Sunday, September 16, 2018

ONE OF THE BOYS.

Well, it looks like the Republicans had good reason to have 65 women lined up to assert Brett Kavanaugh never raped them.

All honor to Christine Blasey Ford, who has no reason to lie, is certainly aware of what rat bastards the Republicans are, and may expect horrific abuse for coming out. Hey, look, it's already started -- Breitbart:
KAVANAUGH ACCUSER CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD DONNED ‘BRAIN’ PUSSY HAT FOR ANTI-TRUMP MARCH
Breitbart is suitable for this wet work, but the classier wingnuts have to play it cool. Here's the Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney on "The long silences of Christine Blasey Ford and Dianne Feinstein":
You don't know what happened in that bedroom in suburban Maryland 35 years ago. I don't know, either. Hopefully questions and answers in the next few days can help us have a better guess. But a bit off-center from the core dispute here are two questions about silence: the silence for three decades from Christine Blasey Ford, and the silence for two months from Dianne Feinstein.
Most of Carney's regular readers will have bailed at that point, making a point to hate DiFi even more than they already did, in addition to hating the lying whore whatshername.  Those who stick around will see Carney affect sympathy with Ford -- "It is perfectly believable, and frankly understandable, that a woman who went through what Ford says she went through would never want to talk about it." But the real villain in all this, Carney reveals, is neither Ford nor Kavanaugh, but Ford's fellow chick:
The silence of Dianne Feinstein is another thing. 
In July Feinstein heard this story from Ford. Yet she didn't act on it. She didn't ask Kavanaugh about it in committee, in closed session, in written questions, or in a one-on-one meeting. She presumably didn't ignore the letter. So there are three possible explanations for Feinstein's silence until now...
And if one of Carney's speculations are true, ladies and gentlemen --
...that tells us something about Feinstein--she is a dishonest politician playing dirty politics with a deadly serious charge.
To sum up, Carney knows it looks bad to come after Ford, but a leading Democrat makes an appealing secondary target, at least for the time being. There'll be time enough for "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty" when they get something more than pussy hats lined up.

Meanwhile at misogyny central:
A lawyer close to the White House said the nomination will not be withdrawn. 
“No way, not even a hint of [withdrawing Kavanaugh],” the lawyer said. “If anything, it’s the opposite. If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried. We can all be accused of something.”
Leave us cut to the chase. They can get any rightwing factotum they want on the bench. There's nothing special about Kavanaugh -- he's dimestore. Why not dump him and get someone else equally terrible? Because male supremacy is important to the GOP. They don't care if some Hollywood mogul or small-time pol gets skinned for harassment or rape -- but when it comes to one of their made men, they have to close ranks and show the bitches it's impossible to prevail against them no matter how credible the accusation. It's not like their base is voting for them based on policy.

UPDATE. The parade of conservative sexual assault apologists forms up. Myron Magnet at City Journal:
The Dems “Anita” Brett Kavanaugh
How low will they go
?
...I didn’t believe Hill’s accusations back then, and now, having a clear picture of Justice Thomas’s sterling character, and having just reread the transcript of the Hill-Thomas hearings, I believe them still less.
Why am I not shocked. Magnet points to "the encomia on [Kavanaugh's] character from the many women whose careers he has fostered as a judge and professor, as well as from his colleagues," which you gotta admit isn't something every 20-year Republican functionary would bring to his SCOTUS confirmation hearings. But, in case it all goes south despite the ladies' auxiliary support, Magnet has a good-boy-made-a-mistake argument ready:
I strongly doubt that he did what Ford alleges, and what her allegation suggests was a rape attempt was, by her own description, nothing of the kind -- though, following the Hill playbook, she has already taken a lie-detector test and hired a well-known lawyer. 
That bitch!
But again, supposing it were true -- as I do not suppose -- he was 17 years old at the time. Do the Democrats really think that a single teenage indiscretion should have a place in confirmation hearings?
In an alternate universe, Black Brett Kavanaugh is being turned down for another, less-exalted job because the boss found out about the two years he did for sexual assault when he was 17. (Someone mentioned the case to then-USAF judge advocate Lindsay Graham at the time. "Only two years! Disgusting," remarked Graham. "No wonder crime is so high in Washington.")

UPDATE 2. Rod Dreher always makes everything worse.

Funny, when a 17-year-old got shot dead for trying to steal a Jeep, Dreher was less forgiving ("I have no sympathy for criminals like that. It would have been better had the Chicago fire lieutenant not shot and killed that thief. But I don’t really care that he did"). No points for guessing the race of the 17-year-old in that case.


I'm sure he'd approve of having those boys on the Supreme Court -- if they enjoyed bullying him, imagine how they'd treat those mouthy women who think they have the right to an abortion.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


One of the great gifts the missus has given me is an appreciation of this giant.
What Chandler said about writers and style goes double for singers.

• In the Friday newsletter (not to late to sign up!) I mention these oddly-promoted PJ Media stories:


I told readers I wouldn't worry about the actual content of these things, the blurbs being so delightful, but later snuck off and read them anyway. Roger Kimball's is a long yawn about how no matter what the kids think socialism is Venezuela. After a few grafs of that and some historical padding Kimball gets here:
So, what is the emotional motor of socialism? In a word, benevolence. 
That may seem counter-intuitive. Isn’t benevolence a good thing? 
That depends. Benevolence is a curious mental or characterological attribute.
He’s an intellectual, see! He sloshes around in this for a while, then:
The sad truth is that theoretical benevolence is compatible with any amount of practical indifference or even cruelty. You feel kindly towards others. That is what matters: your feelings.
I can see, in the abstract, what the appeal of this might be: Why someone might want to call anyone who wants the state to relieve the afflicted a feeling-centered SJW, but wants with it some intellectual credibility. And here's some wiener in an ascot and horn-rims saying it in purty words ("The intoxicating effects of benevolence help to explain the growing appeal of politically correct attitudes about everything...").

But who’s the market? In the age of Trump, why would anyone bother? Just say, as Trump did about the death toll in Puerto Rico, that it has nothing to do with you because you're smart so whatever went wrong with those losers must have been their own or someone else's fault. In the immortal words of Elvis Costello, pretty words don't mean much anymore.

• As for Richard Fernandez, ermahgerd the lede:
Any directed tour depends on prior knowledge of the scenery so it can be introduced as it comes into view. A guided tour into the unknown is impossible by definition. What has kept pundits from accurately predicting what comes next in these years of turmoil is that they were surprised by developments like everyone else. 
The result is that the Narrative is now burdened by a tremendous accumulation of events whose significance no one can quite understand. The liberal response to this jumble of mysteries...
AAAGH STOP I'LL CONFESS. Fernandez has always been tough to follow, but you can usually track his intent through chunks in the spoor. And for a while that method serves here, too:
Europe appears to be unaccountably in the midst of what the media vaguely describes as a drift to the "extreme right." Even Sweden, long the iconic "moral superpower" of the left, is developing a distinct right-wing list.
The libs are concerned with the rise of crypto-Nazis. How childish, when the real problem is political correctness! On and on Fernandez goes about the "censorship" experienced by -- let's look at where his link goes; ah yes: experienced by Alex Jones and other assholes.

And what's worse is what the censorship is doing to our minds: "The willingness to self-censor speaks volumes about how important it is to preserve the paradigm." Soon our children will come home morosely dragging their bookbags and, after the mandatory prayer to Soros, murmur, "Teacher says I shouldn't talk about lizard people and try and sell the other kids supplements."

Let's look at his close:
But the Narrative, however powerful, cannot remain unchanged forever. If the liberal world order does not break up along left-right fault lines then it will fragment under the regulatory schemes aimed at carving it up into fiefdoms It may in the end prove impossible to determine in which direction the "arc of history" bends. #TakeItBack? There's nothing to take back. The future we imagined on September 11, 2001, and the one promised by Barack Obama in 2008 were not what we wound up with. Maybe that is all for the best. About the only thing we can confidently predict is that tomorrow will surprise us.
This is gibberish. I'm sorry. If you've done some reading of rightblogs you'll have some idea of what they mean when they refer to The Narrative, but when it comes to cases all it really means is Stuff Said By People Who Are Not Me. Like The Federalist’s Stella Morbito, who recently harrumphed that "a stranger coming up to you assuming you share his views" is "annoying, not to mention disrespectful," Fernandez eschews the consensus reality of us littlebrains. But what he offers as an alternative is just a thicket of allusions, quotations, and bosh. I charitably assume that he hopes with his wordstorms to attain something like the effect, or at least the status, of poetry. But his writing sucks. It really, really sucks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

17 YEARS ON...

...conservatives aren't sure what to do with 9/11. Back in the day, it was a great bludgeon to bully everyone into line: Wear your flag pin, support the troops, watch what you say, torture's too good for 'em. Thousands of American lives, untold numbers of other lives, and trillions of dollars later, it all seems insane. Actually it seemed insane to many of us at the time, but over the years others, including even some conservatives, appear to have caught on, albeit sullenly, that the general response to the event was, shall we say, counterproductive.

The biggest warmongers, like Glenn Reynolds, still claim everything went great except Obama fucked it up. Maybe he thinks tinfoil will defend him from the judgment of history. True Muslim-haters like Bruce Bawer and Frank Gaffney generally hope Trump will make things right but take a "jury's still out" approach -- that is, they know he's the kind of callous thug who wouldn't mind bombing Iran, they're just getting impatient for him to actually go on and do it.

Most of us are content to treat 9/11 as our era's Pearl Harbor, a day of forgetting as well as remembrance; we're as far from the WTC and Pentagon attacks as Americans were from the day of infamy in 1958. (By then we were already buying Japanese transistor radios.) But this hindsight, like the mania that preceded it, is evanescent. Some conservatives today have been telling us that the terror is all but over, implying that it was our bloody, expensive wars that made it so. "Oh, some analysts say al-Qaeda won?" says Jim Geraghty at National Review. "I notice Osama bin Laden didn’t make it to the victory party." Geraghty has nothing if not nerve, and I mean that literally. "Al-Qaeda’s not even the top 'brand name' in Islamist terrorism anymore," Geraghty fist-pumps. "ISIS turned into the big name in the headlines, the preeminent threat, the most feared producers of those nightmare-inducing videos. And the Islamic State has been reduced from a sprawling terror-nation the size of Britain to a bunch of guys making their last stand in Hajin, a town of about 60,000 people." Wow, problem solved! Go look at the news from Afghanistan (e.g., "Dozens killed and injured in suicide attack at Afghan protest") and Iraq (e.g., "Water shortages to cut Iraq's irrigated wheat area by half"), or better yet go to Iraq or Afghanistan and see how it looks from there. We fucked those countries up beyond recognition and Geraghty's hauling the Mission Accomplished banner back out.

Faint as the memory of the war-whoops may be, so too, soon enough, will be the memory of the reckoning, and when Trump declares war on Iran -- or Venezuela, or North Korea, or Canada -- it'll be Johnny Get Your Gun all over again for a lot of people. We'll see then how much we have and haven't learned.

Meanwhile, all honor to the memory of the dead. It was strange, sad time to live through in New York; I have no prose poems or weeping eagles to offer. Here's a little something I wrote in the immediate aftermath.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

JUST BLOW ME.

I suppose you guys have seen the sad stories of saps snipping their swatches over the Nike ad with the Bad Man in it -- which subject is treated at greater length in my subscription newsletter *--  but in future, when I look back on this week's outrage, I shall always first recall, not the reaction of President Trump, but how it was handled by the Conservative Pets twitter account:


Doggos and ressentiment -- it can't miss! Except Nike seems not to be suffering from the wingnut tantrums over Kaepernick, so this one joins previous conservative blubber-boycotts against French wine, the Dixie ChicksGermany, Starbucks, Kellogg's, et alia, that went nowhere, but over which wingnuts beat their chests. And, as with those failed boycotts, conservatives are still declaring victory, confident that their followers don't actually follow the market or read the papers and won't realize that their oafish opposition doesn't mean shit to a company that markets to young people rather than to aging rednecks who only buy athletic gear to burn in YouTube videos. 

You can tell how badly the boycotts are doing by the Wall Street Journal, which engaged Adam Kirsch to lament "The Destructive Politics of Pseudo-Boycotts," taking care to remind us that it's a bothsides problem because, while rednecks burned their shorts without hurting Nike sales, liberals boycotted The New Yorker's festival because white nationalist Steve Bannon was headlining -- and got Bannon disinvited, which just goes to show how awful boycotts are. There's even a paragraph about the Montgomery bus boycott in the thing, which suggests to me Kirsch was prepared to file a more favorable column until the sales figures came in.

But the top propagandists are still throwing Hail Marys. I went above and beyond by watching a Ben Shapiro video on the subject -- or at least as much as I could stand. Within the first 10 seconds I heard this: "Nike in a viral piece of marketing decided it was deeply necessary to reward Colin Kaepernick." Whatever they're paying his ghostwriters should have gone instead to ESL classes. Shapiro also knocked Kaepernick's athleticism -- "He was a garbage quarterback, he's one of the lowest rated quarterbacks in the NFL," quoth "Crossfit guy" Shapiro -- and reported Kaepernick was protesting "police brutality or some such nonsense." By the one-minute mark, when Shapiro brought up that hardy wingnut perennial, Kaepernick's pigs-as-cops socks -- "there's legitimately pictures of pigs with cop hats on them!" --  his adenoidal, mosquito-on-meth burble was giving me a migraine and I had to bail. I guess that's the secret weapon with which Shapiro DESTROYS liberals

The clearest sign that it this is all bullshit is conservatives like Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, Jim Geraghty of National Review, Stupidest Man On The Internet Jim Hoft et alia pretending they care about Nike running sweatshops. I mean, even Trumpkin Reddit forum r/The_Donald has a page called "MUST WATCH. Very Powerful NIKE Sweatshop Documentary" -- previously these guys were only interested in sweatshops as a source for mail-order brides. When you find wingnuts agitating for workers' rights, you know you've hit rock bottom. 

Meantime, I see conservatives have taken up another sports issue -- Serena Williams getting docked a game at the U.S. Open for arguing with an umpire -- and are uniformly siding with the ump. Think it's because they're astute connoisseurs of tennis? Here's a hint: "Whining Serena Williams is tennis’s Hillary Clinton," says rightwing pencilneck Roger Kimball. "Funny How Serena Has Trouble With Referees Only When She's Losing," says Adam Rubenstein at The Weekly Standard. And if you want a good look at the conservative id, check the responses to this MAGA choad's Serena Williams tweet (sample: "I do not take anything Williams says seriously. Her own sister was murdered by the Crips street gang... yet she did the Crips Walk after winning a tournament"). I can see all of these assholes holding an old loving cup like the Coach in That Championship Season and moaning "basketball is no longer the white man's game." 

* that's right, folks, now that the Village Voice is dead I must bring my begging bowl to the web, and offer you premium content wholly distinct from my alicublog stuff for just seven bucks and month and seventy bucks for a year via my newsletter, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. Apply within

Thursday, September 06, 2018

CAN KAVANAUGH.

I wrote earlier about the Kavanaugh SCOTUS hearings for my newsletter. (Ooh! says I, ostentatiously dropping my handkerchief, did I say my newsletter? Yes, that's right, I mean my brand new, $7 a month/$70 a year newsletter, and in the words of Brendan Behan, damn well good enough for you.) I still pray that the Senators wise up about this piece of shit -- or, if they don't, the voters will, and show that they do in November.

In my (available for a very cheap subscription price!) newsletter story, I addressed a post by National Review's David French, in which he brushes off any concerns about restriction of reproductive freedom owing to Kavanaugh's appointment, despite Kavanaugh's transparent animus against abortion, including his recent reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs." French offers this as proof that Trump doesn't want to restrict women's rights:
The president is a libertine philanderer who pays off porn stars and playmates, but somehow we’re about two steps from Gilead. 
In 2016 Trump proposed legal punishments for women who had abortions. The Republican Party made him back off because it was too on the nose. Trump's "libertine" morals obviously apply only to himself. If you wonder why wingnut fundamentalists still support Trump, remember: There's still a lot of money in supporting the most vicious and corrupt Republicans, so long as you keep a few Party officials around who can be counted on to say, "Why that's outrageous, we would never" whenever someone points out how full of shit they are.

We are told that the judicial operatives Republicans have been sending to the court for decades now are just impartial lawgivers devoted only to the Constitution and the secrets of its intent that it whispers to them from its ark at the Federalist Society; but it hasn't worked out that way in practice. Here's just one piece of evidence from Linda Greenhouse's review of the record of that earlier, similarly obvious wingnut plant Clarence Thomas, at the New York Times:
I have saved my favorite Thomas opinion for last: the concurrence in the chief justice’s opinion in the case that upheld Trump’s “Muslim Ban,” Trump v. Hawaii. “Merits aside,” he wrote, “I write separately to address the remedy that the plaintiffs sought and obtained in this case.” The Federal District Court in Hawaii, in an opinion upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, had imposed a nationwide injunction against the ban’s enforcement. “I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions,” Justice Thomas wrote. “These injunctions did not emerge until a century and a half after the founding.” They were once rare, he said, “but recently, they have exploded in popularity.” He concluded: “In sum, universal injunctions are legally and historically dubious. If federal courts continue to issue them, this court is duty bound to adjudicate their authority to do so.” 
Why do I call this opinion my favorite? Justice Thomas, I’m willing to assume — as I do of all members of the Supreme Court — is a man of high principle. Yet I searched his concurring opinion in vain for a citation to a nationwide injunction issued three years ago by a federal district judge in Texas and upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2016 on a 4-to-4 tie vote. The case was United States v. Texas. The subject was President Barack Obama’s proposed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, known as DAPA, granting temporary deferral of deportation to the parents of the young “Dreamers” who had received protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA. The district court not only found in favor of the states that had challenged DAPA but, over the Obama administration’s objections, gave the injunction nationwide scope. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the injunction on a 2-to-1 vote. 
In the spring of 2016, Justice Scalia had died and had not yet been replaced. A 4-to-4 tie at the Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s judgment without an opinion and without identifying which justices are on which side. There is no doubt which side Justice Thomas was on. If he had any problem with a nationwide injunction then, he kept that to himself, rather than join the four liberal justices to make a 5-to-3 decision overturning the injunction.
To sum up: Kavanaugh, like Thomas, is an apparatchik, and is being promoted by the conservative establishment not only to overturn Roe but also to reverse any liberal decisions made since the advent of the Warren Court. Brush it off if you will -- but check back in two years and see if I'm wrong. 

UPDATE. Cleaned up some typos, brainfarts and repetitions, including the original citation of my weekly newsletter price as seven dollars; that is actually the monthly price. Seven dollars a week is what I charge Soros and it comes with a backrub. Anyway, seven bucks a month for a minimum of 20 weeknightly issues is a bargain you won't get anywhere else, and the seventy dollar yearly price is a goddamn steal.

Oh also, speaking of supporters who don't reflect well on their subject, here's a peppy Twitter video from Susan B. Anthony List which basically tells members to work to get Kavanaugh in because he'll overturn Roe v. Wade. They're not confused about what he's been hired for -- and neither are the people in the media who pretend to be.


Wednesday, September 05, 2018

STEPHEN MILLER, WELCOME TO THE RESISTANCE.

I am a stone skeptic when it comes to conservatives who claim to be anti-Trump. I mean, it's taken me more than a year to acknowledge that Max Boot, for example, is sincere about opposing the guy. Boot remains a war-mongering monster, of course, but he's not pretending to be anything else -- he even admits that he can't approve of Trump's saber-rattling, not because Boot has turned pacifist, but because he thinks Trump lacks the belly (figuratively speaking) to follow through with the civilizational slaughter Boot's approval would require.

So when Boot says he's hoping the Democrats take over to teach Republicans a lesson, I believe he means it, because he's not trying to snow me about why he wants it. Thus, if he and his comrades of convenience get rid of Trump and eventually install President Mattis, I won't be stuck with my thumb up my ass blubbering "B-b-b-but I thought we was pals" as American blows up half the Middle East and Boot orgasms voluptuously.

But this anonymous New York Times op-ed author is full of shit:
I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration
I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.
When I saw that I thought, okay, I just got back from lunch, maybe this is bigger than I thought -- maybe this person just blew up a Trump cabinet meeting, a la Operation Valkyrie. Alas, it was just this:
To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous. 
But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.
What does this resistance fighter think are Trump's -- excuse me, the Resistance's -- good policies? "Effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more." So: the destruction of the EPA, HUD, et alia; massive tax breaks for the rich; and a wasteful and dangerous increase in military spending. The resistance fighter doesn't say anything one way or the other about the administration's other controversial policies, such as the Muslim ban, the ongoing attempt to stack SCOTUS to kill Roe, or the ICE child-stealing atrocities. You think that's because this person doesn't have an opinion about them -- or because this person doesn't want you to know what it is?

As for what Trump's doing wrong, the resistance fighter does mention his "enemy of the people" attacks on the press -- which is smart if you're trying to get the New York Times to run a rare anonymous op-ed! And the resistance fighter notes Trump was "reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies" over the Skripal case as real conservatives wanted -- but wait, didn't he expel them anyway? Ah, the resistance fighter tells us, that wasn't Trump -- "his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable." And so they drugged Trump, and used a professional forger the resistance fighter knew in his or her previous life as a Navy SEAL to sign the order. Presumably. (Really, this thing is so bogus it's got me questioning even the entertaining Woodward book excerpts about Trump's staff hiding papers from him to prevent him from doing what he wants. Say, I wonder who the source was on that?)

And there's not much more of an anti-Trump brief than that, policy-wise; the resistance fighter says "President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic," but doesn't say how he or she feels about his policies, as opposed to his "impulses." In fact nearly all of the criticism of Trump is temperamental -- his "leadership style" is "impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective... his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions," which decisions are left unnamed. That is, they're the same sort of complaints you get from weaselly former NeverTrump doofuses like Jonah Goldberg -- though Trump is giving them nearly everything they want, he's, like, really gross and embarrassing.

This leaves the question of why this resistance fighter is telling us all this. Won't it tip off Trump, and make manipulation of him more difficult in the future? Perhaps the resistance fighter feels his or her fellow countrymen are frustrated and badly need a signal that all's well in the Resistance White House so they can have the courage to hold on. Or maybe it's a false flag -- the author is Stephen Miller, and he's trying to rouse the base by giving them more treachery to be mad at.

Or maybe it's as simple as this: When the Trump shitshow blows over, someone at the White House is gonna want a job on the outside. Maybe a lot of someones do. True, our "liberal media" being what it is, the more high-profile Trumpkins will, if they escape jail, haunt the Sunday morning talk shows and executive boards, but some of them may not be so well-connected. If one were in such a predicament, why not plant this op-ed and, when Americans are hunting Republicans down with dogs, reveal oneself to be the author -- or co-author -- of this self-exonerating document? And if Trump doesn't go down, they can always just keep their mouths shut.

I favor this theory because this person's prose positively screams snow job. Rather than tell us, as Max Boot did, what their competing conservative vision is, the resistance fighter tells us he or she and the others are "choosing to put country first... rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans." Did your hand instinctually check to see if your wallet was still on your person? Mine too. Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's resistance.

UPDATE. I have further thoughts of this at my newsletter. Did I tell you good people I have a newsletter? It just started and it is a paid newsletter, as you will find when you try to log in. But well worth it! Fresh content every day Mon-Fri! And maybe even some bonus content as soon as I work out the kinks.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF THE EDITOR IN CHIEF.

When Adolf Hitler IV, the previously unacknowledged great-grandson of the infamous Nazi dictator, revealed himself in Uruguay last year and began writing for Breitbart, he naturally attracted a great deal of media attention -- attention that turned to alarm as Hitler IV's affirmed mission to revive his great-grandfather's legacy caught fire on the European right and Donald Trump hired him as a Special Advisor to the President.

Trump's justification at the time -- "Look, right or wrong this guy has a lotta followers, okay?" -- led to a great deal of liberal hand-wringing, nowhere more so than here at The New Yorker, where Hitler IV soon replaced Trump as the go-to subject of cover art and cartoons and an all-purpose signifier of social decline, as in Hilton Als' essay on the hyper-commodification of the Broadway musical, "Theatre in the Age of Hitler IV."

American conservatives, in turn, jeered that the response of the Left to what, after all, was merely an advisory appointment -- one for which polls showed 87% Republican approval -- was further proof that liberals are more interested in virtue-signaling than in addressing the legitimate concerns of Trump voters.

Let me state frankly that my values and that of Hitler IV are inharmonious. Hitler IV calls for the elimination of Jews; I and many of my friends and colleagues are Jewish. Hitler IV calls for Aryans and "honorary Aryans" to make him Trump's successor, whereupon he would command the U.S. military to subdue the "inferior species" of the world and initiate a Thousand-Year Reich; I would prefer a slightly more active role for the United Nations.

However, I also feel that if we want to persuade those Trump voters who are flocking to Hitler IV that Nazism is not the answer -- that it will improve neither their job prospects nor America's standing among the nations of the world -- we must first pay closer attention to what they are really asking for when they chant "Jews Out!" and sing "Dixie" at Hitler IV's rallies. Is it respect? A sense of empowerment? A world more like the one their own great-grandparents (who, ironically, fought the Nazis) bequeathed to them? Remember, some of these voters supported Obama in 2008; they cannot be beyond the reach of reason.

That is why, when I recently covered a Republican fundraiser and found Hitler IV pressing the flesh in the parking lot, I sneaked past his brownshirts and tried to pitch him on an interview. To my surprise, Hitler IV proposed instead that I conduct a public grilling of him at The New Yorker Festival -- and, ever the showman, also suggested that we announce his attendance just before tickets went on sale "to heighten the drama." As an old newsman, I found this offer impossible to resist and we sealed the deal then and there with a handshake and, because Hitler IV felt "the bare word of a Jew is meaningless," a contract scrawled on a cocktail napkin.

My colleagues reacted predictably -- some spitting in my face, one slashing at my head with an iPad. I tried to explain to those who did not shun my presence that I had no illusions we would change anyone's mind about Hitler IV, but might reveal something about his nature and the movement he led. I brought up Oriani Fallaci's interview with Henry Kissinger; yes, as one colleague reminded me, U.S. foreign policy has never recovered from Kissinger's influence -- but at least, I argued, we know more than we otherwise might about his nature. The braying laughter with which this was greeted convinced me that there was nothing I could say to make them see reason, and so I have reluctantly agreed to disinvite Hitler IV from the Festival. Perhaps there is a better way to reveal Hitler IV's nature than by letting him headline the signature event of a respected publication. Maybe a podcast?

Friday, August 31, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Can't embed it with the credit sequence -- you can see that here
-- but the tune is good Labor Day material all by itself.

•  The amount of straight-up denial of reality that is required to sustain American conservative beliefs keeps increasing. Trump's assertion that the Lester Holt interview in which he incriminated himself was doctored is well-known because it's Trump and, owing to his social deficits and encroaching senility, his style of lying is memorably bizarre. But more professional bullshit peddlers are also getting bolder. The Washington Times currently has two dillies: First, an op-ed by Sean Durns called "Tall Tales from Iran" suggests that the U.S. didn't take a serious part in the 1953 Iranian coup. Now, Durns never says the Yanks weren't there; instead he uses a lot of weasel words to convey the impression that they were extraneous and mask the impropriety of their involvement. First he muscles the door open with locutions like "the Islamic Republic of Iran likes to claim that the United States is solely responsible for toppling the democratically-elected Iranian leader" (emphasis added), refuting an overstated claim that no one's making, then drops stuff like this:
By claiming that the United States is largely responsible for Mossadegh’s ouster, the regime kindles anti-Americanism, while hoping to mobilize support by suggesting the existence of a sinister foreign influence.
Durns isn't saying the claim is false here, but associates it with "anti-Americanism." Then he quotes sources downplaying our role in the coup -- all of them predating the release of U.S. documents showing the CIA was in it up to their elbows. Durns' conclusion: "legend is not fact. And Western newspapermen should know the difference." Har de har har. Also at the Moonie paper: Damage control for Republican idiot Ron DeSantis talking about "monkeying it up" in reference to his new black Democratic opponent, under the headline "Prominent Democrats also 'guilty' of using the phrase 'monkey around'" -- and if you're imagining Democrats using the phrase in reference to things other than black people, yep, that's exactly what it is, but the Times' Dave Boyer isn't pitching this to you, he's pitching it to people who won't know or care and just want something to yell at their younger relatives before storming off to the garage. These days it's just too easy to be dumb and there are too many people for whom it seems to be a life goal.

•  Some of you may have heard I am no longer a columnist because there is no longer a column because there is no longer a Village Voice. No l'envoi here; I gave one when the paper edition folded and all that's changed now is a small gap in my income (and larger ones in those of some magnificent editorial professionals who deserve much better, and may God bless them) and the demise of an imprimatur of which, I admit, I was proud. But one good thing about getting old is you get used to losing things. As to the future: I'm going to figure out a way to keep the commentary flowing and maybe make it pay, so watch this space.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

FRENCH FRAUD.

David French is always awful but lately he's really been outdoing himself. First there was his article in The Atlantic (har) about how both the right and the left were giving him and his wife a hard time about the little black girl they picked up in Ethiopia. On the right, there was the kind of neo-Nazi viciousness that we've all come to expect from the conservative avant-garde -- racial slurs, gas chamber imagery, the works.

On the left? Under Obama the IRS audited people like French who took the adoption tax credit -- never mind that the IRS had legitimate fraud concerns with it (refundable tax credits are a particular risk, something conservatives like to point out when the refundable credit is, say, the Earned Income Tax Credit), and French apparently kept his deduction. But that's not all: French also heard what he perceived as unkind words from lefties -- not racial slurs, but scholarship! Kathryn Joyce wrote a "blistering attack on the evangelical adoption movement, claiming that the adoption industry was rife with corruption," which to those of us who've gotten a load of evangelicals lately is like, yeah that makes sense, but to French it just means more persecution: "We quickly discovered that if you’re the white parents of an adopted black child, and you’re in the public eye at all, men and women will viciously criticize you for having the audacity to believe that you can raise your kid."

Joyce has kicked French's ass pretty good on this, but no one will care, as French is taking his The Left Was Mean To My Little Black Child act on the road:


If you want to know what the hell BLM has to do with any of this, you too are being mean to his widdle girl.

Also, French has leapt onto the Impeach Pope Francis bandwagon. (He even demands that the Pope "cooperate fully with impartial investigators," at which anyone with even a glancing acquaintance with the history of the One Holy Catholic & Apostolic will LOL.) Rod Dreher has of late been devoting the full flow of his logorrhea to this cause, obviously because he perceives Francis as insufficiently gay-hating to lead the Church of which he was briefly a member; also I expect Dreher dreams of one day being named both Grand Patriarch of his current religion and Pope, in a sort of SCTV Man Who Would Be King Of The Popes scenario. As for French, his shtick is to compare Francis to Donald Trump. I shit you not:
If a person becomes more powerful, does his character matter less? Or more? Increasingly, it seems, the answer from partisans is resounding and unmistakeable.
It’s less. It’s so much less that it’s doubtful character matters at all. 
You think I’m talking about Donald Trump, don’t you?... 
For more than two years now, progressives have been screaming to conservatives that the truth matters. Character matters. You cannot — must not — turn a blind eye to real wrongdoing, even when the stakes seem high. In other words, after selling out to protect Bill Clinton in 1998...
Oh yeah. Francis is like Bill Clinton, too, because of liberal hypocrisy. (French even uses the line, "Is that the progressive Christian version of 'But Gorsuch'?")

The upshot is, one of the made men of the Church has accused Francis of shielding one of the big pedo Cardinals, and French and all the wingnuts are beating pots and pans for Francis' ouster. Because the big liberal units like the New York Times have not joined them in beating said pots and pans, they are pedo-Pope Francis' enablers ("They’ll even overlook sex abuse — until the cry of the victims is too great to be ignored").

Me, I left the Church long ago, and we who have free souls, it touches us not. Still I marvel that these non-Catholics are so exercised. The clergy were fucking altar boys 24/7 throughout the reigns of Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and back then wingnuts were content to mutter about This Fallen World etc.; now they demand to impeach the Pope. It reminds me that conservatives see everything as a means to their own power; hell, that's why Steve Bannon is waddling around Europe, trying to rev up every local Bund he can get to, and sweetening the deal for credulous reporters with dirt on celebrities. It's also why they oppose doing anything about climate change -- rather than admit any advantage to scientists (who, being intellectuals, they associate with cursed intellectuals and thus with cursed liberals), they'd rather see the Earth fry and rule the cinder. Well, humanity had a good run; I'm nearly out of the game, but leave my sympathies for your poor kids.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

THE WHITE WORKING CLASS WHISPERER HITS A SNAG.

I recently noticed that one of my 2017 tweets -- about a fanciful story by one of my favorite subjects, White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito -- was suddenly getting a lot of play. Then I saw new Twitter threads and old stories suggesting Zito is, how you say, full of shit. People began making fun of her now-infamous gas station anecdotes. Also she's being defended by Bethany Mandel, which, like the appearance of a famous mob mouthpiece at a gangland trial, is not probative but certainly suggestive.

Let me state for the record that, in my coverage of Zito's writing, I've never accused her of fabrication. I have observed that many pronouncements she attributes to her allegedly salt-of-the-earth subjects sound a mite canned ("It took me a while to realize those words weren’t theirs, but skillfully crafted sentences that had been massaged and focus-group tested by a full staff of speechwriters and strategists..."); in fact even her paraphrases sound too good to be true. Also, I noticed her referring to Republicans as Democrats for apparent conversion-narrative purposes back in 2016, a tendency for which the new jacks have found more examples.

Which is hilarious, but kind of beside the point. When I'm not regaling you good people here and at the Voice I work on trade publications ("It's a living" -- bird on The Flintstones), and I can assure you that, in that homely branch of journalism, attributions are taken very seriously. But I know pundits like Zito get a lot more slack -- hence the Alan Bromleys and Friedman cab drivers of the world, dispensing unverifiable swear-to-Gods in the service of verisimilitude. I can't imagine any reader of even normal intelligence will fail to hear the clang of poorly-written dialogue any time one of these writers' simulacra speaks. They'll believe if their need to do so is great enough, in which case no Twitter expose is going to change their minds.

So Zito's alleged journalistic crimes I take in stride. If anything I've been much more amused by her sneakiness -- like using a rich surgeon's family as an example of down-to-earth Trumpiness ("On the wall, she was adamant: 'Build it'") by referring to them as "upper-middle-class suburban voters who live in a blue-collar, upper-middle-class exurb," which is almost adorable, like seeing a melting ice cream cone dripping behind the back of a kid who's trying to pretend he didn't steal it. I'm also impressed by how committed Zito is to her Trumpkin shtick-- even allowing herself to look dumb and incoherent in defense of The Leader's gibberish (and, when the jig is up, she knows how to diminish expectations on his behalf -- this act can travel!). Not to mention the (to me) most important fact: that, even by the slithering standards of rightwing propaganda, she's a God-awful writer. But I'm a terrible cynic; your mileage, and that of the nation's editors, may vary.

Monday, August 27, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP....

...about the Manafort and Cohen stuff and conservative desperation to make it look like either a.) no big deal or b.) a gross injustice against some Republicans who are definitely not criminals -- at least not criminal enough to actually face justice for it!

I kept it short and left some popular tropes unexamined -- for example, conservatives' newfound distaste for snitches; my favorite example is Michelle Malkin (now there's a blast from the past!) saying, hey guys you know what, "Let's Join Together to Stop Out-of-Control Prosecutors" because now we've all got a stake in it -- you liberals want to protect the poor and under-represented from being railroaded, and I want to protect Donald Trump! (For an actual good-faith argument against over-reliance on jailhouse snitches, see Popehat.) And then there's Jenna Ellis at the Washington Examiner, giving us the benefit of her penological expertise:
In any other context that wasn’t so politically charged, most juries see right through this. How many crime dramas and movies depict the all-too-common “jailhouse snitch” that is a star witness for the prosecution, and then his story falls apart because he’s doing it just for his own benefit?
Don't worry, when they send Trump to prison he can hide the tunnel he's drilling behind a poster of Rita Hayworth.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

JOHN McCAIN, 1936-2018.

A lot of reactions to the death of John McCain have been bitterly negative -- and even when they speak well of him it comes with demurrers. I understand that: McCain was a great advocate of the senseless Iraq War, and a foreign policy belligerent in general; he also foisted on us Sarah Palin, the progenitor of the trend toward wingnut kabuki GOP candidates that got us Trump. And he left a series of fuck-yous to decent democratic governance that persisted right down to the end.

I would say in his defense that, for a mainstream politician in our low, mean age, he could have been much worse. When George W. Bush smoked McCain in 2000, it wasn't the black baby bullshit that did it; that never would have made a difference if W. hadn't bought off the fundamentalists, and he wouldn't have bought off the fundies if they hadn't tumbled that Bush was as corrupt and vicious as they were. (We see in their current embrace of Trump just how low they've always been.) McCain couldn't even pretend to make that sale. To me that's a big point in his favor.

Also, McCain had strict limitations on what he could get voters to accept, notwithstanding his famous bravery in the face of detention and torture during the Vietnam War. (Americans affect to love their vets, but for the most part haven't given them much advantage at the polls unless they share their principles -- or, as in the case of Tom Cotton, lack of same.) While, for example, I understand why Vox's Jennifer Williams finds McCain's legislative stance on torture "complicated" -- leaving wiggle room as it did for CIA depredations -- I would answer that for any Republican to go as far as he did then was extraordinary, and now that he's gone it's unimaginable.

Picking Palin was a crime, for sure. When I think of that, though, I think of McCain's concession speech on Election Night 2008 -- thumbnail-covered by me here -- and his rueful reference to "the most challenged campaign of modern times." I look back at the crowd for that speech. I referred to them at the time as a "gang of angry honkies," and I remember thinking they wanted more of something a lot more primal and sick than McCain was willing to give them, then or ever. You can see those people now in the slavering crowds at Trump rallies. They were the deluge that came after.

Friday, August 24, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I love how Greil Marcus writes and his most recent item is no exception, 
but let it be said he also makes good music recommendations, 
and Tropical Fuck Storm is a case in point.

Times today:
WASHINGTON — In 2016, American intelligence agencies delivered urgent and explicit warnings about Russia’s intentions to try to tip the American presidential election — and a detailed assessment of the operation afterward — thanks in large part to informants close to President Vladimir V. Putin and in the Kremlin who provided crucial details.

But two years later, the vital Kremlin informants have largely gone silent, leaving the C.I.A. and other spy agencies in the dark about precisely what Mr. Putin’s intentions are for November’s midterm elections, according to American officials familiar with the intelligence.

The officials do not believe the sources have been compromised or killed. Instead, they have concluded they have gone to ground amid more aggressive counterintelligence by Moscow, including efforts to kill spies, like the poisoning in March in Britain of a former Russian intelligence officer that utilized a rare Russian-made nerve agent...

Senior intelligence officials, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned that Russians are intent on subverting American democratic institutions.

But American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin’s intentions: He could be trying to tilt the midterm elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process.
They're going to try and hack voting machines, and the Republicans are making it easy for them. I hope every Democratic election official is on high alert; the rest of us should be paying attention, too.

• The Federalist has been working so hard for Trump I'm surprised they haven't sued him for unpaid labor. (Or many it's not unpaid. Who does fund The Federalist?) "The Massive Lies Of Past Presidents Make Trump Look Honest" is a bothsider classic, but amazingly it's not even their worst toady this week. Robert Tracinski, ladies and germs:
Here Comes That Clinton Impeachment Rerun You Asked For
The Trump sex payoff scandal looks just like 1998, except that the two parties have traded places so everyone can look totally dishonest and hypocritical

...Michael Cohen has ratted out Donald Trump and admitted to paying off porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up her tryst with Trump. The most important thing is that he says the payoff was made at Trump’s “direction” and “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.” That makes it a campaign finance law violation, and it makes Trump complicit. And that has Democrats now howling for impeachment.

If any of this sounds familiar, consider the parallels to the Clinton impeachment, as I laid them out earlier this year. Everything looks pretty much the same as 1998, but with Republican and Democrat partisans on the exact opposite sides from where they were 20 years ago.
Hold up a bit, Bob -- let's go back to that "paying off porn star" bit; I don't remember Clinton doing that. And while "Arkansas mafia" was a figurative term used by crackpots, the Russian and stateside mafia Trump plays with are all too real. Oh, and wait till Pecker opens up the vault, Bob! You're gonna have to fall back on the Dana Loesch defense that it's nothing Al Capone didn't do.

• I understand everyone's experience is different and that interference with a minor is unacceptable no matter which genders are involved. But I have to say I remember 17-year-old me pretty well, and can say with certainty that if Asia Argento had sex with 17-year-old me I would mainly feel bad that I came so quick.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

THE EASIEST JOB IN JOURNALISM.

It's been a while since I looked in on the White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito. I didn't expect her to have changed her shtick -- confirming the WWC's Trump love via quotes from unrevealed Republican operatives and millionaires, and with gibberish -- and I can report she hasn't, but she has gotten lazier.

The headline is -- who could have predicted? --"Why Trump’s supporters won’t care about Cohen and Manafort’s convictions," and Zito gets right to it with quotes from "a woman in her mid-40s who lives in a tidy suburban enclave just outside of Columbus, Ohio," which I will reproduce in their entirety:
“For decades I have been inspired by aspiring politicians and elected officials who took to the podium or the camera and delivered poetic speeches to earn my trust and my support. They would sway me with expressive words and artfully delivered promises... 
“It took me a while to realize those words weren’t theirs, but skillfully crafted sentences that had been massaged and focus-group tested by a full staff of speechwriters and strategists.”
Sounds perfectly natural, don't it? Zito must have been short of quote marks this week, or exhausted her subject's capacity for complex sentences, because thereafter she mostly paraphrases:
Along comes Trump in 2016. She cannot abide anything he tweets, finds his speeches a stream of consciousness that is hard to unscramble and considers his morals in the gutter. She reluctantly voted for him and knows she will vote for him again, something she admits even surprises her. 
Why does he hold her support? 
He delivers results. 
“It’s just that simple.”
She mentions the tax reform bill, the remaking of the judiciary, how he has repealed regulations that have improved the economic conditions in the state, both of his picks for the Supreme Court and his unflinching manner in taking on the establishment wings of both political parties as her reasons.
This tidy Ohio suburbanite sounds fascinating, unusually erudite and very up on her politics! One hopes to hear more about her, but alas:
The woman shudders as she imagines what kind of problems she would encounter if she gave her name, so she declines.
The wrath of her tidy Ohio suburb would descend on her, I guess -- maybe she'd get a bad table at the church bazaar. So we'll just have to take Zito's word for it that she exists as something other than a flak from the local GOP or figment of her imagination. And why wouldn't we? (Hmm, "just outside of Columbus, Ohio" -- maybe it's J.D. Vance in a dress?)

UPDATE: LOL -- "Facebook Censors Articles From Salena Zito, Jenna Lynn Ellis, Saying They 'Look Like Spam.'" Spam is polite word for it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

NOT THERE YET.

Despite myself, today's news had me the tiniest bit hopeful, until I saw this...


...and then I remembered nothing has really changed. It's not that Stephens is an idiot, though he is -- it's that, as a Times-credentialed wingnut, he has just enough room to take a Brave Moral Stand that looks good through the Mr. Magoo glasses of New York Times readers but will not affect his livelihood or anything else, which is precisely why he's doing it. That is, Bret Stephens calling for impeachment is a clear sign that impeachment isn't a possibility. If it were, imagine him daring to be the one to first push the teetering boulder off the cliff!

Besides, you know if impeachment were to become a possibility -- that is, if we are actually able to head off the epic voter suppression surge that we can expect from the GOP in November and get enough Democrats in Congress with some guts to do it -- Stephens would hem and haw and go back to talking about how Trump is just "Obama squared," so really he supposes they can get rid of him if they want, so long as we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and stray from our flight path to war with Iran.

While Trump caught paying hush money to hide his affairs from the electorate sounds like grounds for impeachment to you and me, especially by the Clinton blowjob metrics, Republicans in Congress are already explaining why it's no big deal. No Stephensonian Brave Moral Stand is going to change them. We just have to beat them, and then plug our ears to their blubbering about civility while we swing the axe.

Monday, August 20, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about conservative claims that the working press is trying to doxx Manafort jurors. We talk a lot about the wacky Qanon-Pizzagate conspiracy theorizing that's spreading on the right; this Paranoid Style Revival seems to have infected more conservative writers than I previously thought. They've often clustered around ridiculous, unfounded ideas in the past -- remember when the Knockout Game was sweeping the country? -- but the notion that reporters would want the names and addresses of interview-worthy subjects in order to subject them to mob justice has the smell of alt-right lunacy about it.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Been in my head all week, is why.

•  The Pennsylvania Catholic Church abuse scandal is grim indeed, though when I read Rod Dreher on the subject, portraying it as a sort of Day The Music Died ("my friend, a tough-guy lawyer, wrote to tell me that he wept in his office. He said, 'I am at the end'"), I have to ask: In the brief time he spent as a Catholic, did he not read any Church history? The stateside sex abuse has been a live story for decades, but the One Holy & Apostolic has been corrupt as hell for centuries. If you believe in the Church, it must be because God called you to it, not because you think the depravity of Man ceases once he crosses the threshold of a cathedral. Anyway, the silver lining is some of the worst writing Megan McArdle has ever done. Here's a sample, and I hope you have your Bad Analogy filter on:
According to news reports, the church hierarchy in Pennsylvania and beyond has already denied Christ’s gospel three times: once when it sheltered predators in silence; once when it failed to remove everyone who was involved in covering up any crime; and again when two of the six dioceses involved tried to shut down the grand jury investigation that produced the report. Now they face the same choice Peter did.
I should say the comparison with child molesters is a bit hard on Peter, who only let a bit of social anxiety run away with him after a rough night.
They can offer the full record of faithlessness in abject penitence, witnessing for repentance and redemption even at risk of martyrdom. Or they can deny Him a fourth time by minimizing the past and protecting those who helped maintain that grisly silence. Which is to say, they can choose to be a millstone around the neck of the faithful — or the rock on which the church can be rebuilt.
Aaaagh! And people think folk masses are corny.

•  You may have already seen what I expect will become a legendary column by Matt K. Lewis, "Did I Join a Movement That Naturally Attracts Extremists and Kooks?" This soggier-than-most I've Made a Huge Mistake, Trump regrets dreamboard is funny for many reasons: First, because Lewis is a tool in general; second,  because up till recently Lewis was writing columns like "Amy Coney Barrett, the Trump Supreme Court Pick Who’ll Troll Liberals the Hardest" ("Jurisprudence, schmuriprudence. She’s under 50, devoutly Catholic, has seven kids, and she’ll make the libs crazy. Good enough for me"). He's like a dumb hood who, having been cheerfully knocking over liquor stores and joyriding in stolen cars for months, discovers immediately upon arrest that he's been misled by false friends.  But third and most hilariously, get this:
I grew up with (and signed on for) Reagan’s version of conservatism. In recent years, I have become disenchanted—not with the intellectual philosophy of Edmund Burke or the governing philosophy of Ronald Reagan—but with what passes for conservatism today.
I wonder what Lewis would say if you asked him what conservative principles Burke supported -- probably either "He didn't like the French Revolution" or "Jonah Goldberg says he's conservative." As for Reagan, it may be asking a lot of Lewis to connect the Gipper's trickle-down bullshit with the reign of the 1%, but if he's going to pretend to convert he might at least look at the prayerbook. As it stands, his act is like any other NeverTrumper's: to repurpose an aging joke, he and they say they never dreamed the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party would eat anyone's face, and it must be the fault of all the Face-Eating Leopards who inexplicably showed up.

•  Speaking of hot takes on the Church scandal, here's Michael Walsh at American Greatness:
I cannot say for certain when the rot set in, but I can say when my disillusionment first set in: with Vatican II and the papal reigns of John XXIII and Paul VI... some of the outward changes [John] and Paul instituted in the Church -- the abandonment of the Latin rite was one that most affected this altar boy -- seemed arbitrary and superfluous; we would have called them “virtue signaling” today.
The author of Humanae Vitae as a limousine liberal! I can imagine an ancestor of Walsh sighing that it all really went downhill when the Church stopped torturing heretics. Also:
...the French Revolution’s violent destruction of the ancient regime was as much directed against the Church as it was against the monarchy. To this day, laïcité is one of the French Republic’s guiding principles, and it’s no accident that into the Gallic spiritual void left by ostracized Christianity has rushed recrudescent Islam. Satan, like Nature, abhors a vacuum.
To help fight off the pervs and Satanic Muslims, Walsh calls for "a restoration of the Latin rite," which I'm sure goes down a treat with American Greatness' Throne and Altar readership, though I expect the younger set who are abandoning churchgoing in general will find it more evidence they've made the right choice.

ARETHA, 1942-2018.


Nothing like her. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

JEFFREY GOLDBERG IS ONE LUCKY SON OF A BITCH.

I guess you heard about "Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle." Said uncle, David S. Glosser, talks about Wolf-Leib Glosser from Belarus -- a mutual ancestor of himself and the xenophobic Trump flunky Miller — and how he came through Ellis Island with no more credentials for entry than have the immigrants of today, and what would have happened to him if someone like Miller had been around to shut them out:
I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants — been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom. The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the “America first” nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees. Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family likely would have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.
Stepping up to answer Glosser is rightwing free speech martyr #276 Kevin D. Williamson, who at National Review sniffs Hypocrisy, ha, I put sneer quotes on your "hypocrisy"! and proceeds to tell this sentimental descendant of Holocaust escapees how small the story of Wolf-Leib Glosser is compared to Kevin D. Williamson's expansive view of history:
Miller’s ancestors immigrated to the United States. Every living American is either an immigrant or had immigrant ancestors. For that matter, every human being dwelling in North America, and every one who ever has, is either an immigrant or a child of immigrants, humans not being native to the continent, or to any other continent but Africa, the significance of which ought to be obvious to any Homo even half sapiens. By the Glosser standard, everybody who supports immigration restrictions is a “hypocrite.” (That’s how you know it is kind of a stupid standard.)
See, Glosser, your ancestor and his murdered coevals are not so special -- we're all immigrants, really. (And those coevals' deaths aren't so meaningful either because, hey, everybody dies!) Believe it or not, Williamson decides to gild this lulu:
By the same standard, everybody who thinks that living like a caveman is sub-optimal is a hypocrite, too: What, it was good enough for your ancestors! If it weren’t for grub-eating, head-bonking, and casual cannibalism, you wouldn’t even be here!
Boy, the Atlantic really missed a trick there, huh?

Monday, August 13, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the conservative elevation of Alex Jones to a hero of free speech. It is extremely rare for conservatives to defend users of speech rights with whom they do not agree, and I am extremely unconvinced that they all suddenly got religion on behalf of Jones in an ecumenical, Voltairean spirit.