Monday, October 15, 2018


So now she's not Indian enough:

In the immortal words of Jay Silverheels, ugh. I wrote way back in 2012 about rightwingers' woo-woo-woo jokes about Pocahontas Warren (“You Won’t Have Elizabeth Warren To Kick Around By Indian Summer,” said Dan Riehl shortly before she was elected Senator) and today was the first day they even slightly altered their shtick. Warren could split open and Sitting Bull himself emerge from the husk, and conservatives would say, "hyuk, she was pretending to be a chick all along to get that sweet affirmative action!"

There is no reasoning with these people, nor any point in taking them seriously.

UPDATE. I see the credentialed and formerly respectable conservatives are playing the same stupid game. National Review's David French, who recently completed his turn to Trumpkinism by telling the world  Trump calling for his opponents to be jailed was nothing compared to liberals being mean to Ted Cruz, is now pretending to be outraged by what he calls Warren's "resume fraud." French talks as if her criminality were obvious to all True Sons of Liberty, which is what these putzes do when they're nervous that no one is listening to them. Finally, the last refuge of a NeverTrumper turned Tip-InTrumper -- he says Warren's the real Trump!  Can you imagine Tom Cruise once made people think JAG officers were cool?

UPDATE 2. In my newsletter today (Subscribe! Cheap!) I explain, among other things, why this is Bad News for Donald Trump:
Trump uses insults like this to neutralize his enemies, but by showing she had some Native American blood — not 1/32nd or three generations back, as her family had told her, but between 1/64th to 1/1,024th, or six to ten generations — Warren showed her good-faith claim was based on reality, and good faith and reality are to Trump as garlic and crucifixes to a vampire, as shown by his even more petulant than usual response: claiming "who cares" — a weird response to something he normally goes out of his way to make a big deal of — and that he never made a promise to pay a million dollars if Warren's Indian heritage were proven even though his promise is on tape. ("It was in the context of a future hypothetical debate and wasn’t actually a promise to give one million to her charity if she actually did a DNA test," homina-homina'd the ball-washers at The Right Scoop.) 
In other words, Trump couldn't even act like he was on top in this situation —he just blustered, something he's actually always doing but, in this instance, was so clearly doing it that even the redhat dummies might notice.
I would also add that, as with French and this Breitbart schnook, the fallback position among conservatives is that the Lame Stream Media, though malice or stupidity, missed the real story, which is that Warren and not Trump is the real crook. Not only is this message not a compelling one,  but they're delivering it to a small audience that already despises Warren and could not despise her more; normal people with memories of the schoolyard will appreciate her fighting back.

Friday, October 12, 2018


Hi, boys and girls, I'm Jimmy Carl Black and I'm the Indian of the group

My primary feeling about the Kanye West jackassery is expressed in my newsletter essay, "Previous Presidential-Pop Star Press Conferences." Subscribers can read the whole thing (which is why you should subscribe! It's cheap!), but here is an excerpt:
1969: Richard Nixon and Wild Man Fischer
FISCHER: No but I mean it's bullshit, man -- I mean ladies and gentlemen of the press. Because the man is trying to keep us down, and he keeps on keeping on keeping on keeping us down. He keeps on keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us down. He keeps on keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us down. [Takes out and plays a tambourine] He keeps on keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us keeping us... 
NIXON [whispering to H.R. HALDEMAN] What the fuck is this bullshit. 
HALDEMAN: You said you wanted to start working the youth vote early, sir. 
NIXON: Next time get me goddamn Tiny Tim like I asked for.
•  Speaking of Kanye, though, it's something to see the serious intellectuals of the right sing his praises. Here's Peter Suderman:

"Mixed feelings"? What was the part he liked? Maybe it was "The core of Adidas, and Chicago, is the core of middle America, and we have to make middle America strong" -- as a libertarian, Suderman might appreciate branding American renewal with a specific company with which Trump can make a corrupt deal. Maybe it was West's suggestion the 13th Amendment is illegitimate because the number 13 is unlucky. Probably works for Rand Paul!

At National ReviewKevin D. Williamson spends the Kanye aftermath talking about the celebrity political obtuseness of... Taylor Swift and Henry Rollins. (There is one throwaway line about West.) And mostly on Rollins! We're all had our fun with Henry, but it's hilarious to see a professional poseur like Williamson decide that while Rollins has "real intellectual hunger," he is one of those who "see, but they do not observe" (translation: they read and think but still don't agree with Kevin D. Williamson). Then Williamson laments that "there isn’t any price for being intellectually irresponsible" -- I know! Kevin Williamson!

•  Which reminds me, another reason to love is it has text files of old issues of Maximum Rock 'n' Roll. I was looking for a particular Henry Rollins story and found this:
What the fuck is wrong with MRR?

Kurt Cobain kills himself and your attitude is “Fuck him, he sold out three years ago.” Jello Biafra gets beaten up and his knee broken in 17 places, and it's a big joke, cause “he’s not punk-rock anymore.”

Then you turn around and publish sexist, homophobic bullshit like George Tabb and Mykei Board. George Tabb spends a whole column calling Henry Rollins a pussy and a sissy. OK, Rollins sucks now, but what’s George Tabb ever done that's as good as Damaged or Slip It In? You wanna talk about sellouts—George would sell his wife to a donkey show in Tijuana to get a major-label contract for his lame metal band. Mykei [sic] Board used to be funny, but now he’s just a pathetic Rush Limbaugh imitation, whining about being oppressed by “women and homos”!

He’s probably mad because the only way he can ever get laid is to go to Thailand and pay for it.
I hope this man is almost done with the Great American Novel. (PS The story I dimly recall -- it might have been in the New York Press -- involved George Tabb challenging Rollins to a push-up contest; Tabb goes first and does a hundred or so push-ups, and gets up sweaty and exhausted; then Rollins gets down, does one, and says, "Now you can tell people you beat Henry Rollins in a push-up contest." Anyone here remember where this was printed?)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


This is the most concentrated pellet of IOKIYR in recorded history.

What does Lewis mean by radicalization? He might be talking about policy -- for example, the growing impatience on the part of liberals with half-measures like the ACA and their shift to Medicare for All. But while the ACA turned out to be easy for Republicans to demonize, Medicare for All is very popular. And a lot of  Republican policies, like immigrant baby cages, are very unpopular. The midterm polls suggest not too many people are scared of what the Democrats are promising them.

So Lewis, like other conservatives these days, shifts emphasis from radical policies to radical behavior, calling the Democrats a "mob" that assaults Republican politicians by telling them they don't like them, which is what Hitler did.

In the linked article Lewis' evidence of "mob" activity is protesters at the Supreme Court "banging on the walls" and "Ted Cruz getting chased out of restaurants." They sure don't make mobs like they used to.

The Maximum Leader has been pushing this line ("You don't hand matches to an arsonist and you don't give power to an angry left-wing mob, and that's what the Democrats are"), and all the little Trumpkins -- which is basically every conservative, bound in blood to him since he muscled Rapey McRoeRepeal onto the Supreme Court -- have followed suit, from the blog bottom-feeders ("Democratic Party = Mob," "Democrat mob shows true colors," etc.) to bigger fish like Fox News' Stuart Varney ("Could it be that the treatment of Kavanaugh by the Democrat mob is swinging votes to the GOP?"), North Carolina GOP vice chairwoman Michele Nix ("modern Democrats prefer mob rule over the rule of law"), and Senator Tom Cotton ("the Democrats’ crazed, hysterical attempt at left-wing mob rule has failed, and rightfully so").

Rod Dreher, of course, is very anti-Democrat-mob and claims America joins him in condemning them, presenting in evidence his usual rock-solid testimony from unnamed persons whose existence we must take on faith:
I’ve heard from three friends — two Democrats, and one anti-Republican independent — who have written to express profound concern about this political moment, and the behavior of the liberal mob. One of the Democrats — no fan of Trump or Kavanaugh — told me that her party has lost her over all this. The independent told me he hasn’t voted GOP in 30 years, but that may change this November, because of the “malice” (his word) on the left. And the third remains a devoted Democrat, but he is agonizing over the demons now taking over his political side, and worries if they can ever be reined in.
Also Dreher knows a couple of ex-Soviet citizens who swear the Democrats are just like their captors back in the gulag  -- "these aging former dissidents, who don’t know each other, see the same thing happening in the liberal West." Like the biggest question I'd have about these possibly imaginary people is whether they colluded on their story.

The presumably real people who say the Kavanaugh hearings convinced them to vote for Trump are even better. "I Was A Never Trumper Until Democrats Went Gonzo On Kavanaugh. Now, Hand Me That Red Hat," declares... Nathanael Blake, longtime writer for The Federalist and author of columns like "How To Respond With Reason And Compassion To Transgender Bullies." Yeah, we were really hoping to turn that guy.

It should be obvious that, as Eric Levitz points out in New York magazine, when Republicans protest, the threat of actual violence -- not banging on walls, not discomfiting diners -- is much, much closer to the surface. Me, I can remember back to 2014 and the Bundy Insurrection, when armed crackers drew beads on federal agents and conservatives went squee. Here's John Hinderaker of Power Line at the time:
As time went by, more and more allies showed up at the Bundy Ranch, pretty much all of them armed. The arrivals included some who described themselves as militias. Today there was an extraordinary scene that gave rise to this photograph. Hundreds of Bundy supporters, on horseback and, I assume, armed, told the federal agents that they were surrounded and had better give back the cattle they had confiscated...
There was no cry against the mob in that post -- just Hinderaker spreading stories about Harry Reid ("Rumor has it that Reid wants the land for a giant solar farm that would be supplied by a Chinese company") and defending the Bundy position ("I don’t understand why there isn’t a stronger movement to turn most of that land over to local management"). Tree of liberty and all that.

Today, as it happens, Hinderaker talks about "the Democrats’ repellent mob actions as part of the 'Kavanaugh confirmation process.'" This level of shitfulness is par for Hinderaker's course, but what makes it even better is that his post argues his "mob" talking point is moving the polls in the Republicans' direction -- something he perhaps hopes will convince Sheldon Adelson to give him a bonus after the GOP only loses 34 seats. No doubt the rageaholic base does find this energizing, if by energizing we mean "now Grandpa, you know you're supposed to take your medicine every day," but how many of them make it to the polls -- and how many of us they'll be able to keep from the polls -- will have more to do with the result. That's the kind of mob tactic I worry about.

Friday, October 05, 2018


I was deeply honored to stand at the White House July 9 with the woman who is my wife, Ashley, and my girl-children Margaret and Liza, while in the audience my mother, a woman whose accomplishments as a woman I endorse, and the many other women I have promoted and shaken hands with and nodded to in hallways and coached in girls’ basketball teams watched me accept President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court which also has female members which I endorse.

I told all these brave, wonderful women who applauded my nomination as an ally of women about my 28 years at law, and nothing about how most of that was not spent on any bench but clerking and helping out with chores around the Republican Party until I had risen far enough and married his secretary that President Bush put me on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

There I rendered judgments impartially and unimaginatively, but certainly not in a partisan or sexist or in any other way career-damaging manner, waiting for my number to come up. By the way, judges must be impartial and beyond politics, did you know this? There are no Democrats and Republicans as far as the Supreme Court goes, just a team, including three women, of jurists whose numbers also came up, and I will serve amicably with them impartially and certainly without getting handsy with the ladies.

In the course of my politically neutral confirmation process I met with many Senators, bullshitting the Democrats and giving the hi-sign to the Republicans. I answered what I consider to be a large number of questions and despite what the Democrats say I think that number was quite sufficient.

But suddenly wrongful and sometimes vicious allegations were made about my behavior during a time long, long, long ago when I was a mere lad but still behaved impeccably, especially with women. The primary result of these baseless charges was a series of threats against all the Kavanaugh females mentioned above.

In defending these women and myself against accusations by parties whose gender I will not mention, I was of course outraged, as would be any man whose women had been attacked, and so I sneered, cried, told that mouthy Amy Klobuchar what’s what, yelled about my affection for drinking, and accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of setting the whole thing up. In the course of this understandable demonstration of my righteous indignation, I may have been a little rash and said a few things that were hurtful (though not to women, except maybe Senator Klobuchar who I expect is big enough to take it, and Hillary Clinton, because come on it's not like everyone doesn't know I'm going to carry out my Boss’ personal vendetta against her from the bench).

Anyway I’m sure now that it’s too late to do anything about it you will accept this non-apology and the inevitability of the nation-altering decisions my appointment will make inevitable. And once they get past the shock, I'm sure women will see that I am doing this all out of respect for them. See you on the sunny side of the mountain, ladies.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018


I did a thing in the newsletter (subscriptions r cheap! $7 a month!) about Rod Dreher and how, after what seemed like months of Vatican stuff (tl;dr more U.S. priests turn out to be pedos, big shock, which Dreher blames on that libtard Pope Francis and the "Lavender Mafia"), he's been pulled back into his usual ways by the Kavanaugh case. Oh boy does he support Kavanaugh, and for the reasons you'd expect (SJWs, Our Boys, feminazis, etc -- or white male supremacy, to cut to the chase). Dreher has even declared himself "red-pilled" by the hearings (though, being a wuss, he cops out in the end: "I’m not an alt-rightist. They would be embarrassed to have a Jesus person like me on their side, as many of them have said in the past." They don't have to like you, Rod -- they just have to let you carry their water).

Dreher has really returned to form with another of his spooooky stories for religious maniacs: After setting the scene with a news item about "a rash of cattle mutilations" in Arizona (it ain't Merrin and Pazuzu but it'll do) and expressing his concerns over a remake of (I'm not kidding) Sabrina the Teenage Witch ("The mainstreaming of Satanism in pop culture... is undeniably culturally significant"), Dreher tells us:
Background: “Nathan,” as I’ll call my friend, is a devout Catholic who lives in a major US city, and who works in a sophisticated professional milieu. He is in early middle age, and a husband and father. He and his family go to mass daily, and confession weekly. 
Nathan started his story with a jaw-dropping line: “For the past year, my wife has been under the care of an exorcist.”
Nathan told me the story of how things came to this point. I won’t give you too many details, out of an abundance of caution. It turns out that his wife had an eating disorder as a teenager, and tried to kill herself twice back then. Now, in the middle of her life, depression returned, but with certain strange characteristics that seemed … off. She began to despise religious things, in an inexplicable way. When she went to a “healing mass,” there was a manifestation that indicated something dark and alien was at work in her.
Here, where many of us would be asking, "uh, psychiatrist?" Dreher tells us "Catholic exorcists today work in a professional way, ruling out all other medical possibilities to explain the behavior before they start" -- so I guess they got past the psych eval, possibly by not doing one, and Nathan's wife's began "multiple sessions" with the exorcist. Also, "Nathan has been part of the rituals."

I know what you're thinking, guys, but --
...his wife’s face contorts into expressions that he has never seen in her, despite their nearly two decades of marriage.
Okay, now you've got me thinking it too. Dreher is still buying the story of the wife's hysteria treatments -- uh, I mean exorcism sessions, and muses:
I don’t know how I would do if I were in a situation in which I would be lying in bed at night, and my wife blurted out, “I hate you!” and then started growling in an otherworldly voice.
I suppose if he asked nicely he could find out, and then maybe we'd all be better off.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


As I say in my Friday newsletter item about this (subscriptions available, and even if you only do the free signup you'll still get the Kavanaugh hearing issue), only a small number of people know to a certainty what happened and, though I find Ford more credible than Kavanaugh, my standing policy is to believe only half of what I see and none of what I hear. But if you saw Brett Kavanaugh today, or even just know anything about his history as a rightwing factotum, you already know he's a piece of shit. If you know his history, you know he has devoted his miserable life to the dirty business of the GOP --  spreading manure for Ken Starr in the Clinton impeachmentspinning the Elian Gonzalez case, helping Bush rig the 2000 electionserving as George W.'s dogsbody and even marrying into the mob -- he's like the Zelig of modern Republican black ops. If you saw the hearing, you also know he's a whiny bitch trying the play tough guy. In either case, he is, as mentioned, a piece of shit, and as such shouldn't been anywhere near the Supreme Court -- but the flunkers to this flunkee, the GOP, have the power to put him in, and will race to do so before all hell breaks loose. So you can't stop it, but keep the outrage you feel at this injustice as a nosegay and bring it to the voting booth on November 6. (Also bring ID and the number of the ACLU Election Protection Hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE.) If we turn enough seats maybe we can impeach this prick. (Did I mention the newsletter?)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Durn elites be laffin' at mah Preznit:

June 6, 2019 -- At the G7 meeting today at the Centre de Congrès Bellevue in Biarritz, President Trump defecated in his hand and flung his waste into the audience. Fortunately the President's copromaniacal antics were anticipated by the other attendees, and the fecal matter only struck some waiters and Maggie Haberman.

Afterwards American reporters shouted questions about the incident at the President through a large, clear plastic tarp; President Trump laughed, gave a shit-smeared thumbs-up, and said "Some joke, hah?" before being escorted to a waiting sanitation facility.

The President and his followers have always reveled in his outrageous behavior and the shocked reactions of his opponents, but until September of last year his outrages were mostly confined to racist and sexist remarks and offenses to common sense. However, since his self-congratulatory remarks drew laughter at the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, his antics have become increasingly bizarre.

At a rally in Sheboygan, Wisconsin last February, for example, the President led the crowd in a sing-along of his own version of Chuck Berry's "My Ding-a-Ling," with apparently improvised lyrics such as "Suck my Ding-a-Ling, fuck my Ding-a-Ling, It's a Ring-a-Ding-Ding, that bitch Hillary can suck my fuck, you better believe it." Trump reprised some of the song later that week at a press conference with the Dalai Lama.

In March at a meeting of the National Chamber of Commerce the President appeared to break wind loudly enough to be picked up by his microphone; responding to the audience's muffled, embarrassed laughter, the President said, "Looks like we got a bunch of elitists here," and blew raspberries for a solid minute, interspersing comments such as "Do I offend you?" and "Ooooh, pardon me." At the end he lit a match, gave the audience the finger, and walked off to tumultuous applause.

The raspberries have replaced "You're fired" and other Trump catchphrases of days gone by; teachers in deep South states complain that their students frequently make the noise, or actually break wind, when they get bored, and comedian Steven Crowder filled an entire podcast entirely with raspberries and cries of "triggered, snowflakes?" Red "THPPPPPPPT" hats have become a popular alternative to the MAGA hats of days gone by.

"The American people are tired of the false pieties and fancy European manners of the failed Obama administration," former Kansas governor Sam Brownback explained on his radio show. "And as you may know," he added with a sly smile, "my own last name has something to do with shit."

Friday, September 21, 2018


Some of you may have heard that I have been accused of a terrible, violent crime, but rest assured I have an explanation: there is a fellow in Silver Spring named Mort Silverman who looks a little like me, especially with the light behind him. The criminal complaint says the attack took place at a party in Cleveland Park, which is Metro-accessible from Silver Spring, and that the assailant was wearing a Blair Tropicool® Guayabera Shirt, tan slacks, and brown loafers with no socks, all items of clothing to which Mort Silverman had access via local shops or the internet. So please keep this in mind when you hear this accusation, or other similar accusations, made against me. If needed, I have testimonials to the effect that this website (and my newsletter! Cheap subscriptions available!) could not be run as well by other people as it has been by me, available upon request.

What do you mean, it'll never work? Republican functionary Ed Whelan apparently thought it would and, the evidence suggests, so did what passes for a brain trust among Brett Kavanaugh supporters in and around the White House.

I'm not a subscriber to the "these are not very bright guys and things got out of hand" theory of Trump, though this insane tactic makes it more attractive. I still think the strategy is just to brass it out and let male supremacy carry the day. Their confidence that it will do so is such that they aren't trying to convince any undecideds, among Senators or among voters; the former are in the bag and the latter, well, unless voter suppression does the trick the GOP is looking at major losses no matter what they do.

So this doppelganger nonsense is not meant to win support for the nomination; it's probably just wingnut posturing to show each other how loyal and hardcore they are -- hey! Remember that time Ed told people some other guy did the raping? It may have the added effect of injecting more conspiracy bugs into the damaged brains of their base voters, keeping them enraged and baffled and committed to the cause, but I doubt that would be intentional -- more like a reflex, since crazy psyops are kind of baked into Trumpublicanism and anytime they do anything there will be a certain amount of malicious mischief. (I am also open to the idea that Trump enjoys the idea of humiliating his flunkies by making them do something horrible like this.)

Bottom line, Kavanaugh's in, Roe's fucked, and sometime between now and November 2020 Trump will either bomb Canada or get Kim Jong-un to go on TV and debase himself before America in pidgin English in exchange for whatever's still left in the U.S. Treasury, and hope it works out for him. Who knows how far the conspiracy bugs will have spread by then.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


As I've said, and keep saying in my latest newsletter (subscribe! It don't cost much), it seems all conservatives are now solidly on board with Brett Kavanaugh and the Tit and Clit Club and, when it comes to their arguments in defense of the accused attempted rapist, the sober mainstream types are more or less indistinguishable from the crazy he-man woman-haters club types on the fringe. Dig professional harrumph machine David French, for example, arguing in the allegedly legit National Review that the real problem is not Georgetown Prep Republicans who think they own women, but liberal jazzbos who "stripped away moral prohibitions against extramarital sex, celebrated youthful experimentation, combined it with similar celebrations of drug and alcohol use — even at early ages — and then have been shocked — no, stunned — at the sheer amount of groping, grabbing, coercion, and assault." Yeah, elite males getting drink and rapey are the fault of Hugh Hefner; before the 60s, they only raped low-status females who were easily paid off and no one was the wiser.

But give the low-class conservatives credit; while guys like French are matching them in misogyny, they can't keep up with their expertise in plain old insanity.

Take Robert Stacy McCain, who I last noticed attacking Sarah Jeong for racism against whites -- "No one at Harvard or at the New York Times will speak a word in favor of white people, Christians, heterosexuals, or police officers" -- which was pretty ballsy of him, considering McCain is a neo-Confederate.

Well, sure enough, the American Spectator enlisted McCain to tell this mouthy Christine Blasey Ford a thing or two. A large part of his rap, you will not be surprised to hear, involves the Rolling Stone/UVA case -- when Men's Rights types can't get it up for normal porn anymore, they can always get a stiffy over that.

But the meat, as it were, of McCain's argument is that Kavanaugh's accuser has no right to be in a position to make such an accusation -- and the fact that she is in such a position suggests that she's lying:
It is perhaps not a coincidence that Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser is a university professor. The former prep-school girl Christine Blasey went on to obtain two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in psychology, marry an engineer named Russell Ford, and thus become Professor Ford of California’s Palo Alto University. 
That's how women get doctorates and professorates: Marrying titled men!
Having spent her entire adult life working in academia, Professor Ford is eminently qualified as a representative of the mentality that currently prevails on our nation’s university campuses, where male students are presumed guilty of rape as soon as any female student accuses them.
Interesting. And what mentality is represented by Kavanaugh, who has spent his entire adult life as a factotum to Republican Party bosses? Why should his predictable careerist rise be any less suspicious than hers? It would seem the main difference between Kavanaugh's and Ford's position among the "elite," in McCain's view, is that hers is absurd because she lacks a penis.
This mentality was what led to the debacle at the University of Virginia in 2014, when a Rolling Stone reporter destroyed her career...
Let us draw the curtain, or close the men's room door, on McCain, and look in on Dennis Prager at National Review. Prager is a total idiot who has in the past argued that wives owe their husbands sex ("Why do we assume that it is terribly irresponsible for a man to refuse to go to work because he is not in the mood, but a woman can -- indeed, ought to -- refuse sex because she is not in the mood?"). I wouldn't say he's topped that in his pissy column "The Charges against Judge Kavanaugh Should Be Ignored," but he comes close. First he pretty much accepts that Kavanaugh tried to rape Ford but shrugs it off because he's been such a good boy since ("No matter how good and moral a life one has led for ten, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years, it is nullified by a sin committed as teenager"), and that anyone should think otherwise is just "another example of the moral chaos sown by secularism and the Left." But here's the money part, and by "money" I mean nuts:
When my wife was a waitress in her mid teens, the manager of her restaurant grabbed her breasts and squeezed them on numerous occasions. She told him to buzz off, figured out how to avoid being in places where they were alone, and continued going about her job. That’s empowerment.
If only gals would learn to dodge their bosses' advances like Andy dodged butt-rape in The Shawshank Redemption, then come home and gave their husbands the blowjobs they deserve, we'd have the little gender thing fixed up PDQ.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


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:
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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.