Wednesday, November 15, 2017

IF ANYONE HAD SAID ANYTHING TO ME AT ALL WHEN I FIRST STARTED HERE THAT THAT SORT OF THING WAS FROWNED UPON...

Matthew Yglesias on the Clinton impeachment (yes, the cool kids are talking about that again -- but with a modern twist):
To this line of argument, Republicans offered what was fundamentally the wrong countercharge. They argued that in the effort to spare himself from the personal and marital embarrassment entailed by having the affair exposed, Clinton committed perjury when testifying about the matter in a deposition related to Paula Jones’s lawsuit against him. 
What they should have argued was something simpler: A president who uses the power of the Oval Office to seduce a 20-something subordinate is morally bankrupt and contributing, in a meaningful way, to a serious social problem that disadvantages millions of women throughout their lives.
Yeah, that would have worked. "Perjury is a non-starter -- let's go with my notes from a seminar on power relations!"

Clinton had sex with an adult woman not his wife. Not great, morally, but not Bluebeard either. Yglesias, no doubt borne aloft by the recent wave of sex crimes outrage, wants to revisit the case as one of "men’s abuse of workplace power for sexual gain," worthy of impeachment. The national revulsion at rape and harassment, I can get; the idea that sexual relations are only legitimate if they occur between members of the same caste, not so much -- and certainly not as an impeachable offense.

You can tell Yglesias doesn't really believe in it either, because he brings up the much more serious accusations of Juanita Broaddrick as if they might tip the jury. If he really wanted to stick to the subject, he might have named for us some other consensual relationships he thinks are power-imbalanced in the same way as Clinton's and Lewinsky's. Maybe he could have mentioned David Brooks' marriage to his much-younger former research assistant, for example, or other relationships where one or the other party has more money, a higher profile, more street cred, or whatever, and may thus be judged exploitative. But that might have gotten him in trouble, whereas relitigating the Clinton impeachment is au courant, and a way to signal to your rightwing pals that you take this stuff just as seriously as they do -- which is to say, not at all.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CONSERVATISM CANNOT FAIL, IT CAN ONLY BE FAILED, PART 956,390.

If you look at Roy Moore's official political positions, you'll see that he's as hardcore a conservative as can be imagined: In favor of "lower taxes, smaller government, and less spending," anti-abortion, anti-immigrant, against "socialized medicine," thinks "homosexuality should be against military policy," etc.

But now he's an embarrassment, so John Daniel Davidson of The Federalist wishes to inform you:
Long Before Assault Allegations, Roy Moore Betrayed Conservatism
Social conservatives embraced Roy Moore because they thought he was fighting for them. In fact, Moore was never a conservative to begin with.
You have probably guessed Davidson's MacGuffin here is Moore's defiance as a judge that got him kicked off the bench -- proof of his "History of Contempt for The Law," which makes him unconservative because real conservatives respect the law. If you look up No True Scotsman in the dictionary, they have a picture of Davidson's column next to it.

Weirdly, when Davidson covered Moore's victory in the Republican primary in September, he didn't denounce his Constitutional crimes, nor weep for the defeat of conservatism in Alabama -- in fact Davidson said Moore's victory was about "the waning influence of the GOP establishment," and it proved that "mainstream Republicans like McConnell haven fallen out of favor with conservative voters." So conservative voters elected this unconservative. They must have been greatly confused!

Once upon a time I'd have given Davidson points for chutzpah, but I've stopped doing that because it appears every conservative in the country is stocked up on chutzpah these days, having no other way to sell their bullshit in the teeth of obviously contradictory reality. The fuckers have even wrecked chutzpah! No wonder Roger Stone is going down.

Monday, November 13, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about Roy Moore, the election, and the awkward position into which both have put conservatives -- which may explain why they're not entirely united in defense of their accused kid-diddler. Of course, if the Alabama special election were a true Senate-hangs-in-the-balance scenario, we might get the kind of bad faith and bullshit we got when conservatives were hemming and hawing over Trump's pussy-grabbing tape. But since it's merely important, and still winnable, they're allowed to break ranks.

UPDATE: Man, if he's not fucked after this... 

Thursday, November 09, 2017

FOOD OF THE GOD-BOTHERERS.

Today in What's Rod Dreher On About This Time we find the Get-Ready Man inspired by James Poulos, whose bright idea is that, since America has been ruined for the Godly by atheistic sex freaks, maybe the Godly should leave America and go colonize Europe -- you know, the way religious cults used to take over territories in the American outland and establish monocultural enclaves like Rajneeshpuram and Ave Maria --
...growing numbers in the U.S. may conclude that the only way to retain the essential character of the West is to relocate to Europe...

Not every American will pose that question or act on it. But for those who can match a personal interest in doing so to a more cultural or ideological interest in helping “save” Europe from another traumatizing and turbulent break with its past, returning to the old world for the good of western civilization may hold a unique and powerful appeal.
Poulos briefly acknowledges that "the refusal of large numbers of Americans to seek their fortune outside their country even when it has become effectively impossible for them to live fruitfully at home" may owe in part to the fact that not every Godly-American is a trust fund kid with enough dough to take himself and his quiverful off to Belgium for a Gap Lifetime -- he even brings up drug addiction as an impediment because that's really hot when talking about the poors these days -- but finally realizes paupers don't read shit like this anyway and declares "the primary obstacle to seeking better fortunes overseas is probably a raw lack of imagination — an inability to conceive of a picture of a future outside the new world." So bootstrap your imaginations, Jesus peeps -- maybe run a for-profit education scam like The Leader to fund your travels, or better yet a Kickstarter! Hell, Kim Du Toit did it even before Kickstarter was a thing.

Nutty as that is, Dreher's reaction is ever better. First, he wistfully declares that if he were a younger man, he might do just this:
I don’t want Notre Dame de Paris to become either a mosque or a museum. There’s something in me that wants to resist by loving these things that we Christians in the West have been given, but have for far too long left uncherished.
I assume Dreher's idea of loving Notre Dame is banding together with like-minded morons in front of the place to form a cordon sanitaire against Muslims. Dreher also talks about how he loves all the old things you can see in Europe and "feel[s] at home in Europe in ways that I just don’t in America" -- he's not the only one wearing sandals, for one thing -- and as an unbidden bonus (maybe the old lady walked by, looked over his shoulder, and muttered, "Is it already time for another foodie vacation?"), leaps to a defense of his many gastrotravels:
Yes, it’s true that I love to take vacations to Europe. The food is something I love, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Aside from being delicious, the cuisines of European countries are expressions of deep and abiding traditions. I have a sacramental mentality, which means that I don’t sit down at a table in the Umbrian mountains and eat an antipasti platter of cured meats and experience them as merely delicious. I learn what I can about why cured meats, and cured meats in this particular style, came to be associated with this region, or this village, and what the cooking here says about the local culture and its traditions. I like to eat good local food and drink good local wine or beer. That’s one of life’s great pleasures.
See, when you ignorant peons eat fancy food, you're just gorging, but Rod's sacramental -- meaning, I suppose, that when he says grace he does so in a dreamy voice meant to convey his sacramentality.

No wonder his family didn't want his bouillabaisse; all that sanctimony probably spoiled the flavor.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

ELECTION NIGHT WRAPUP.

As I watch wingnut bête noire Bill De Blasio cruising and Democrats romping in Jersey and Virginia, it is clear that for conservatives hoping to distract from the disastrous reign of Trump, the strategy of hailing the Sutherland Springs massacre as a feel-good story because only 26 people died, and spreading the David Harsanyi gospel of "Bringing A Gun To Church Is A Pretty Good Idea" and the Hans Feine gospel of "When The Saints Of First Baptist Church Were Murdered, God Was Answering Their Prayers," and accusing people who sensibly found that crazy of "making fun of prayer," turned out not to be the game-changer they may have been expecting.

The game show host is losing in the ratings, and the attention of the electorate has been redirected to the traditional rightwing spokespeople, who are clearly nuts. The result could have been predicted.

Monday, November 06, 2017

CIVIL WAR CONSPLAY.

[The Sutherland Springs shooting required that I rewrite, as we say in the journalism business, my Village Voice column last night. But a rough version of the original still sits on my laptop and I figure you might get a kick out of it.]

Hear about the big antifa “civil war” last weekend? Kidding, it didn’t actually happen — and when it didn’t, rightbloggers took credit.

Rumors that The Left would go all Helter Skelter on Saturday had apparently been brewing on the right since August, when old-left group Refuse Fascism called for a nationwide “struggle” against Trump, Pence, and The Man, begining with demonstrations on November 4.

I’ve seen these guys as part (a small part) of anti-Trump events before, and their efforts probably wouldn’t have entered public consciousness were it not for rightwing reports by internet randos about a “civil war” that “antifa” — the randos’ generic term, apparently, for all leftist boogiemen — were planning for November 4.

Word spread among other conservative sites. “America is poised for revolution, and a date has been set, November 4, 2017,” warned Catholic Online.

“’Antifa' preps mass uprising to remove 'fascist' Trump,” reported WorldNetDaily. Like many of the story-spreaders, they started out talking about antifa (“The far-left group known as ‘antifa’ has dramatically increased its presence”), then suddenly switched gears to talk about Refuse Fascism (“On Nov. 4, the group Refuse Fascism is calling for gatherings around America to demand ‘the Trump/Pence regime must go’”).

And of course Infowars was all over it (“ALT-LEFT PLANS ANTI-TRUMP RIOTS IN MAJOR CITIES ON NOVEMBER 4”).

The story even got some play at Politico in a Taylor Gee story called “Inside the Left’s Plans to Occupy Trump.” Though Gee did wonder “whether Refuse Fascism can persuade anyone to show up on November 4,” the Politico placement gave rightboggers’ forebodings an air of legitimacy, and it was cited by rightblogger outfits such as Ben Shapiro's Daily Wire (“POLITICO is being generous when it calls the group's message ‘hazy’”).

All this publicity apparently got the Refuse Fascism guys so excited they took out a full-age ad in the New York Times — or as The New American, confused as to the nature of newspaper advertising, reported, “NY Times Promotes Antifa-Communist Coup Effort Against Trump for Nov. 4.”

As conservatives counted down the days to the new civil war, leftwing wiseguys teased them mercilessly; @KrangTNelson goaded, “Can’t wait for November 4th when millions of antifa supersoldiers will behead all white parents and small business owners in the town square.” A retweet of this taunt was promptly picked up by the notoriously credulous Gateway Pundit: “ANTIFA Leader: “November 4th […] millions of antifa supersoldiers will behead all white parents.”

When informed of their pwnage, Gateway Pundit pretended to be mortally offended (“Imagine for a second if I, or any other conservative with a public voice, tweeted out a ‘joke’ about how we should ‘behead all black parents’”) while other rightbloggers banged the drum even harder:

“Antifa plans massive demonstration for one demand – and it’s about Trump,” cried Glenn Beck’s The Blaze.“Antifa Rallies Planned in at Least 20 U.S. Cities — Won’t ‘Stop Until This Regime Driven from Power,’” announced SGT Report.

“More than 20 cities across the nation fear protest marches on Saturday to demand Trump's removal from office could be hijacked by violent anarchists,” long-breathed the Daily Mail. “USA coast to coast RIOTS planned TODAY as Antifa anarchists hijack anti-Trump protests,” claimed the Sunday Express.

Legit outlets like the Washington Post and Newsweek tried to calm them down, but why should patriots in the Age of Trump listen to the Fake News Lügenpresse — especially since Fox News was out there telling the real story: “Anarchist group's plan to overthrow Trump 'regime' starts Saturday,” Caleb Park told Fox’s audience of terrified elderly shut-ins at their website; the TV station, of course, did the same.

The 4th came and went and only a few small and non-violent rallies materialized. Did the brethren admit at last they’d been conned? On the contrary: They declared victory.

“Antifa Activists Overwhelmed by Huge Trump Supporter Contingent in Austin, Texas — Forced to Slink Away (VIDEO),” announced Gateway Pundit.

“George Soros may want his money back today after Refuse Fascism's mass insurrection failed to materialize on November 4,” laffed Debra Heine at PJ Media.

“Nationwide Soros-Funded, Antifa 'Uprising' To Remove Trump From Office Fails,” reported Zero Hedge, which further reported that the protests fizzled even though they had “received widespread attention in the mainstream media for the last week” — without mentioning the “widespread attention” was mostly from rightbloggers or people revealing it as a fraud.

“ANTIFAIL: LOW TURNOUTS AT NATIONWIDE ‘REFUSE FASCISM’ PROTESTS,” hollered Breitbart. “In contrast to previous Antifa rallies, there haven’t been any reports of violence as of yet,” they reported, “although independent journalist Tim Pool did report being yelled at for asking questions about communism. That’s the thing about commies, they never admit it. Except when they wave Soviet flags in the middle of Seattle. So I guess they sometimes admit it.” Save a vitrine at the Newseum!

It makes sense in a way. For a year liberals have been holding huge anti-Trump rallies while pro-Trump rallies have been more modest — over which conservatives could only fume. How much better, then, to fabricate the specter of a violent leftist mother-of-all-rallies, and then stand in the empty public square, fists balled up, crying "aha -- so you're scared, are ya?"

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the early, stupid reactions to the Sutherland Springs shooting. The column had to be filed early so I missed such lulus as David French's "In the Face of Evil, Prayer Is the Most Rational and Effective Response" at National Review, in which he yells at the "angry Twitter Left" for dismissing the usual Thoughts 'n' Prayers glurge.
The simple and stupid version of the argument is that “prayer doesn’t work” — either because the critic believes the God of the Bible is no more real than a Flying Spaghetti Monster or because he sees the persistence of evil as refuting the efficacy of prayer.
Did you think the argument was actually that T&P is a distraction, used by conservatives as a way to avoid confronting our national gun problem until the outrage over the latest murderfest cools, to be hauled out again the next time? French responds that gun control doesn't work, notwithstanding the example of several other Western countries. And anyway how dare you interrupt the thoughts and prayers with your heathenish response -- it's too soon:
While I disagree with atheists, my quarrel right now isn’t with their disbelief, it’s with their choosing this moment to not only mock Christians but to also display their ignorance of basic Christian theology.
French counts on his readers not to remember that just days before, right after the Manhattan bike path terror attack, he wrote a post called "Sure, Go Ahead and Politicize Tragic Events," in which he wrote:
I’m just cynical enough to believe that the vast majority of politicians, pundits, and Twitter warriors who demand that we not “politicize” a tragedy are really begging, “Don’t make me talk about my political opinion in an unfavorable environment. Let’s wait until the news cycle passes, and the public moves on.” But perhaps moments when the public is energized and interested are among the best times for politicians to make political arguments. Do it tactfully. Respect the fallen. But make your case.
This rhetorical game of Simon Says can go on forever, which is why they play it every time a white guy shoots a place up.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

YOU CAN'T BEAT US, WE GOT CLETUS; OR, THE @NRO-CONFEDERATES.

Ed Gillespie's running a tight Virginia Governor race on a Yee-Haw-The-South's-Gonna-Do-It-Again platform and, as you can see below, Them National Review Boys are going all out for him on the front page:



Man, these fuckers love the Confederacy! To summarize their cases:

David French, a stars-and-bars enthusiast from way back, defends "Confederate honor" and the statues of slavers-'n'-traitors Ed Gillespie is using to draw gomer voters:
In the town square in Mount Pleasant, Tenn. — just a few miles from my house — there stands a weatherbeaten monument to a small Confederate unit nicknamed the Bigby Greys...
Cue the lonesome harmonica, the crack of the bullwhip and Rastus crying, "Cut it out, Massa, it tickles!" French doesn't see what you black and liberal people are bitching about -- look, they have a slave memorial nearby, too, and together these monuments celebrate the South at its best: French's confederate ancestors in battle dress and glory, and black people in chains.

Also, French speaks up for John Kelly, whose absurd defense of the Confederacy the other day convinced the last remaining "but Trump's got a few good people around him" holdouts to give it up. My ancestors were honorable just like Kelly says, insists French; only "the cause for which they seceded was repugnant and reprehensible," just like those poor dead German boys at Bitburg. But my, how gallant those French ancestors were, especially in their grey uniforms that were cleaned and tailored just so or else the slaves in charge of them would be whipped and their wounds washed with brine!

Also, it was after all a War of Northern Aggression with an "invading northern army ... attempting to restore the union by sheer force of arms," plus French's ancestors were scared the slaves would rise up in a "bloody, genocidal slave rebellion" and kill them -- and think how unjust that would have been! If you're shocked French thinks such an argument will sway you, remember it's not you he's trying to sway.

Meanwhile Ben Shapiro does a full column of YOU STARTED IT LIBS:
...as Hamilton also recognized, demagoguery provides an easier ascent to power than reason. The Left has known this for decades, which is why they labeled conservatives bigots in the 1960s, even as the Democratic party provided the base of support for segregation...
Yep, he's actually doing the Did You Know Robert Byrd Was In The Klan thing, just like his fellow conservative intellectual Dinesh D'Souza. Shapiro knows which way conservative discourse is going!
The Gillespie ad — the worst in political history — is merely the apotheosis of the trend.
I bet if you could get close enough to ask him, Shapiro would say the 1990 Jesse Helms "Hands" Ad was just a reasonable appeal to North Carolina voters' economic anxiety. In short, Shapiro blames liberals for tearing the country apart while simultaneously defending "the conservative desire to strike back at the Left," then flops on the soccer pitch holding his knee and crying "unity" ("Can the country survive such ongoing, bipartisan hatred?") and hoping the refs will buy it.

As for Michael Brendan Dougherty, as near as I can make out, he seems to think that statues are all that's holding America together, and though people like Jamelle Bouie promise that if we get rid of the Confederate statues they won't try and get rid of Jefferson and Washington, Dougherty knows Jamelle Bouie will get rid of them first chance he gets, and then we won't have any statues except maybe of black and Hispanic historical arrivistes, and thus falls the Republic because the Constitution cannot possibly survive if we don't have pigeons shitting on the Founders, just as Britain would fall into the sea if the statue of Boudicca were ever to be uprooted,.

He's seen it all before, Dougherty has:
When Vermont was considering legislation providing for civil unions for same-sex couples, not even the sweatiest, most paranoid snake-handler imagined that florists would be financially ruined by the government for refusing to serve customers whose nuptials violated their religious scruples. Yet here we are.
The Old Ones tried to warn you that if you fell for their persecution song-and-dance, homosexuals would complain if you said "we don't serve fags here." But nobody listened, and that's why "religious liberty, a liberal value and achievement, died and became doomed to a second ghostly life as a conservative preoccupation, one that makes both the conservative and the preoccupation seem more suspicious by association." And the proof of that suspicion by association is you're laughing at Dougherty instead of crying with him over iron replicas of Jubilation T. Cornpone.

It'd be funnier if there weren't a chance there are enough hayseeds in the hoots and hollers to carry it off.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

NEW YORK TO MORONS: DROP DEAD.

There was a terror attack in downtown Manhattan today, but the Village still held its Halloween parade because that's how New York rolls.
There are of course plenty of assholes who will yell at New Yorkers to try and make them scared -- like John Moody at Fox News:
“Don’t let the terrorists change our life in any shape, manner or form,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, just two hours after the attack took place. 
That’s right, New Yorkers. Listen to your governor. Don’t take any extra precautions in how you live your lives. Don’t admit that there are evil people in the world who want to kill you, then exhort God’s greatness. Don’t use that ugly word -- war – to describe our conflict with radical Islam. Don’t offend. And don’t defend. It might upset someone.
But this rap is not meant for the citizens, who will tune out Moody's Murdochian mung like any other street person's ravings. They know it's really pitched at the suburban and hillbilly markets -- at the hayseeds who already wonder how any white person -- never mind their friends' kids who fled to the Apple as soon as they were able, or wished they could -- can stand living among so many of those people and riding in trains underground and living in tiny apartments when they could be driving an SUV and living in a big ugly house in the middle of nowhere.

The outlanders' incomprehension will flare up a bit at this news, and they'll tsk and ask one another if they saw that even Jake Tapper, who always seemed so reasonable considering he's part of The Media, doesn't understand that all Muslims are evil ("CNN’s Jake Tapper Calls Allahu Akbar ‘Beautiful’ After Terrorist Attack") and must be driven into the sea, and what about all those other New Yorkers, why don't they stop pretending to be something better than us and come live in Bumfuck where it's safe?

Well, there's at least this blessing: unlike the days after 9/11 when the hicks pretended to love New York, in these Trumpian days we can count on them to not even pretend, and thus be spared their cloying hypocrisy.

Monday, October 30, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about Mueller and what ensued.

I have particularly enjoyed the last-minute tweets of rage and despair from full-on MAGA choads, e.g.:
It says something that the single area in which the Leader of the Free World can be seen at ease and in sync with any segment of his fellow citizens is in the field of batshit-crazy tweeters.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

MARINE TODD UND DAS MÄDCHEN.

I get a kick out of Salena Zito, America's foremost White Working Class Whisperer who made her bones reporting that the talking points of Pennsylvania Republicans were Why Trump Won. But lately her columns have been a little off -- because, I'm guessing, even in Pennsyltucky people are discontented with So Much Winning and she's had trouble finding an alternative to her usual "Here in Konigsboro local entrepreneur Ima G.O.P. Operative tells us why plain folks like her love Trump" shtick.

Witness a recent Zito column about a Bulgarian immigrant who when he came to America "only knew two words in the English language: 'Pepsi' and 'pizza,'" yet thrives and is one of "the folks who help make Chicago Chicago... builders and construction workers, artisans, business owners, and professionals." That was my first tip-off -- a conservative writing abut Chicago as something other than a black-on-black crime scene? Then she says, "Every immigrant in this country is an echo of all of us" and I'm like, okay, what's going on here? True, like nearly everyone Zito ever talks to, "Yoni" is a Republican ("When I first came to this country, I thought the Democratic Party was the party of the people..."), but if you want to keep your cred as the Head WWCW in Charge, praising immigrants seems like a weird move. Plus Trump is never mentioned! Finally we get to her closing:
The next time we complain about the Metro or the barista or how offended we are by the outrage of the moment – think about the Yonis of our country and try to imagine what it is like to appreciate what we have instead of believing we are entitled to what we have.
Son of a gun -- she's telling native-born Americans to suck it up and be like this hard-working foreigner instead of demanding he be thrown out of the country! And earlier she did a column about how technology is shaking up the American workplace and...
...it's hard to imagine many people are ready for the impact that is going to have on their lives and their communities; industrial revolutions create and destroy, if we are better prepared for the one we are experiencing now, our country's temperament will stabilize.
Am I getting this right -- we're supposed to learn new job skills instead of just mining more coal and making Mexico give back our jobs? This populist victory isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Maybe someone talked to Zito, because in her latest column she's back on Trump ("the majority of his voters were inspired by his aspirational message, Make America Great Again. I’m With Her? Not so much") and back to bashing the elites ("most of the decision-and image-makers in this country — in culture, politics and power — live in the 10 wealthiest counties in the country"). But she clearly felt a big gesture was needed right off the bat to let the people know Salena is back, baby! So she starts off with an anecdote about an international firefighters union event in D.C. in 2015. Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and Jim Webb were there, testing the Presidential waters. Zito was in the press gallery:
There was a fraternity of connection among the big-city journalists. They traveled together, socialized together at cocktail parties and shared the same cultural touch-tones.
Cocktail parties! Drink! ("Cultural tone-tones," though? Maybe their phones played hardcore rap, as elitist devices will.)
I, on the other hand, was from the Paris of Appalachia.
Poor little coal country mouse! She nervously smoothed her gingham dress and took notes on a coal scuttle with a piece of charcoal when suddenly --
About halfway through Cruz’s speech, one of the reporters sneezed. Out of courtesy and habit I said, “God bless you.” I instantly felt a chill in the room as everyone looked toward what seemed to be my direction. I looked behind me to see if something terrible had happened. It was clear that nothing had. 
A few minutes later, after Cruz was done speaking, an aide to one of the candidates, whispered to me, “We don’t say that around here.” 
I wasn’t sure what he meant, so I asked what was the “that” that we don’t say around here. 
His answer: Blessing someone after they sneeze. 
While the young man was perfectly pleasant, it was clear I was being scolded.
Obviously I'm hanging out with the wrong liberals because "God bless you" when someone sneezes is not in my experience the least bit controversial. And ain't I a elitist? I've thought about this and can imagine only three scenarios where her story is remotely credible:

1. The aide was kidding.

2. A Cruz aide, tipped off to Zito's availability, ran up and whispered, "Listen: I'll tell you 'we don't say that around here,' and it'll make a great story for when Ted is President. Just leave my name out of it."

3. Zito screamed "God bless you" so loud it set off the sprinklers.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

YEAH, BUT OTHER THAN THOSE WHITE SUPREMACISTS...

A couple weeks back another three-named honky allegedly left a bomb at Asheville Regional Airport ("Man suspected of planting airport bomb 'wanted to start a war on US soil'") and in Shelbyville, Tennessee white nationalists are planning a white power rally for this weekend. But you know what the real problem is, says Megan McArdle:
Be Careful Who You Call a 'White Supremacist'
If you've cried wolf too many times, no one will listen when you actually see the real thing
McArdle claims liberals are only talking about white supremacy because their old terms for white people who think black people are inferior aren't working anymore: "'Institutional racism' conjures up images of beige-carpeted offices and rows of desks; 'systemic racism' sounds like some sort of plumbing problem," tee hee! Even the milder term "racism" is also de trop;  "increasingly broad uses of the word 'racism' have made it less effective than it used to be at rallying moral outrage." So liberals, desperate for attention, are using "white supremacist" for its shock value.

This just makes racism (which sort of exists, McArdle seems to concede, just not anywhere liberals and black people see it) worse. And guess what, This Is Why Trump Won, because even though McArdle, like all conservatives with enough brains to cover their asses, was firmly Against Trump and "shouted to no avail as Trump coyly flirted with hardcore white supremacists," she couldn't stop Trump's election — because liberals used up their race cards on Mitt Romney, forcing white people to vote for Trump,  so this is all liberals’ fault. (Though McArdle is of course grateful for all the Trump policies and appointments of which she approves, nonetheless there are other Trump policies she doesn't like, such as... um... er... well, she did shout to no avail.)

Just for shits and giggles, let's put "white supremacist" in Google News and see what kind of fake outrages we can find that silly liberals are creating with it:

Public Radio International: "Poland's right-wing nationalist government objects to visit by US white supremacist Richard Spencer." Not sure if Spencer's one of the "hardcore white supremacists" McArdle acknowledges as genuine -- probably not, since I'm bringing him up and I'm a liberal.

The Hill: "Former McConnell aide defends labeling [Steve] Bannon a ‘white supremacist.’" Now, don't get excited, maybe Josh Holmes is a liberal -- I'm sure Trumpkins think so! -- rendering his analysis null and void. I mean come on -- Steve Bannon a white supremacist?

Vice: "Reddit Is Cracking Down on Nazi and White Supremacist Groups." Political correctness is clearly the real problem here! Social media sites like Reddit should be required by law to allow you-only-encourage-them-by-calling-them-white-supremacists to rave on their site -- no less a free-speech authority than Steve Bannon says so.

Snopes: "White Supremacist Rally Attendees Arrested After Shooting at Protesters." Oh yeah, those three dudes who "were arrested after shouting 'Heil Hitler' and opening fire on a group of anti-Nazi protesters, according to arrest documents." Look, no one got hit; once again, just liberals blowing things out of proportion and distracting us from the real racists.

NJ.com: "White supremacist group posts recruiting fliers across Rutgers campuses." Well, if you liberals weren't so mean to them they wouldn't need to recruit.

I could go on, but why bother? Long story short: McArdle just wants you to be to be careful who you're calling a white  supremacist because she's afraid one evening she'll be at a dinner party and Jamelle Bouie will be giving her the stink-eye.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM, MOTHERFUCKER.

I've said more than once that the "culture war" is a war on culture but, as pithy an aperçu as that is, it doesn't draw the whole picture of what's wrong with culture warriors. Sure, many of them are brutes who are frightened by the power of art and think it must be some kind of ordnance liberals possess that they should try to steal. That's why they're so excited by the Harvey Weinstein thing  -- not because they give a shit about sexual harassment, but because they think it's an angle they can use to break Hollywood's alleged spell over the masses and grab it for themselves; you can hear it in the exultations of Kyle Smith ("Hollywood’s image of itself as a morally enlightened congress of tribunes of the people has been destroyed") and Jim Geraghty ("Hollywood, you don’t get to lecture us about anything anymore") who seem to think this has been achieved.

Sometimes I think this ties in with Trump's war on the NFL; Trump clearly envies the violent passions football excites and hopes, by portraying it as traitor-infested, to transfer that passion to himself.  For conservatives of the modern type, the ideal state would be one where citizens are driven away from sports and movies and, indeed, any traditional form of recreation, and instead spend their leisure hours on megachurch services and MAGA rallies.

 But there's also the aspect of culture war that's sad as well as weird, because it shows just how damaging it is to the warrior. Get a load of an article by Theodore Kupfer at National Review called "Conservatives Should Reconsider Their Opposition to Hip-Hop." It begins:
Most conservatives don’t like hip-hop. The typical conservative case against the genre amounts not to music criticism, but to...
Ha ha but come on, though, you didn't really think they'd cop to it?
...the charge that it promotes dangerous behaviors in the culture.
Well, the dog heard it. (Another thing about these guys: With them it's always "the culture" instead of culture -- just as for Putin it's always "the Ukraine" instead of Ukraine.)

Kupfer says his fellow wingnuts, apparently on the strength of a 30-year-old N.W.A. record, believe "most rap... feeds the violent loop that mars inner cities, whose residents scorn the justice system and settle scores outside it." But Kupfer -- look at him, the fightin' conservative who knows how to rap with the kids! -- begs to differ.
The first track on Straight Outta Compton is a clue that the critique might be wrong. The song begins with the sobering reminder that, “When somethin’ happens in South Central Los Angeles, nothin’ happens. It’s just another n**** dead,” letting that last word echo before the music kicks in. In other words, N.W.A., which became infamous among conservatives for glorifying violence, began its first album by noting how pervasive such violence is in their hometown, and how little anyone seems to do about it.
Sure, they talk about violence -- but they think it's bad! And they clearly don't think the state is the answer -- why, it's just a short leap from that to support for enterprise zones.

It goes on like that -- Nas has a tune about how much he loves his son, and we're all about family values, right?  It might be touching coming from a prep school student trying to explain to his ofay teacher what rap is, but at National Review it's just some young "Fellow" trying to make conservatism a little more millennial-friendly -- NatRev and chill -- and the comments section reveals that actual National Review readers aren't going for it  ("97% of it is garbage and probably an even higher percentage is liberal").

But him being a clueless honky isn't the big thing. It's the ending that gets me:
This remains an unfortunate blind spot for a political movement with a checkered record on race. Reform-minded conservatives have convincingly argued that the path up from white-identity politics runs toward a civic nationalism that is pan-ethnic, one that celebrates the shared cultural and artistic achievements of all Americans. If they’re right, then the conservative mind ought to rethink hip-hop, a sometimes-great and always uniquely American art form.
What is "the conservative mind" and why should it be argued into liking a form of music? What has one's tastes or desires got to do with being "reform-minded" or "a civic nationalism that is pan-ethnic"? You might just as well write an article about why, on the strength of recent trends in The Movement, conservatives should embrace sweet potato pierogies. And Kupfer's if-you-believe-this-you-should-enjoy-that formulation implies that conservatives are hypocritical not to like rap. This isn't like opposing gay marriage publicly while picking up men in toilets privately -- this is music, and it is beyond dispute.

I have friends who don't like rap, and/or country, and/or other musics I love. Hell, my wife can't stand most of the music I like. But that is, to those of us whose minds have not been turned to glue, the way of the world and something we can live with, if we have attained a certain very basic degree of perspective. Imagine being the kind of person who felt the need to argue someone into enjoying the music they liked. Sure, the famously ugly John Wilkes said that when he was trying to get laid he could talk his face away -- but, well, he was trying to get laid. What's Kupfer's excuse?

Monday, October 23, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE POST UP...

...about the La David Johnson case, the ferocious attacks on family advocate Rep. Frederica Wilson, and the stink of racism around it all.

For reasons of space I had to leave out Jonah Goldberg who, perhaps sensing that the Starship Troopers Gen. Kelly-worship the brethren were indulging wouldn't age well, tried another, still dumber approach: “What if Kelly was actually lecturing his boss?”  Sure, to you littlebrains, it appears Kelly was sucking up to Trump, but “if you can take off the partisan blinders and restrain your tribal instincts, it’s not all that hard to see” that Kelly was sending Trump coded messages, says Goldberg. Since most of us very clearly missed that, I'm surprised Kelly didn't give a second speech to clarify.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

PUT NOT THY FAITH IN PUTZES.

Remember the National Review "Against Trump" issue? I knew back then it was bullshit, but let us recall, indeed savor, the closing passage of their lead article from January 2016:
Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.
Flash forward with me now to this week, where we join brave Jonah Goldberg, who likes to advertise himself as tough on Trump (to the credulous applause of dummies: "So tough on Trump"!) in mid homina-homina:
But first I should explain something. As I’ve said before, I do not consider myself a “Never Trumper” any more for the simple reason that the label is inadequate to the times. Never Trump, as I saw it, was about the primaries and the election. Once elected and sworn in, Donald Trump was the president, and to whatever extent “Never Trump” was a movement, it had failed. I call myself a “Trump skeptic,” because, among other reasons, I don’t buy any of the hagiographic explanations and justifications for his behavior. Other former Never Trumpers hold onto the label. Others don’t. This just helps illuminate a point lost on many Trump supporters and left-wingers alike: Never Trump was never some coherent, unified thing. It started as a hashtag on Twitter as far as I can tell and included people of diverse opinions and tactics, some of which I never subscribed to.
Ironically, the people who cling to the term the most are actually Trump’s most ardent supporters...
Yeah, whatever, Tubby. Go change your pants and get back in line.

This is a reminder that these people are all as full of shit as it is possible to be without getting hauled away by Don's Johns. If you, like many good folks (not me, though!), were taken in by Chief of Staff John Kelly ("John Kelly, New Chief of Staff, Is Seen as Beacon of Discipline" -- NYT; "Why John Kelly is President Trump's Last Hope" -- Time), and considered him an Honest Conservative and a True Patriot, and were thus surprised to see him work a Trumpian con (it's all the black lady's fault!) at the behest of his boss today, well, take comfort that you were not alone, and that it's not only difficult to be as icily cynical as me but also probably not healthy. But please, try and take a lesson from the experience: There are no "good ones."

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WHY THE OTHER THREE SOLDIERS' FAMILIES DIDN'T GET CALLS.

"Hello?"

"Hi, this is President Trump. This a bad time? If it's a bad time just say so."

"No, sir, it's fine."

"Good. OK, how ya doing? You taking some time off or you still going to work?"

"Excuse me?"

"Either way is okay. I'm not saying anything. What I am saying is, there's lots of jobs out there for people who want to work, that's all. Unemployment's the lowest it's ever been, is all I'm saying. Listen, sweetheart, I'm calling because, uh, I understand your -- boyfriend? Husband. I can't make out these chicken-scratches they give me here, very bad handwriting, the worst. Anyway, your husband had some kind of accident over in -- Niger? I say that right? Niger. Thank God. I guess they told you about it, but it was news to me, and when I heard I said, the President of the United States must call this woman and tell her that, uh, Private, Private what's-his-name died a hero. Captain. General. Private. They told your husband, don't do it, don't do it, what's-your-name, don't be a hero, his friends in the streets and in the NFL, they said this to him, or so I'm told. They don't respect anything, these people, it's disgraceful, and we're going to do something about it. But your husband, he went ahead anyway and enlisted, it's not like he was drafted, because we don't have the draft and I don't think we should have one, but we'll see about it, anyway he went over there and not ten minutes later they shot him dead, they, well maybe he blew up or was in a car crash, whatever it was it killed him, it's terrible what's going on over there. But you know, he didn't have to be in the Green, the Green Forces, he could have, I don't know, he's musical, right? Your husband? Looks like a guy with a lot of musical talent. He could have been a singer or maybe washed cars or, but, phew, he took his shot, you know what I mean, he took his shot and boom, he's gone. What can I tell you... Hello? Look, I can understand it's rough for you, I'm gonna personally send you a little something, okay, just an envelope with some cash in it, think nothing of it, I do this all the time... Hello? [disconnects the call] Well, I'm not doing that again."

UPDATE. National Review's Rich Lowry is always a miserable Trump suckup but on this subject he really outdoes himself. First, he says, "it appears to be correct that Obama didn’t call all the families of the fallen" -- when Trump very obviously implied Obama didn't call those families at all before he got rattled and backed off. (Lowry also gets extra chickenshit points for adding "it doesn’t mean it was right for Trump to use that point as a bludgeon," as if Trump had made a credible accusation but went a little too far by insisting on it.) Also:
Three, Trump’s “knew what he signed up for” statement seems horrible in isolation, but it’s hard to know what to make of it except in context and listening to the conservation. Even the Democrat congresswoman says that Trump said “it hurts anyway.” On the other hand, the family confirms that it was upset by Trump’s call.
We can't really know what went on because on the one hand we have the word of the world's most notorious liar and, on the other, that of a grieving widow and her friends -- how can you figure out which one's telling the truth? Plus the grieving widow is black!
Now, Trump is engaged in a fight over what he really said. Is it too much to ask that everyone back off this one and not to add to anyone’s distress and leave condolence calls — if nothing else — out of our poisonous political debate?
Leave President Trump alone!  You're really just hurting the people he wants you to think are lying about what a piece of shit he is.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

THIS WOULD MAKE AN ATHEIST OUT OF MOTHER TERESA.

Do you retain a sentimental feeling for Christianity, despite the fact that many American Christians actually worship money and Trump and Rod Dreher exists? Here, this article at Reason may cure you:
Are Free Minds and Free Markets Compatible With Christianity?
A baker's dozen Christian libertarians weigh in
If you know libertarians, you may have some idea of the kind of "Christians" they would know. And no, there isn't a single hippie-dippy "Blessed are the poor" pussy in the bunch. Right out of the gate:
"In my mind, capitalism is what happens when you have the absence of initiated force, and that's perfectly compatible—beautifully compatible—with Christianity. Capitalism simply means the freedom of individuals to make contracts and to engage others in a peaceful and voluntary way. That's precisely what Christ taught." —Lawrence W. Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education and author of Rendering Unto Caesar: Was Jesus A Socialist?
Reed's book is available online, and it'll make your average pig-eyed Jesus grifter doff his cap in tribute, full of stuff like this:
In his book, Biblical Economics, theologian R. C. Sproul Jr. notes that Jesus “wants the poor to be helped” but not at gunpoint, which is essentially what government force is all about...
This reminds me of the capital punishment bit in Beyond the Fringe, in which a warden argues for it while escorting a prisoner to his doom: [Warden] "You don't want to be cooped up for life." [Condemned prisoner] "Yes, I do want to be cooped up for life." [Warden] "Come along, now, you're playing with words."

Quotes from the other disciples of Ayn Christ include "Who nailed Jesus to the cross? The state!" and this, my favorite:
The more I read, the more I realized that there's nowhere in here where Christ attempts to use the tools of violence to accomplish his objectives. In fact, it was so extreme in the opposite direction that even self-defense wasn't used by Christ and the early Christians. They chose martyrdom.
I can see why he likes that. Blessed are the meek, they're easier to rob and kill! They talk a lot about how they, in the name of Christ, would not countenance government programs to feed the starving and house the homeless because that's violence, and violence is so ungodly it trumps their need to survive; but I bet if you went for their wallets (or even a crumb from their tables) they'd come up with a gun pretty quick.

I will only add that Kevin D. Williamson, one of the most vicious wingnuts going, is listed here as "National Review roving correspondent and a Catholic convert." As the old saying going, Jesus is alright but his friends are a bunch of fucking assholes.

Monday, October 16, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about Trump's double-barreled blast at Obamacare and the conservatives assuring an anxious Republic that they're not losing health insurance, they're gaining freedom.

Friday, October 13, 2017

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Tweedy maybe leaned minimalist a little too much here, but they still got some funk on it.

•   It would be not only wonderful but also hilarious if the Harvey Weinstein controversy actually did put a crimp in powerful men using their clout to exploit women. I say hilarious because conservatives are betting they can turn it to their political advantage.They're currently using it to beat up on women as hypocrites because they didn't speak up sooner. Their attacks on Clinton for having accepted campaign donations from Weinstein because "everybody" knew about his crimes are already old news; now we have wingnuts doing the same witchfinder-general routine on actresses like Jane Fonda ("‘Found Out About Harvey About A Year Ago’ And Didn’t Say Anything" -- Daily Caller), and Meryl Streep ("Sophie’s choice was between her career and her conscience, and let’s just say she didn’t agonize over her pick" --  Kurt Schlichter). That the actresses who get the most heat are outspoken liberals is no accident; the whole wingnut play is that Hollywood is corrupt because it's lefty, and vice-versa, and this scandal rejuvenates all their old Hollyweird slurs; that's why you have guys like Jim Geraghty at National Review crying "Hollywood, you don’t get to lecture us about anything anymore" -- they have no interest in sparing women workplace indignities, they just want their ancient prejudices and those of their readers validated, and a source of opposition funding neutralized. The fact they can't admit, to their suckers or to themselves, is that it was wealth that insulated Weinstein, not political orthodoxy. That's the part that's most Trumpian about the whole affair -- not so much the simple, shameless hypocrisy of President Pussygrabber's fans decrying Weinstein as the blithe misdirection of outrage from the actual perps onto whomever one needs to smear. However, if the thing blows up like it seems it might, conservatives might find whirlwinds aren't so easily steered. I can understand why they think they're protected; they got their chief predator elected president, and another big one is making his comeback after just a few months offstage. But if their wall of white women voters shifts with this wind, it'll be something, especially since they won't notice (because they don't listen to them) until it's too late.

• As to Trump's gut-stabs to Obamacare, conservatives are of course thrilled. So far the most interesting reaction has been Peter Suderman's at Reason, which may serve as a template for conservatarians who'll need something to shout from the scaffold once Trump's yokels realize they've been had. Written apparently after the association health plan decision was announced but before the subsidies decision was, Suderman's post describes the political difficulty with undermining the ACA:
There is something clever, almost cunning, about Obamacare's policy scheme: It requires unequivocal political support from an administration in order to avoid accusations that the law is being undermined. It is a kind of joint political-policy trap, in which the only solution to the law's failings is to bail it out.
Insidious -- a policy that, like Social Security and Medicare, makes people angry at you if you "reform" it! All Trump's really trying to do, Suderman says, is offer people who've been forced to buy essential health benefit coverage even though they'll never get sick "less regulated, less expensive alternatives" that will cost them little and, if they get hit by a car, send them Mercurochrome and a bill. "The order is less a direct attack on Obamacare and more of an attempt to escape its failings," he says. "Yet the reaction from defenders of Obamacare has been to accuse the president of undermining the health law." By defenders he must mean the American College of Physicians and all the other experts I've seen who say this is an invitation to a tailspin. Suderman admits okay maybe that'll happen, but the important thing is, if it does it's not Trump's fault -- the thing is, we have to do something and anything we do kills it, so I guess the thing is doomed:
This would be true, however, of practically any effort to create more insurance options outside of its regulatory scheme. The law effectively requires total buy in, from market participants and from political overseers, in order to function. The result is situation in which the only way to avoid undermining the law is to prop it up. Obamacare is built to allow no alternative and no escape.
There was an alternative -- a repeal and replace plan, three crap versions of which Republicans threw in with a towel before running off to the woods. They weren't serious about killing Obamacare because they have constituents who would turn them out if they did so; Trump, senile and vicious, can imagine no such outcome for himself, and knows only that the black bastard can't get away with it. Enablers like Suderman have their own motivation -- something they call liberty, which always involves great sacrifice, in this case the sacrifice of even a hint of the decent coverage that Europeans take for granted. They better pray that the hint wasn't taken.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

TOGETHER AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME!

Rod Dreher's back from another of his extended Parisian foodie boondoggles -- I swear, for someone who's always going on about Little Ways and common people he spends an awful lot of time in Yurrup, and not doing missionary work neither -- and has resumed his usual Ben Op/Get-Ready Man routine, supplemented with great lashings of Harvey Weinstein because it fits with his Fallen World scenario. But give him credit -- I looked in because I always expect him to exceed himself, and by God he has delivered.

This post is mostly about how 1.) Mark Lilla would be perfect if only he accepted Christ as his personal savior, and 2.) Ta-Nehisi Coates is a racist. At first I thought this was the plum of the post:
Ta-Nehisi Coates and [neo-Nazi] Richard Spencer are both atheists who have found a strong source of belief in their respective races.
But as loony as it is, it's of a piece with other Dork Right attacks on Coates, like this woo-woo at The Federalist by Dimestore Douthatwith Threenames about how Coates, in his perfectly reasonable prediction that America's inequality might lead to violent confrontation, is "feinting toward violence as a means... of achieving social justice," as if Coates had done the interview bare-chested and bandoliered and simultaneously strangled a white man.  (I can imagine Threenames in 1963 hearing Malcolm X talk about chickens coming home to roost and muttering, "see, what'd I tell you about those people.") No, the plum comes at the end:
Only a strong Christianity can counter this nihilistic tribal religion. But this we do not have today. I am on record as strongly disapproving of some of the antics of Milo Yiannopoulos, but he and I are on the same page here, in this excerpt from an interview with America magazine, which he says they refused to print...
By "on record as strongly disapproving," Dreher means posts about Milo like "CPAC Welcomes Pederasty Advocate." But convinced as Dreher is that gay marriage will destroy America (see his Obergefell essay, "Democracy Is Dying; Persecution Is Coming") unless he and his God Squad can destroy it first, he's nonetheless pimping for this recently-gaymarried aging twink because in the alleged unpublished America excerpt (Milo is a master of persecution-as-self-promotion), he praises in his lubricious way things Dreher loves: the military ("Now the men in uniform are much better men than I"), muscular Christanity ("too many in the Church keep masculinity hidden or the subject of shame"), and Rod Dreher:
I’m with Rod Dreher: Anybody who only preaches a namby-pamby God, and not the highly masculine God of Scripture, is leaving young men vulnerable to the monstrous false gods of race and ideology.
Looks like Milo is eager to be gathered in from the wilderness, and has wisely pegged Rod as among the easier gatekeepers to grease. Hope he at least got a reacharound!