At first, it will launch as a news and commentary site, offering some of the sharpest writing about issues people truly care about, or should.

Respvblica is proud to be joined by Keith Ablow, MD, the New York Times bestselling author and psychiatrist who has spent ten years as psychiatry Contributor for the Fox News Network. Keith is available to talk about this new online nation...
Ablow, you may know, is a famous crackpot, the inheritor of the tinfoil crown of Dr. Martin Abend from Fox's prescursor, WNEW-TV. The other guys, who knows; Resnek seems to be a Jews-for-the-GOP sort with a taste for culture war ("Jews claiming shock and horror at some of the things Donald Trump says do not claim shock and horror watching five love making sessions during a popular movie..."). Also, his name appears in some novels by Keith Ablow, probably as an inside joke; Resnek himself writes novels -- the promo for one tells us, "through finely wrought portraits of Iowa and Washington DC of that era and of himself as a lover, as an observer and as a close-up, real time participant in the war protests and the great rallies, he stirringly depicts an American social and political era and reveals the American pastiche in all its violence, emotion and irony." What more could you want (though maybe hold the himself-as-a-lover part)? As for Benjamin Poser, he's a mystery man; maybe he put up the starter money.

From the site's "Become a Citizen" pitch:
We live, after all, in an age of Jihad, when virulent ideas have been promulgated by entities which began without any land mass, but called themselves nations, nonetheless. What if our nation—Respvblica—also were free from the notion that a land mass is essential to nationhood?
Hell of a model, guys.
What if we invited people all over the world to remain citizens of the countries in which they live, while also holding dear their allegiance to a virtual nation that, as we grow, can offer them online learning about liberty, best in class legal representation to assert their rights to free speech and the pursuit of happiness, as well as the power of a growing citizenry to obtain preferred pricing on goods and services, all around the world?
It's like your survivalist treehouse, only cuh-lassy! The price of admission is -- how cute is this -- "$17.76 USD for the first 14 days, then $17.76 USD for each 30 days." That's for starters -- I expect there'll be Platinum Citizenships and such like as soon as it gets going. Something's got to pick up the slack from Respvblica's slow-moving Kickstarter, and it'll have to be you the sucker -- er, citizen!

The site itself, you will be unsurprised to learn, is hot garbage, with a heavy pro-Trump, kill-Palestinians focus. But remember, they're not selling the steak, they're selling the pizzle.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Wondering about AfD (Alternative for Deutschland), Germany’s entry in the international fun-fair of Fuhrer-phumphers? Here’s a nice rundown from Deutsche Welle, with some points of interest:

“When it was formed in 2013, the AfD's main thrust was its opposition to bail-outs of indebted European Union member states, like Greece. Its leader, Bernd Lucke, described it as a 'new type of party that was neither right- nor left-wing.'" (Hey — just like what our dummy journalists think about Trump now!)

“German border police should shoot at refugees entering the country illegally, the former co-chair of the AfD told a regional newspaper in 2016”;

“The AfD also sees itself as a defender of the traditional nuclear family model. It is anti-abortion and hostile to alternative lifestyles.”

Sounds pretty wingnutty, even by American standards. A piquant feature is that their current leader, Alice Weidel, is gay — not unheard-of among anti-untermenschen bigots; think of Pim Fortuyn and Ernst Röhm.

Ah, but longtime readers will know where I’m going with this — right to Rodland! Rod Dreher does the finger-on-chin, quizzically-cocked-hip musing thing on AfD. First, get a load of the Lolworthy header:

Ja, das ist eine Schwarze Frau!

As often, Dreher has loooong quotes from another source, this one claiming a German “Christian civil war” between Merkel’s CDU and the AfD neo-whatsits, in part because the CDU “saw eastern Germany as more open to “Asiatics.” “It’s a powerful charge,” says Dreher, “and I have no way of knowing whether or not it is true. But I’ll assume that it is.” LOL. Also, per the source:
…the CDU’s postwar leader, Konrad Adenauer, was a Catholic who attended mass faithfully. Subsequent leaders have been less and less pious. Angela Merkel is the least pious of them all…
Yeah, we’re in legitimate political science territory here, but Dreher is rapt. He is aware of the Head Lesbian in Charge, but seems to have found some wiggle room via something called Christians In The AfD, which equivocally gibbers at length that it's okay if it's for whiteness; Dreher, who Wants To Believe, observes, “maybe they believe it makes more sense to tolerate same-sex marriage (which is now a fact in Germany) within a larger context of the state working to support marriage in general. I don’t know… It’s in German, but I read it in translation via Chrome.” Again, LOL.

But then Dreher gets to the good stuff — White Supremacy, Deutsch edition (because it’s a good idea to support other nationalists’ Supremacies, in case you need their support in, for example, a World War):
In general, I believe that all nations have the right to determine their own character. If a historically Islamic, Hindu, or Buddhist nation wanted to maintain its religious and civilizational character, they would have the right…
We don’t begrudge you darkskins if you want your own table at the campus union — why should you begrudge us our white nations?
…To the deracinated, globalizing liberal, it doesn’t really matter if the medieval church in the town center becomes a mosque or a disco, as long as procedural liberalism has been respected. This kind of thing gives lie to the claim that liberalism is neutral.
Christ is King is the neutral state — oh, if only the Inquisition were still around to show you libtards! Thereafter, more what-if-white-people-invaded-a-dark country bullshit, and this remarkable graf:
If you asked Western Christians if they would rather live in Christian Lagos or atheistic Berlin, I suppose most would choose Berlin. I would, or at least that’s what I think off the top of my head. It’s not simply because the standard of living is higher there. It’s also that despite the absence of Christianity, the culture is much more familiar. But consider this: Christian children raised in Lagos almost certainly have a much greater chance of retaining their Christianity into adulthood than children raised in Berlin. What profiteth it a man to raise his kids in all the order and comfort of the West, but watch them lose their souls? According to the logic of my own principles, I ought to choose Lagos over Berlin. And perhaps I would do so, after thinking about it.
Sure you would! Dreher, who’s always fucking off on European foodie vacations, pretending he’d go live in Lagos? Shit, he couldn’t even stick it in St. Francisville, Louisiana. The fucker has lived in Philly, Brooklyn, Dallas, and Baton Rouge, and has had three religions — he’s the very definition of a rootless cosmopolitan!

Then Dreher thinks about whether Christian refugees are bad for thinking of going to Germany where it’s less Christian than their native hellhole, and comes to this:
Hard, hard questions. If Germany loses her Christian faith, she may be persuaded in the future to return to it. But if Germany loses her distinctly German culture through mass immigration, there will be no going back. Obviously, the Hitler legacy makes these questions excruciatingly difficult for Germany — as well as hard for the rest of us, or at least it ought to make them hard — but that horrible legacy does not settle the questions.
I should fucking think the "Hitler legacy" -- that is, the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and the Second World War -- settled those questions for good and all. But maybe hardcore Jesus people like Dreher have a more, let us say, transactional relationship with Nazism.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


At rightwing ladymag Acculturated, Mark Tapson has written the ten millionth conservative complainer about how the artistic commissars are prejumadiced against them:
The culture leans sharply left, and in our current, highly-polarized political climate that means conservatives in the arts tend to be treated as outsiders at best and pariahs at worst. Listen to the personal experiences of conservatives in Hollywood, for example, whether “above the line” (the stars, producers and directors) or below it (the rest of the crew), and you will understand why most keep their politics in the closet to avoid bad vibes, ostracism, and/or outright hostility. The left, of course, dismisses complaints of blacklisting and bias as paranoid whining, but they are very real indeed.
Wow -- someone in Hollywood was hostile to you? Must be your politics!

Tapson has a more specific gripe, too: He claims the New York Times best-seller listings are cheating rightwing authors like Dinesh D'Souza of their proper rankings:
The Times says its list is based on “surveys” of “a wide range of retailers who provide us with specific and confidential context of their sales each week. These standards are applied consistently, across the board in order to provide Times readers our best assessment of what books are the most broadly popular at that time.”

Confidential context? Best assessment? Broadly popular? This sounds suspiciously unscientific and non-transparent, and does not address the evidence of the sales figures themselves. The once highly-regarded “newspaper of record” is notoriously leftist and D’Souza is a lightning rod for Progressive animosity, so the idea that there might be some manipulation of the list is not only not ludicrous, it’s likely.
This goes back to something I've been saying forever about wingnut whining -- for example, when they complain that Yale and Harvard are prejudiced against them, I always say: Why not quitcher bitchin' and instead make Bob Jones and Liberty University the intellectual lighthouses to which the best students flock? Then you won't need to worry about Yale and Harvard! Bypass the gatekeepers! Be the star you are!

Similarly, why worry about the Times rankings at all? (Shoot, Regnery doesn't -- they say they'll stop using the Times rankings in their marketing which, given their bulk-sales-to-gomers approach, probably won't make any difference.) Conservatives having been saying for decades that the Times is untrustworthy and irrelevant -- why not instead lobby for the New York Post, Breitbart et alia to have their own lists, and then you can all enthuse that D'Souza's Liberal Fascism for the Even Dumber is #1 on the American Thinker Best Seller List?

The answer's pretty obvious: These guys don't really believe what they say they believe. They don't want the path cleared so they can be judged by the wide world on their own merits. What they want are the glittering prizes their enemies dispense, because somewhere deep in their blackened little souls they burn with desire for the approbation of the people they spend their days raging against, like spurned teenage suitors. And, if they can't have the prizes, they can at least retain the boogiemen -- Hollyweird! Eggheads! Shut Up and Sing! -- that they and their yokel supporters can invoke whenever they feel like having a good cry about how persecuted they are.

For his coda, Tapson then tacks on another popular rightwing favorite: Let's Put on a Culture! (A nice one, not that entarte kunst those liberals do.)
The upshot is, it’s time for conservative artists to do more than complain about the culture bias; it’s time for us to -- first and foremost -- create great art (or none of the rest of it will matter), and secondly, create alternative distribution channels to disseminate it: magazines, networks, publishers, production companies, studios, awards shows, foundation grants, everything the left used to create the current infrastructure that favors its worldview.

The technology for this transformation is available. The funding is available (if only moneyed conservatives had the vision to use it effectively). All that’s necessary is the will.
Yep, all it takes is the will, and the endless, fruitless quest to get Rupert Murdoch to finance your hard-hitting dramedy about the Knockout Game. I hear this kind of thing a lot, and the payoff is nearly always a dud or a grift -- take the sad cases of Liberty Island and Declaration Entertainment. It's not that I think they can't do it; it's just that I think the real conservative artists are just making their art rather than boo-hooing about bias -- notwithstanding the former is much harder than the latter. Try to imagine Evelyn Waugh crying that the Labour Party was keeping him down.

I understand the emotions, but outside of ungovernable obsession I don't understand why they post and print so much about the subject in public where people can see it. I can see bitching at the liberal media if you're a politician -- it may convince your voters the stories they tell on you are false. But what's even the point of crying about how Big Artistry isn't fair to your play, book or film when your readers probably only ever watch Game of Thrones and Clint Eastwood movies, and only ever pick up a book to smash flies? Maybe it's an easy space-filler for when one of their propagandists calls in sick.

UPDATE. I realize that quoting wingnut comboxes is the lowest form of comedy but I ain't too proud for it when the lulz are this good: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit aggregates the story and her commenters are -- well, look how some cowboys answered "Is it Time for Conservatives to Create an Alternate Culture?"

Go over there and look, it's hilair. Sample: "I thought conservatives already had an alternative culture. I thought it was called church."

Monday, September 11, 2017


...about how the brethren reacted to Trump's deal with Pelosi and Schumer -- with a special guest appearance by the Lamestream Media!

I regret I didn't have more space for Jonah Goldberg, who in addition to the see-I-told-you-he-was-a-Democrat dumbness complained that the Republican Congress couldn't do anything because Trump was blocking them by being a bad leader: “Even under the best circumstances, major legislation cannot get out of Congress without robust presidential leadership,” he protested. “I wish it were otherwise, because Congress is the first branch of government and should take the lead. But in the modern era, you can’t outsource the big stuff to Congress.”

This is funny because, waaaay back in June of 2017, Goldberg saw things very differently: while “for decades, under Republican and Democratic presidents and Republican and Democratic majorities, Congress has been a feckless doormat for the president,” he said then, Trump’s being a bad leader meant McConnell and Ryan “have had to step up, filling a breach that began under Woodrow Wilson and became a chasm at the end of the Obama years,” and in consequence “the system isn't breaking down, it's finally starting to work as intended.”

Luckily for Goldberg, his readers can’t remember much further back than their last visit to the gerontologist.

Friday, September 08, 2017


These guys don't get enough play.

•   The only products for which demand never relents, even during natural disasters, are water, bread, milk, and guns, apparently. I thank Media Matters for pointing out that conservatives are now frothing because the government of the Virgin Islands, threatened by Hurricane Irma, issued an order allowing the authorities to seize guns during the impending emergency. The governor says it's to supplement government ordnance at a crucial time, but the NRA knows what it's really about: The thin end of the statist wedge! "This dangerous order violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts their lives at risk," says NRA executive director Chris W. Cox, and Tucker Carlson brought on NRA rageclown Dana Loesch to yell about it. "It really is confirmation that the pro-Second Amendment people have a right to be paranoid about gun registration!" cries Carlson; later in the broadcast he repeats that said people are not paranoid, as if he realized this were a thought that might flash through some of his less effectively brainwashed viewers' minds. I wish I could figure out a way to convince them that the Goldurn Gummint wants the death tax paid in firearms, so these idiots can do shows and op-eds about how corpses will be left defenseless against grave-robbers without their shooting irons.

•   The Republicans in Congress are supposed to be mad at Trump for cutting a deal with the Democrats to delay the debt ceiling crisis by three months. Ha! Most of them voted for this deal. Also, the GOP are still holding up their end of what we may call the Grand Bargain:
GOP again moves to help keep Trump’s tax returns secret 
...[Democratic Congressman Bill] Pascrell, who's measure demanded Trump’s personal and business returns, argued, “How can we debate tax reform proposals without seeing the president’s tax returns? […] Congress has the authority and the duty to obtain and review President Trump’s tax returns to ensure there are no potential conflicts of interest in the tax policies he is proposing.” 
This, evidently, did not prove persuasive. The Ways and Means Committee voted 21 to 14 to reject the New Jersey Democrat’s motion, which would’ve directed the Treasury Department to provide the documents to Congress, with literally zero Republicans breaking ranks.
What have I been telling you for months now? Notwithstanding the smokescreen of the debt ceiling: Trump gives them the policies they crave, and in return the Republicans let him grift. If you find what's happening on Capitol Hill confusing, just remind yourself of that.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Dinesh D'Souza, perhaps stung by the cruel things Ross Douthat said about him last weekend, has rushed his latest historical breakthrough to publication via the prestigious academic journal WorldNetDaily:
Exclusive: Dinesh D'Souza explains how Nazis were anything but 'conservative'
Yes, it's all about how the Nazis have to be liberal because they couldn't be conservative because like liberals the Nazis were artistic and sexed up. Sample:
While the rutting bohemians of the 1960s had no idea, [Herbert] Marcuse surely knew that the Nazis and the Italian fascists were themselves – almost to a man – bohemians. Hitler himself was a painter and artiste before he went into politics. He was obsessed with music and regularly attended the Bayreuth Festival; Wagner’s music, Hitler said, reflected the triumph of art over life.
He painted and listened to Wagner, see, while conservatives think representations of the human form are of the Devil, and only listen to Toby Keith. Oh, and:
He was also a vegetarian.
Well, that settles it!
Hitler had a secret mistress, Eva Braun, whom he only married the day before the two of them committed suicide. In their case, “till death do us part” was literally a matter of hours.
Whereas conservatives wait till they're caught cheating on their wives to marry their mistresses.

Further down, D'Souza explains that the Night of the Long Knives proves Nazis were liberal because the Brownshirts were homosexuals, and gives us a comparison for the ages:
When Hitler’s men opened Rohm’s door the Brownshirt leader feigned a very casual attitude. Hitler simply told him, “You’re under arrest.” One by one, doors opened and Brownshirt couples came streaming out, in various stages of undress. This was the Nazi atmosphere in those days, and it far more closely resembles that of the Village Voice or the Democratic National Convention than it does the National Review or the Trump White House.
It's been a while since I've been to the Voice offices so who knows, but I watched the Democratic National Convention on TV and didn't see anything like what D'Souza describes; maybe that was at the afterparty. But I should think the part of the Night of the Liberal Knives where Hitlery Clinton had all the gay brownshirts murdered would have been in the papers.

All told, if this doesn't convince you Kamala Harris is more like the Nazis than the xenophbic lunatic Nazi-defender who runs the country, I don't know what will.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017


...about Hurricane Harvey and the political uses to which the brethren seek to put it. One expects this, of course -- liberals have their own angles on it (and very good ones they are too!). But conservatives don't have much to work with here, particularly from an anti-Big-Gummint perspective, and so fall back on the traditional hatred of sissy liberals. I was surprised not to find a Harvey-related defense of Confederate statutes, but maybe that's on the way.

UPDATE. One of the things I couldn't squeeze into the five-pound bag was the wingnut reaction to the widespread puzzlement at the stiletto heels Mrs. Trump wore to what was portrayed as a disaster mission. I am assuming her footwear choice was designed for pissing off liberals, since that is one of the four animating principles of this administration (the other three being looting the treasury, persecuting the underprivileged, and exalting the dark lord Satan), but the payoff in the rightwing press has been frankly subpar. The Blaze made a typical apples-and-oranges error with "While mainstream media scorn Melania’s shoes they’re drooling over Michelle Obama’s skirt"; a legitimate equivalent would be if Mrs. Obama had been photographed holding that "Bring Back Our Girls" sign while wearing a Chance The Rapper hat sideways. And deposed Gruppenführer Sebastian Gorka's tweet was just embarrassing. But the worst was a poetic effort at American Greatness by one Joe Long that puts the "dog" back in doggerel. It begins thus:
So you recall the previous FLOTUS?
Whene’er her biceps she showed us,
How the media gushed and cooed –
Worshipful, their attitude.
Brrr. Brings back nightmare memories of W.H. von Dreele.

Monday, September 04, 2017


[NB: If you're looking for the weekly Voice column, I think it will be out Tuesday -- though, given the flux state, I can't guarantee anything.]

The full-throated lunacy of many of my subjects can be entertaining, but these days the people who bother me most are the apparatchiks who portray themselves as reasonable difference-splitters. In punditry as in real life, there's always something up with these guys. Take Ross Douthat (well, this week anyway -- he's shown himself as capable of lunacy as any of the rest of them).

In his recent column Douthat tells us about two conservative authors of whom he disapproves. One of these is Jeff Flake, whose NeverTrumpism would of course embarrass a conservative establishment figure like Douthat who cannot bring himself to go so far as to anathematize the man who may yet turn the Supreme Court into a religious tribal council (though Douthat does occasionally hit Trump with some zingers, just to show that he's an intellectual). Flake's approach Douthat dismisses as a loser "because purist libertarianism plus supply-side economics is not a winner in the current crisis."

But Douthat also treats Dinesh D'Souza, and at first you might be surprised by how he slams the former wingnut boy wonder -- calling his new The Big Lie book about how liberals are HitlerStalin “demagogy” and D’Souza’s "latest plea for attention.” But this is all a bluff, and the first hint comes when Douthat says "D’Souza has become a hack." When was he not a hack? When he was doing stupid look-how-unPC stunts at Dartmouth? When was blaming 9/11 on liberals for provoking Al Qaeda? D'Souza has always been a piece of shit.

This turns out to be a squirt of lube to grease the way for Douthat's real D'Souza howler, which comes in the form of a rhetorical concession:
Because D’Souza has a debater’s gifts, his wild argument is piled atop a legitimate foundation. The historical relationship between progressive politics and various evils — racism, anti-Semitism, imperialism, eugenics, authoritarianism — that liberals prefer to pin exclusively on the right is complicated and sometimes damning, and that ideological history shapes progressivism still.
So tendentious readings of Margaret Sanger are something liberals should engage instead of trying to keep the Jesus Zombies from stealing women's rights. Also, "that ideological history shapes progressivism still"? What the fuck does that mean? That if Bernie Sanders becomes president, he'll institute new Palmer Raids because people like him just can't help themselves? Douthat's basically saying D'Souza's "demagogy" is right -- at least when you say it New York Times style.

Also, while Douthat thinks Flake's sober theme is a loser, he says if conservatives "follow D’Souza’s lead (and Trump’s, now that his populist agenda seems all-but-dead) and wrap unpopular economic policies in wild attacks on liberalism," they hit the jackpot:
With this combination, the Republican Party can win elections, at least for now — not because most Americans can be persuaded that liberals are literally Nazis, but because liberalism’s intolerant and utopian tendencies make people fear the prospect of granting progressives political power to match their cultural hegemony.
I'm sure even Douthat's better-manicured readers will have stopped listening closely after "can win elections" -- because that is all conservatism is about anymore: cheerfully watching Trump use conservative policy (the only kind he has actually tried to effect, remember) to wreck the social structure of America, and going "oh dear dear dear" afterwards to show how much nicer than him they are. Oh, and Douthat adds this:
Winning this way is a purely negative achievement for the right, a recipe for failed governance extending years ahead.
If he'd ever shown signs of a sense of humor, I say this was a joke. Trump's goon squads don't care about the years ahead. After him, the Even More Savage God! As for Douthat, I'm sure he expects to have been raptured into the arms of the Lord by the time this all goes down.

So, to recap, both the NeverTrump idealist and the sensationalist grifter are wrong, but Douthat has money on the half that eats.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


Remember how hillbilly OxyContin addicts and the lack of attention we callous urban sophisticates devoted to them was one of the big This Is Why Trump Won talking points? It brought all the White Working Class Whisperers to the yard. Recall the post-election Business Insider story called "The revenge of the 'Oxy electorate' helped fuel Trump's election upset" that quoted major WWCW Chris Arnade: "'Wherever I saw strong addiction and strong drug use,' Arnade told Business Insider, he saw support for Trump." "People are literally dying," a "rural sociologist" told Business Insider. "There was such a sense of hopelessness that it makes sense they would vote for massive change."

Arnade's fellow WWCW Salena Zito also chided sissy latte drinking urbanites underconcerned with their rural junkie brethren: "If rural America continues to diminish, all of America will diminish," she wept, "because the countryside is as much a part of American’s identity as New York City’s skyscrapers and Silicon Valley’s sprawling technology campuses." Her solution? Not "subsidies from Washington... they just neutralize that rugged, self-reliant, innovative rural spirit." These proud hayseeds don't want no socialist charity! Zito instead suggested somebody (she never said who -- couldn't be Big Gummint, that's for sure!) "provide incentives that attract entrepreneurs back to invest in their former hometowns..." You know, much in the manner Hillbilly Elegy WWCW J.D. Vance, another longtime weeper over the Trump voters' opioid habits ("Folks aren't going to church, their kids are addicted to drugs"), was lured back to the dinky little hometown about which he complained so profitably in his book -- well, not there exactly, but to hipster burg Columbus, from which maybe he'll take his dogs "Pippin and Casper" out to the boonies for a walk every once in a while.

So up till this week I was still of the impression that liberals were supposed to feel ashamed that our lack of sympathy for the poor, drug-addicted common clay in Oatmeal, Nebraska had driven them into the arms of Trump. But the situation seems to be shifting: Now the opioid problem is not really such a big deal, and to the extent that it is, it's the fault of Obamacare.

Lo, here is Jeffrey Singer at TownHall to command us "Stop the Hysterical Rhetoric About the Opioid Crisis." Singer, who you can see sometimes at libertarian flagship Reason arguing against mandatory vaccination ("Forcibly injecting substances -- attenuated microbes or otherwise -- into someone else's body cannot be justified as an act of self-defense"), tells us here that while "deaths from opioid overdose have been steadily increasing," the majority of those victims "are not patients receiving opioids for pain." Hence they're criminal outliers, hence why should we care -- like all those black people who get shot by cops, it's their own fault.

Or is it? In another recent Singer column, this one at the Cato Institute, he asks, "Is Obamacare Fueling the Opioid Overdose Death Rate?" It's kind of Rube Goldberg reasoning so bear with me: the government does risk adjustment for policies on ACA beneficiaries who aren't cost effective (much as it also does on Medicare Advantage beneficiaries), so "the program systematically underpays," causing insurers to provide as little coverage as they can get away with (a problem for which there is no solution, especially not one called Single Payer) and, finally, worse treatment for addicts, hence death.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) also believes the opioid curse is the fault of Obamacare. “Medicaid expansion may be fueling the opioid epidemic in communities across the country," he claims. So, hillbilly heroin addicts, Trump will help you by overturning Obamacare -- which he hasn't managed to do yet, but that's because the sun was in his eyes -- and returning American to the old Pay or Die model, where some lucky people get Hazelden treatment for their addictions and the rest get Joe Clark bootstraps or an early grave.

Why's this happening now? I suspect it's this: though he's been lavishing monosyllabic praise on his herkimer-jerkimer supporters, with his policies Trump's actually been shitting on them -- his alleged big job "wins" at places like Carrier have turned out to be bullshit, and he's going to pay for their beloved Wall with their own tax dollars. And though he's been slinging boob bait as best he can,  cheering for Confederates and Nazis and yelling at the press, his poll numbers suggest even some of the gomers have ceased to buy it and are abandoning him.

So I believe Trump is cutting bait. His grand promises having come to naught, he's denying that they were ever needed in the first place -- if your sons and daughters are on drugs, that's Obama's fault, in any case don't come crying to me about it! He figures he can afford it -- he can always win them back by fanning some more racial flames -- or, if that fails, starting a war.

As for the White Working Class Whisperers, I predict they'll play along, especially since the alternative is finding a new shtick.

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?