Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Hark -- Jonah Goldberg, lately detached from his sinecure at National Review with full pension, has a new syndicated column. Surely now that he's out from under the infantilizing influence of the wingnut-welfare gravy train, he'll produce more mature and intellectually ambitious material. Let's have a look:
Now before you get all worked up, hear me out. I’m not defending the president against the charge of racism. The [Trump go-back-where-you-came-from] tweets were racist, as well as xenophobic and nativist. 
I asked if he intended to make a racist jab, not whether the jab itself was racist.
bhf[opp[pw[ef p[...
Here’s a less-than-startling insight: Trump often doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and not just on matters of race. This is the guy who said not long ago that windmills cause cancer. In 2017 he told the British prime minister, “You’re our largest trading partner. A lot of people don’t know that. I was surprised.” Our largest trading partner is China. 
He also has a long history of not knowing his history.
So... Trump can't be racist because he's stupid?
So when Trump tells four women of color that they should go back where they came from, it’s possible he had no clue that he was tapping into a rich vein of racist and nativist rhetoric.
Yeah, "go back where you came from" is a pretty obscure reference.
Indeed, it’s possible he didn’t know that three of the women weren’t immigrants at all. The fact that he seemed initially surprised by the controversy bolsters my theory. He just thought he was trolling Democrats.
Which excuses everything, really. That n-word thing? Just a joke, man! Lighten up!
This seems to be lost on a lot of his critics. They cite his attacks on women, blacks, Muslims, while excluding his attacks on white male Christians...
...and connect the dots to make the case that he’s a bigot.
Wait for it...
That’s certainly fair, given his record.
This endless Hadron Collider fart proves that even the free market cannot rescue Goldberg's column from being the stupidest thing ever written until Goldberg writes something else. Selah!

Friday, July 19, 2019


See what happens when you maintain access with the White House? You get great stories like this:
CBS News has learned President Trump took a lot of heat from his family over the racist chants at a campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday. He heard from first lady Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka and Vice President Mike Pence...
I am loving this idea of Melania registering a complaint.
[TRUMP at desk in Oval Office, fiddling with phone. Enter MELANIA in some kind of ridiculous gown.] 
TRUMP: [not looking up] How'd you slip your collar? 
MELANIA: Donald I am ver' upset wiz you. 
TRUMP: [not looking up] Get a couple grand from Mnuchin and have a nice lunch.

MELANIA: You are tellink ze women to go back and is mehking me look ver' bad.

TRUMP: [not looking up] Know what'd make you look bad? A rap in the mouth.

MELANIA: [Speaking into her two-way wrist TV] Dehncer to Mehstermind. Dehncer to Mehstermind. I hev made ze heat.

TRUMP: [not looking up] Tell Mick I say hi.
This is their outreach to women, I guess. I've mentioned at the newsletter (Subscribe! Cheap!) this new Trump Women Daily thing but I rather doubt it's official. It seems to be in the line of those rightwing ladymags Ole Perfesser Instapundit used to push for (and which briefly found fruition in Acculturated and other outlets, but now seem to have shrunk to occasional items in The Federalist). The Trump Women Daily website is unready but they've been sending me emails. Behold a sample:

That oughta sway swing voters! It's pretty much all like that. And then there's the "earned" media -- like some clever propagandist circulating a clutch of female Trump operatives as Jes' Plain Trump Fans. It's all so shabby one begins to suspect that Trump's only interest is to keep the same rump of racist mouthbreathers agitated for 2020, and to demoralize, intimidate, and suppress enough Democratic voters to make that work. But it's early yet -- maybe Brad Parscale will get Trump to guest-host The View ("You bleed how many days? But for prostitutes it's much less, right?").

Thursday, July 18, 2019


There are of course the dead-enders who think Trump's straight-up Hitler impersonation -- telling outrageous lies about Rep. Ilhan Omar supporting Al Qaeda, and goading his goons to chant "Send her back" -- is an unmixed good, a sign that their Leader is finally going full Herrenvolk, but they barely count; they just serve to keep the Q-anon Infowars Pizzagate freak-rump roiled and red-faced. The most offensive reactions are from the mainstream conservatives, or what I have come to call the JustTheTip Trumpers -- those who occasionally admit Trump is gauche or non-U or not quite our kind (or whatever specific demurrers they use in their gated communities) but have heretofore supported virtually everything he does. There are several fine examples of people who will slur Omar and her allies all day long but, now that their ugliness has been mirrored back to them, wonder how such a thing could happen.

It's like, to paraphrase Harlan Ellison, having lain with pigs, they are surprised to get up smelling like garbage, and cast about for someone else to blame.

Worst of all, as usual, is Rod Dreher, who wonders why Trump would do such a thing:
The truly psychotic thing about Trump is that he doesn’t have to do this! It’s easy to fight the radicals of the Squad without resorting to this kind of thing. In fact, he is winning on the politics of Omar & Co. But that’s not enough for him. You’ve got to wonder if he’s some kind of sadist.
Or maybe -- stay with me now -- he leads a conservative movement that relies on racist xenophobia to win, and his goon-squad ravings are only more polite versions of the Save The White People stuff in which Dreher specializes.

Outraged as Dreher pretends to be, he's still doing the pee-dance over Trump 2020:
I have said for some time now that as bad as Trump is, I believe that putting Democrats in power would be worse, solely because of what it would mean for laws and policies that are important to me. But this degrading demagogic behavior is exactly the kind of thing that would flip me to the other side.
So why doesn't he? He could say it right now: It's too much, I quit. But he won't, because he's a pussy as well as a white nationalist.

UPDATE. Here, Trump's making it easier for him:
President Donald on Thursday disavowed the “send her back” chant that broke out at his rally on Wednesday night. 
"I was not happy with it. I disagree with it,” Trump said to reporters about the chant, which began after the president again went after Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) as part of his ongoing attack on four progressive freshman congresswomen
If only there had been someone there who could have told the crowd to stop! This is good news for John McCain's reputation.

Sunday, July 14, 2019


The latest This Is Good News for Trump story from White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito is "Why America’s tariff-hit farmers still support Trump." The farmers she quotes are eloquent about how hard they work, but not so great at explaining why they love the President ("I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with a lot of the policies and a lot of the actions that he’s taken" is typical). And it's not even clear from Zito's stats that dairy farmers really are hanging in with MAGA:
In 2016, rural Americans, a category that includes all of America’s farmers and ranchers, overwhelmingly voted for Trump; he earned 62 percent of the vote compared to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 34 percent, according to Pew Research analysis... 
Yet, despite a flurry of national stories warning that farmers are moving away from Trump because of his trade policies, a recent Gallup survey showed that 53 percent of rural residents approve of the job the president is doing.
Not sure exactly how 62 percent of "farmers and ranchers" supporting Trump in 2016 correlates to 53 percent of "rural residents" supporting Trump in 2020, but it looks like a drop to me.

That's not even the weirdest part. Zito writes:
The 32-year-old [dairy farmer] also manages the crew of 40 to 50 employees who make sure those of us at home can pick up a bottle of fresh milk, aged cheese or tangy yogurt at our local grocery. 
That is, of course, unless you have bought into the latest dietary fad and don’t consume dairy — a shift that has hit farmers’ bottom line with as much force as weather patterns and President Trump’s trade war with China.
A fad -- like avocado toast! Maybe Millennials are killing the dairy industry, as they have so much else.

Where's Zito getting this idea of fad diets killing the dairy industry from? Not from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, which shows that between 2016 and 2017, the last two years for which it has data, dairy product consumption went down a mere two pounds per capita -- from 645 to 643 pounds -- while over a ten-year period (2007-2017) consumption of dairy products actually went up 30 pounds per person, 613 to 643 pounds.

Zito may be thinking of fluid milk consumption (no cheese, no yogurt, etc.). Sales of fluid milk are down year-on-year, and down over ten years -- and in fact down since the 1980s, which would be a weird definition of "the latest dietary fad."

Zito may have been relying on a 2018 Fox News story which talked about the drop in milk sales ("Just three decades ago, America was a milk guzzling nation") and cited "more milk substitutes on the market offering less fat and more flavor" and "the medical debate over milk's health value" as factors. I could see how someone might look at that and say, "sure, fad diets are killing the dairy industry, not verkakte trade policies" -- though I can't imagine that same person thinking for more than a few seconds after that, remembering Mexico's recent 10 percent retaliatory hike in its tariff on American cheese, and not thinking better of the idea. But then, maybe that person would have a reason for portraying a big hit to a major American business as the fault of silly almond-milk-slurping hippies.

UPDATE. A reader suggests that William Tabb -- one of Zito's simple sons of the sod in the story  ("Mississippi has been slammed with wet weather since last fall and William Tabb and his wife, Cala, have certainly felt the brunt of it on the 3,000 acres they farm") -- might also be the current Republican farmer-candidate for the state legislature William "Billy" Tabb. But why wouldn't she mention that relevant detail?

Friday, July 12, 2019


Tucker Carlson has been laying the white supremacy on pretty thick lately, focusing on Rep. Ilhan Omar, offering her as proof that "the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country" (i.e., we let in too many darkskins). Even weirder, Carlson got some other creep on his show to pull the old You're the Real Racist bit, claiming that "if she wasn’t a member of Congress, [Omar] would be a member of the KKK."

This is, as we know, based on the aging slur spread by shitheels both low- and high-status, that Omar's opposition to the lobbying group AIPAC is anti-Semitic. Or rather I should say it's not based on it but excused by it, because what obviously animates these guys is not any policy thing (let alone philo-Semitism) but that Omar is -- like their other recent hate-objects such as AOC and Rashida Tlaib, and their more longterm hate objects like Maxine Waters and Frederica Wilson -- an elected female Democrat with some added streak of "otherness" that makes her extra-triggering to conservatives (I almost wrote "of a certain kind" but come on, are there any other kind anymore?).

They'll swear to you that they're not racist, and I do believe they would love to have a reactionary former Muslim like Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Congress on their side. But let's face it, they can't get even Red State voters to go for such people; South Carolina may send a traditional black Republican like Tim Scott to Washington (and Scott has been very careful not to get too exotically rightwing), but the kind of minority conservatives who are up-and-coming now are simply too crazy to overcome those voters' natural racism. Look at my-people-suck characters like Candace Owens -- Johnny Reb might applaud her as Not Like The Others, but would he phone-bank or canvass for her?

I don't think so, but maybe that'll change over time as the conservative movement promotes more overt psychos, and thereby makes the whole movement more psycho. You may have noticed that the Claremont Institute, one of those piss-elegant rightwing think tanks like Peterson or AEI, just gave fellowships to some folks who would, in a simpler time, be instead remanded to mental health treatment facilities, including Mytheos Holt, a longtime rightwing journalistic grifter, and Jack Posobiec, a full-on Pizzagate crackpot.

And of course there was Trump's crazy alt-media summit at the White House this week, at which conspiracy theorists like Mark Dice and vapid fameballs like Joy Vila were invited and offered as a superior alternative to the "fake news" media that practices the dark arts of interviewing, research, and fact-checking. (Remember when conservatives talked about improving the skillset of their journalistic outfits to match those of the MSM? You don't hear much of that anymore.)

At the event the President made some stupid and frankly fascist comments about what and what does not constitute free speech in the banana republic of his dreams. While it apparently does not include any criticism of himself ("To me, free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad"), it does include what the nuts he invited were peddling -- and by the way, their speech is, despite appearances, endangered because some social media companies block users for violating their terms of service, for which those companies may get hit with legislation to force them to carry it because that's how conservatism works, now. This sounds extra obnoxious coming from the Trump but is pretty close to the beliefs of more manicured Republicans like Senator Josh Hawley.

Maybe in the end, like so much else coming from this White House, who gets rights previously thought to be universal really comes down to whether conservatives can easily identify the person claiming rights as one of their own. Here's an example: In an incident at a Denny's in Michigan from last October that was only recently revealed, a bunch of bikers called a party of female black diners by familiar and unambiguous racial slurs, and it is alleged that, rather than ask the slur-slingers to leave, the manager, Patrick Fort,
allegedly responded, “'No, I cannot ask them to leave. It’s a freedom of speech.' When [one of the black women] returned to her table, the manager followed her and, in earshot of the bikers, continued to lecture her about their free speech rights."
The social media summit must have Trump really feeling the vibe, because today he too jumped on Ilhan Omar: "If one-half of the things they're saying about her are true," he said, "she shouldn't even be in office." As whether he means the voters shouldn't have elected her, or whether he means it doesn't matter what they thought, we cannot, as with so many of his burbles, be entirely sure; but we can make an educated guess.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019


Forget that Maidstone shit, hilarious as it may be. The now late Rip Torn was not only Artie, the cut-throat but sentimental producer on The Larry Sanders Show -- so, so many great things about that performance, but this short scene gives you a good idea of the old-school show-biz toughness Torn gave the character -- but he was also a great actor of decades' standing in New York and Hollywood. I remember with special fondness seeing him when I was a teenager doing a pair of comic Chekhov one-acts on PBS with his wife Geraldine Page (their mailbox in the city was labeled "Torn/Page"), "A Marriage Proposal" and "The Bear." In the former he was a wormy suitor, in the latter a rustic boor, and Torn not only put both characters over but made them sexy (having Page to play against helped there, though, and -- it would seem -- for him; it was the first time I'd seen Page act, and I didn't realize for years afterward that she was supposed to be spinsterish).

I am also super-fond of Torn's "Bob Diamond" celestial defense attorney in Albert Brooks' Defending Your Life -- not only for his blustery early scenes, in which he appears to be just handling the poor dumb earthling put in his care, but also and especially for his last scene with Brooks, in which he suddenly shows the empathy that probably saves him. Good acting is largely about winning the audience -- I think it was Edward Herrmann who said that the audience decides in the first 10 minutes whether an actor is worth watching -- but the great ones find a way to surprise you after they've won you, and Torn really accomplished that here; I recall him saying this with what seemed like genuine regret, after Brooks' character learns to his great sorrow that he's being sent back and can't be with the woman with whom he's fallen in love:
Can I say something? Because they're sending you back, doesn't mean they're right. They can make mistakes. Don't let others get to you. Just follow what's in here [taps chest]. Come on. I'll take you to the station.
I remember the scene, but not how few words (and flimsy!) Torn had. He made it feel like a filibuster -- and made me wonder whether or not this glib heavenly soul-shuffling bureaucrat was really so glib after all. When the scene paid off at the end, it was mostly Brooks' scripting, but Torn really lit it up from inside.

Oh, and shout out to Torn in Larry Cohen's The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, and Torn's description of his lifelong feeling for Hoover to his girlfriend in ripe Texas growl: "Like my old man -- you know, kinda stiff!" RIP to a real one.

Thursday, July 04, 2019


This Fourth of July, let's celebrate the true reason for the season -- Bret Stephens' hurt feelings.

You may recall Stephens was ratio'd into the stratosphere on Twitter last week over a column in which he posited Real Americans as those who neither spoke Spanish nor could stand hearing vile Democrats speak it. Later, claiming he was actually just portraying the sentiments of those ordinary Spanish-disdaining Americans (which, in addition to contradicting the plain meaning of what he actually wrote,  was even more offensive), Stephens Twitter-tantrumed, claiming himself a victim of "moral bullying and progressive demagoguery."

You'd think that'd be enough self-embarrassment for one theme, but Stephens has come back for more, and his editors, who must despise him, allow it.
I was walking through an airport terminal trying to catch a connecting flight last Saturday when I spotted a writer I had never met but whose work I admire. He greeted me with a look of fatherly concern: “Sorry about what’s happening to you on Twitter.”
(Tom Clancy is dead, so I assume it was some old Anglo reactionary stirring Stephens' filial sensibilities.)
An hour or so earlier, before catching my previous flight, I’d spotted a tweet from the author Reza Aslan, who had accused me of jumping “out of the white nationalist closet” for a column that attempted to channel the negative way “ordinary people” might have viewed last week’s Democratic debates. I replied that his accusation would be “shameful if it weren’t so stupid.” 
Within minutes, I was being described as a “full on bigot,” “ghoul,” “racist,” and so on. As the retweets piled up into the thousands, I felt like I had been cast in the role of Emmanuel Goldstein in some digital version of Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate.” 
Yes, a ludicrously overpaid New York Times columnist heard unkind words on Twitter, and in consequence has become a famously victimized character in 1984. (Given that Orwell suggested Goldstein may not even exist, I wonder why Stephens didn't pick Winston Smith; maybe because Smith is broken in the end, while Goldstein remains a figure of awe and fear, and what little whiner doesn't dream of being that!)

On and on Stephens goes, declaring this country (I swear to God) "Robespierre’s America" because Colin Kaepernick won't let America walk on flags and James Damore got fired for insulting his colleagues. Maybe he'll move to Hungary or Brazil, where a rightwing man can speak his mind!

This is a reminder that we are all very lucky to live in the real America, where not only can we make fun of buffoons like Stephens, but also buffoons like Stephens are allowed to make ever-greater fools of themselves for our entertainment. So forget Il Douche's stupid theatrics (readers of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down know what I'm talking about!) and revel in our freedoms and the gift of laughter.

Friday, June 28, 2019



  Boy, I hate to keep saying this to you, but go look at my newsletter, I covered the Democratic debates! I covered them good like a real whatchamacallit, a journamalist! Only I'm not a complete bothsider dummy, so you opinionated types might enjoy it more than the chin-stroking of dweebs like David Brooks:
Dems, Please Don’t Drive Me Away
The balls on this guy. If you lose David Brooks, you'll lose Bret Stephens! This could lead to a domino effect in which the Democrats lose Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin and all hell will break loose.
The progressive narrative is dominating in part because progressives these days have a direct and forceful story to tell and no interest in compromising it. It’s dominating because no moderate wants to bear the brunt of progressive fury by opposing it.
"bear the brunt of progressive fury" -- Jesus, these guys are such whiners. Oooh the mean progressive glared at me!
Democrats have caught the catastrophizing virus that inflicts the Trumpian right. They take a good point — that capitalism needs to be reformed to reduce inequality — and they radicalize it so one gets the impression they want to undermine capitalism altogether.
So one should oppose income inequality, but not in such a way that would actually reduce any income inequality. Very Brooksian -- just like him being sort of a Christian, except for the believing in Christ part.
Finally, Democrats aren’t making the most compelling moral case against Donald Trump. They are good at pointing to Trump’s cruelties, especially toward immigrants. They are good at describing the ways he is homophobic and racist. But the rest of the moral case against Trump means hitting him from the right as well as the left.
The fuck? What's worse than baby jails?
A decent society rests on a bed of manners, habits, traditions and institutions...
OOOOOOH GET THA FUCK OUTTA HERE ARE YOU KIDDING? Listen, guys: All these toffee-nosed NeverTrump and JustTheTipTrump idiots are in effect working for Trump. They claim to be offended by his "manners" and "habits," but they love his policies and would love for Democrats to move as close to those policies as possible -- and then still not vote for them because they'll always be too "progressive." I mean if Biden got the nomination (shudder) I guarantee you Brooks will be telling us loyalty is an excellent quality but Biden's misguided support for his buddy Obama's health care program has yoked him to the dangerously radical "pre-existing conditions coverage" model and that's playing right into Trump's hands etc. Fuck these people. Vote your conscience.

Thursday, June 27, 2019


I guess the best endorsement of the first Democrats Half Debate is the heavy scent of desperation in the rightwing headlines that come in its wake. Get a load:

I found this in an email from the Washington Examiner's "Examiner Today, presented by FreedomWorks." I bet next they find bikini pictures. Then accuse her of dyeing that streak. 

From the same email: 

Breibart cries, "MEDIA AGREE: DEMOCRAT DEBATE SHOWS PARTY SHIFT TO FAR LEFT" like they think it's a convincing put-down: Surely the American people will never go for free college, clean water, and universal health care!

You can read my unspooled Twitter commentary, and/or my newsletter post -- which I'm not gonna unlock for nonsubscribers because I do that a lot and I have to save some stuff for the late-night real-people. But I will tell you that I found Bill De Blasio a big deal, not because he has a hope in hell of winning but because he seized the mic and was combative and observably didn't give a shit about the niceties.  I've been saying for months that if Democrats can just use De Blasio's candidacy as a seminar in how well it works to smack Trump around mercilessly, and to bluster back at him when necessary, he will not have run in vain.

Here's lesson one. He needs to fake empathy a little better and not to step on his own climaxes, but this is how to take them to church: DON'T BE AFRAID TO NAME AND SHAME.

Oh, and if you care about racehorse stuff, Booker and Inslee will gain votes and O'Rourke will lose some.

UPDATE. I would be remiss if I did not note that the Examiner's Bufkin is known to this establishment not only for her involvement in the Carroll smear, but also for her work at The Federalist, including the hilarious "The $15 Minimum Wage Is Wreaking Havoc On New York City Dining" and a disquisition as to whether a white lady calling a black lady the n-word is any worse than a white lady calling a white lady the c-word. For a certain kind of writer there are opportunities a-plenty in the rightwing press!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


I've unlocked a newsletter story about one of the more egregious smears on E. Jean Carroll, Trump's latest accuser. A few things particularly piss me off about it -- it's sneaky, for one thing, its couriers counting on the wingnut rag's readership to never look past the hed and lede to find out that it's actually bullshit. But, as I mention in the newsletter story, after a while news outlets don't bother to conceal what Carroll really said about Americans' titillation by rape stories -- having already gotten people to think of her as a nut, they can also portray her other, equally sensible observations as crazy. Look at this from RedState: They quote a tweet about her interview -- "E. Jean Carroll tells @Lawrence that she will not seek rape charges against Donald Trump because it would be 'disrespectful' to women at the boarder [sic] 'who are being raped around the clock'" -- and then scoff:
Aside from the general oddity, that answer places current politics on the forefront of her mind, something you wouldn’t expect from someone in the middle of recounting their own rape.
I expect I don't have to explain to you folks why Carroll's ability to put her assault in context is neither "odd" nor evidence that she wasn't really traumatized -- but RedState isn't making an argument; it's just using shit like spackle to firm up its idiot readers' impression that Carroll is, to avail an old usage, a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty. They don't have to make it look good, which, given their native abilities, must come as a great relief to their editors, such as they are.

Sunday, June 23, 2019


Sorry to trouble you lovely people with another "I thought I could no long be outraged" post, but I made the mistake of reading Rod Dreher this morning. He's been on another fact-finding mission/foodie vacation for a while, delectating his sacramental snacks in England and hanging out with pomposeurs like Roger Scruton. After days of pictures of food and tourist attractions, Brother Rod returns to the states fresh and ready to witchfind. A little kid in Texas (a state which has so disappointed Dreher in the past) apparently likes to sing his songs while wearing a dress and makeup. Dreher, who apparently never saw Dee Snider, flips out ("We have completely lost our moral minds") and then starts yelling about how them there he-shes can get their titties chopped off if they've a mind to, all they got to do is call up a doctor, what-all is happening to his beloved heterosexual America, "We are a sick civilization that deserves to be punished," etc.

I guess Dreher felt as if he needed a better button, and veers into this:
UPDATE: Another, very different but still disgusting way we treat children:
And then he quotes a Times story about the Trump baby jails. That's right -- Dreher is willing to stipulate that kiddie koncentration kamps might be sorta as bad as kids allowed to play dress-up. Of course, after years of "I'm no Trump fan but" posts in which he hints that he'll support Trump anyway because he hates homosexuals, that doesn't mean anything except that he's a coward as well as a bigot.

To add piquancy, here's a tweet from National Review legacy pledge Jonah Goldberg:

Clearly this little boy's family, like the parents of all little boys in skirts, wants grown-ups to fuck him. Man, drag's been mainstream since Lady Bunny; do we really have to wait for the new millennium for these dopes to chill out about it?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Adam Serwer wrote a terrific essay recently about the absurd crazy-conservatives-versus-really-crazy conservatives debate that's been sweeping the unread rightwing web magazines. In it he pointed out that a lot of right-wingers are getting cozy with neo-fascists because they imagine themselves downtrodden because their positions on abortion and gay/trans rights are rejected not only by high-profile liberals but also by voters, which indignity must be answered with a turn away from liberal democracy, which is not delivering the results they desire. "If this is where Ahmari and his cohort are while the GOP still controls the courts, the Senate, and the presidency," says Serwer, "imagine what they’ll be willing to countenance should they lose them."

There's plenty more trenchant stuff in there, and New York Times theocon Ross Douthat has deigned to address one specific paragraph of it for reasons that will become apparent. Here's the Serwer graf:
Black Americans did not abandon liberal democracy because of slavery, Jim Crow, and the systematic destruction of whatever wealth they managed to accumulate; instead they took up arms in two world wars to defend it. Japanese Americans did not reject liberal democracy because of internment or the racist humiliation of Asian exclusion; they risked life and limb to preserve it. Latinos did not abandon liberal democracy because of “Operation Wetback,” or Proposition 187, or because of a man who won a presidential election on the strength of his hostility toward Latino immigrants. Gay, lesbian, and trans Americans did not abandon liberal democracy over decades of discrimination and abandonment in the face of an epidemic. This is, in part, because doing so would be tantamount to giving the state permission to destroy them, a thought so foreign to these defenders of the supposedly endangered religious right that the possibility has not even occurred to them. But it is also because of a peculiar irony of American history: The American creed has no more devoted adherents than those who have been historically denied its promises, and no more fair-weather friends than those who have taken them for granted.
Douthat accepts that minorities had it rough and nonetheless stuck with the liberal order, but suggests -- in a roundabout, plausibly-deniable way -- that this is not a testament to liberalism but to the occasional harsh necessity of civil wars to win rights for underprivileged groups such as blacks and fetuses:
But it is not really true that the crucial turning point in the African-American relationship to America, the abolition of chattel slavery, was accomplished by activists working painstakingly within a system of liberal constitutionalism.
It is possible that it could have been, and that the Civil War was an avoidable tragedy; this was the pious consensus of 50 years ago, which the current occupant of the White House still expresses — usually to progressive derision...
Ho ho ho.
...[The Civil War] was, relative to the status quo ante, a good and necessary thing — but also a stark reminder that our system has advanced morally through effective re-foundings as well as liberal reforms, and that some moral-religious-cultural chasms can be closed only by extra-constitutional events...
After a long space, Douthat mentions that "liberalism has imposed via the judiciary, the least democratic branch, a constitutional right to abortion, a form of lethal violence that the church opposes for the same reasons it opposes infanticide — and after 50 years of small-d democratic activism by pro-lifers, the pro-choice side seems to be hardening into a view that such activism is as un-American as racism." Helter skelter, she's coming down fast!  The John Browns enlisted so far haven't done the job, but give the flame-fanners a chance and we'll see.

Though it may seem rude to say so -- and Douthat really does some energetic distancing in the final stretch; "I am not a post-liberal," as you will see in my upcoming book! -- all this illiberalism hooey is very clearly meant to either intimidate liberals into giving the far right what they want or else inspire radicals to seize it via "extra-constitutional events."

And this is why Douthat tightened his focus: it would take a reasonably intelligent person thirty seconds to grasp what's going on and disapprove of it, so Douthat characterizes that reality as a "complicated, sometimes baffling debate on the right about the relationship between religious conservatives and libertarianism... or maybe the relationship between religious conservatives and Donald Trump... or maybe" etc. so that they don't get those thirty seconds.

And he lays the notion that "religious conservatives are increasingly illiberal and authoritarian" on Serwer, when it is in fact proven by conservatives' own words, from the "Flight 93 election" gibberish of 2016 to the present ravings of Sohrab Ahmari.  One sees this sort of thing constantly in the feeder streams of modern conservatism. This week at the Witherspoon Institute's Public Discourse blog, for example, Justin Dyer explains that, contrary to what the heathens think, "the pursuit of happiness" mentioned in the Declaration of Independence is actually very narrowly defined:
On the day C.S. Lewis died, his last written work was already in press with the Saturday Evening Post. “We have no ‘right to happiness,’” Lewis declared in the essay, by which he meant that we have no moral right to trample the rules of justice to gratify our impulses.
For a certain godly variety of wingnut, what C.S. Lewis says goes. While "some of the principal Founders... held unorthodox religious beliefs," there's no doubt in Dyer's mind that the Declaration "denies... any right to pursue happiness independent of the natural law." See here for some idea of what conservatives means by "natural law," and think about what would happen if the conservatives -- who already think you have too many rights, and that asking for income equality is the height of insolence -- were to thoroughly absorb the idea that what you want is not only unconstitutional but also blasphemous.

Oh, speaking of which -- from Douthat:
And in its internal life, beneath the post-Protestant tendency I’ve just described, progressive politics is also nurturing a fashionable occultism, whose rituals may be practiced somewhat ironically or performatively but whose anti-Catholicism seems quite sincere.
This links to a loony American Interest story about how Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez published her star chart, thus proving that "progressive millennials have appropriated the rhetoric, imagery, and rituals of what was once called the 'New Age.'" The article mentions "the coven of Brooklyn witches who publicly hexed then-Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh," but not Nancy Reagan, nor the observable fact that even the reddest of Trumpkins may be found reading astrology columns, hoarding crystals, and learning the Real Truth about Roswell. I suppose what these guys are really getting at is, cultism is as American as liberal democracy, and both will have to be swept away before we can get back to the feudal state our Founders really intended for us.

Friday, June 14, 2019


Fuck you, I'm old. (18 phone calls to Brazil!)

•  I mean come on:

The comparisons are absurdly weak. For example: "Both women were trailblazers in high-powered legal circles; one attended an Ivy league law school, one taught in an Ivy league law school." Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy; Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln. Also:
Clinton took a lot of grief about implausible claims of being “dead broke” when she left the White House or her Tuzla Dash; Warren gets a lot of grief about her implausible claims of Native American heritage.
Hey, how about that, two politicians accused of dishonesty. It's like they're twins! Eventually Geraghty gets to it:

For women who have risen to the top of national politics, they’ve faced criticism for being tone-deaf about how they’ve handled sensitive issues.

Both have friends and colleagues who insist they are warm and personable in private; both face accusations of being cold and stiff and inauthentic on the campaign trail. (Recall Warren’s beer chat on Instagram.) Both face the criticism that they’re not “likeable,” and both have allies insisting that criticism is sexist.
According to Edroso's Laws of Wingnut Discourse, when "sexism" appears in a National Review article, it will accompany either 1.) a whataboutist complaint that liberals have been mean to the latest Xerox copy of Sarah Palin, or 2.) Hella bald sexism, and sure enough:

Perhaps most significantly, Trump is likely to criticize Warren the way he criticized Clinton — as an elite who enjoyed the benefits of a rigged system. If Warren gets the nomination, we’ll hear a lot of “Pocahontas” jabs, but probably some version of the “Crooked Hillary,” “the queen of corruption,” “Lyin’ Hillary” attacks. Whether you think it’s sexist or not, Trump and his allies are likely to paint Warren as an insufferable know-it-all nag, an academic who thinks she knows how to best manage every detail of your life, condescending and badgering. For at least four years, that persona will be addressing you from the Oval Office, telling you how things are going to change and how it’s for your own good.
Mind you, it's just the Id Monster saying these things, not genial old Jim Geraghty. But bitches, amirite? Nag nag nag! Well, his target audience (assholes) will go for it, and may be comforted that conservatives haven't fucked up so badly that Americans might actually elect a qualified woman.

•  Sorry I ain't been on here much; work's been extra-strength bullshit and non-work ain't so hot either. (That's the breaks, that's the breaks!) But this week we had some unlocked newsletter entries (Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- catch it!™) so please enjoy my DC Pride Weekend post and Jack Dorsey and the night visitors. And subscribe so you don't miss nothin'!

•  BTW I think this point needs making (Tscha, that's what they all say): You may have heard David Neiwert, one of America's top experts in alt-right and neo-fascist propaganda, had his Twitter acount suspended because his book cover, which serves as his Twitter avatar, has a bunch of Klan hoods standing for the stars of the U.S. flag, and Twitter thinks (or pretends to think) that's the sort of hate speech users want to be protected from. I've seen many complaints about this, and the liberals (because only liberals care, the freeze-peach right couldn't give a shit) who have done so either just rag on Twitter for its stupidity or talk about how this shows it's tough for social media to tell commentary from advocacy (which is bullshit, but that's a topic for another day). Whereas when Steven Crowder was not suspended (but his ads for "Socialism is for fags" shirts and other quality merch were blocked) for calling some guy a lispy queer, conservatives got all Patrick Henry for their right to yell slurs on other people's websites. I find it instructive that while liberals, who are supposed to be big-government snowflakes, roll rather calmly with the social media problem, apparently judging it a private commercial matter, the rugged individualists of the right bitch like a bunch of drama queens. Working the refs is in their blood, I guess.

Friday, June 07, 2019


RIP. I saw him once. He was a goodly king.

•   Man, Ben Shapiro is a buffoon. But then, so's every wingnut who screams censorship over social media these days -- including and perhaps especially those who are saying oho so you wanted Nazis off YouTube well they're taking Leni Riefenstahl off what about that libtards? Two things: First, Riefenstahl is absurdly overrated -- basically a music video director avant la lettre, fuck her. Second, Nobody has a Constitutional right to have whatever they want posted on YouTube; if these people want Nazi shit to look at they can go buy a server and gaze to their hearts' content. The general stupidity on this shit is so glaring even David French sees it and that's a pretty low bar. (Though to be fair French really botches the landing, proposing as a solution that "Just as conservatives need to send philosophers into Stanford, we also need to send our programmers into Menlo Park and our entrepreneurs to San Jose" -- like, one, there aren't plenty of "libertarian"conservatives in tech already, and two, if these guys really want to succeed they're not going to push the highly unpopular theocratic nonsense French favors -- they'll push cat videos. That's capitalism, comrade!)

•   Hey it's the weekend, so how about I unlock another newsletter issue? This one's about where all that conservative debate between Crazy Team One and Crazy Team Two is really all about. "Enjoy"!

Wednesday, June 05, 2019


Cue The Odd Couple theme:

At (Who Funds) The Federalist, Brad Todd -- seriously, his real name? You sure it's not Todd Brad? --  sings the praises of Senator Niedermeyer, the latest Jesus and Tax Cuts GOP laboratory vat creation, and unkillable Medicare fraud monster Rick Scott. And oh, what a song stylist Todd is! Pipe the lede:
The heat and light given off by the nuclear grind between President Trump and his antagonists have blinded Washington’s chroniclers to something important happening right before their eyes. The fusion of populism and conservatism as a workable and ideological political movement is emerging in the actions of two newly elected senators: Josh Hawley and Rick Scott.
What is it that nuclear power plants grind? Also, what's the difference between a political ideological movement and an ideological political movement? Ugh, we better skip down:
Scott, a self-made health-care CEO who built the nation’s largest hospital corporation...
Ha ha, that's one way to put it!
... zeroed in on the crisis of drug pricing. His proposal to outlaw any U.S. drug price that is higher than the price for the same medicine overseas fuses the twin populist urges of corporate accountability and nationalism. The novelty of Scott’s proposal is that it uses the profit motive to achieve an end Democrats have sought only through socialistic means.
Because if there's one way to stop socialism, it's price controls. (No capitalist need worry -- Scott's plan closely follows that of Alex Azar, Trump's head of HHS and former CEO of Eli Lilly U.S. As the New York Times asked when he was confirmed, "He Raised Drug Prices at Eli Lilly. Can He Lower Them for the U.S.?" and the answer is of course LOL -- this is just bullshit for the rubes and if you told a red state farmer with a MAGA cap who Azar was, he'd say the same.)

But I would say that, as a damned liberal -- and so, says Todd Brad or Brad Todd, would so-called conservatives who haven't climbed aboard the Trump Train:
Scott’s proposal has been quickly written off by conservative D.C. think tanks and organizations long pickled by the cocktails poured liberally at corporate fundraising receptions. 
Those corporate liberal cocktail parties!
But it will be an enduring home run among the Trumpist majority in today’s GOP—a group that is every bit as skeptical of corporate oligopoly and multi-national monopolists as it is of domestic government overreach.
Because if there's one thing Trump hates it's oligarchs. Meanwhile Hawley, ToddBradTodd tells us, is "waging a similar battle against conservatives’ neglect of Big Tech" -- that is, he's hooked up with the wingnuts who are mad that private companies won't let them dominate their platforms. And if you don't agree with that, Brodd Tadd tells us, it's because you're trad, dad:
The generation of political Republicans already in office before the development of the smartphone still requires their grandchildren’s assistance to toggle between the satellite dish and the DVR, so it’s no wonder those old pachyderms have had no coherent policy approach to the rise of Silicon Valley’s abusive power.
Josh Hawley's the young, hip kind of theocrat creep who's bound to appeal to hypothetical young people who think like Roy Moore.

But the best part is the button -- take it away, The Federalist:
Todd is the co-author of "The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics," and co-founder of OnMessage Inc., a leading Republican firm that has advised Sens. Rick Scott and Josh Hawley among others. [emphasis added]
Here's to Pat Boone "youth" candidates, ancient Florida Man fraudsters and, most of all, self-dealing con men who manage to sneak their client blowjobs into what the uninitiated probably think is a legitimate political web magazine.

Friday, May 31, 2019


R.I.P. He always gave a song its due.

•  I have unlocked today's newsletter issue (for those of you who for some reason haven't gotten around to subscribing). It's partly about the ridiculous Sohrab Ahmari-David French contretemps -- and when I say ridiculous I mean it on a variety of levels. (Short vs. here.) A number of famous wingnut have stepped in it, including Godly Rod Dreher. I won't attempt to encapsulate his entire 343,000-word essay. but feel I must reproduce this wonderful, thoroughly Dreherian tangent on how he's No Trump Fan But:
French can’t stand Donald Trump, and that seems to be at the core of Ahmari’s ire. French was one of those conservatives who regarded Trump as a betrayal of core principles of conservatism. For his views, French — the adoptive father of a black child — had to endure a torrent of spite from Trump fans that can only be described as satanic. That is important to keep in mind. Personally, I’ve come to think more favorably of Trump than I once did, both because of judicial appointments and because of the raging radicalism of the left, but I think in no way can Trump be rightly understood as an advocate for the restoration of Christian morality in the public sphere. Trump is a symptom of our decline, not the answer to it. Mind you, I can understand traditional Christians voting for Trump as the only realistic alternative to annihilation by the angry left — I might do what I didn’t do in 2016, which is to vote for him — but I can’t understand trying to convince ourselves that he is a good man.
Oh crumbs, Mary, just put on the hat and yell Lock Her Up already!

Friday, May 24, 2019


"Let's get it straight girl you don't need a nigga fo' nuttin'/Lookin' better every day,
you got that Benjamin Button." You have to admire the craft.

•   I am unlocking yet another edition of my newsletter (Subscribe! Cheap! ™) for you good people. This is one of my semi-regular "This is Hardcore" features based on those rightwing stories aimed via emails with names like The Patriot Chronicles and Three-Percenter Nation at your senile father or grandfather. This edition is special, though, because it's devoted to Justin Amash and how he became a pariah by turning on Trump in the matter of impeachment. So far his few rightwing defenders are mostly usedtabees who put down anti-Trump markers long ago and smell a return on investment -- you know, guys like W. James Antle III, late of Billy Kristol's Flying Dutchman. But most of the brethren stick to the script. At TownHall Beth Baumann tells us that "conservative pundits, however, seemed to have mixed reaction to Amash's take on the situation," but after that she reproduces nothing but attacks on Amash, ranging from dumb slurs ("Justin Amash was off his rocker long before his attention-seeking comments") to the-evidence-is-insufficient harrumph-harrumphs (among the latter, hilariously: Michael Tracey!). But these are mostly tweets -- for the real quality analysis, let's go to Stephen Kruiser at PJ Media:
In case you missed it last weekend, everybody's favorite Trump-hating Republican not named Mitt Romney was busy having a Twitter bonding moment with House Democrats... 
Amash then went on a snoozefest of a Twitter rant about why, in his legal opinion, the party he doesn't belong to is right. 
He not only let his daddy issues be manifested in his Trump hate, but he worked them out with plenty of bad things to say about Attorney General Bob Barr too. 
With friends like this, who needs Democrats?
I have to say, for righteous defenders of principle, they sure do sound like whining little bitches.

•   Lotta "oh you liberals are for equality but what about liberals who are rich" stuff out here these days. Bernie and Liz must be getting to the wingnuts! Here's supergenius Kevin D. Williamson at National Review:
[Actress] Jessica Chastain, who sometimes lectures the world about “wage equality” while making films financed by the money billionaire tech tycoon Larry Ellison gives his kids, has purchased a lovely new home off Central Park for about $9 million. 
On the Upper West Side, some animals are more equal than others.
Jeffrey Goldberg must be kicking himself. Meanwhile at The Fetalist -- er, sorry, The Federalist -- Libby Emmons has a fake-woke shtick: When middle-class working moms hire poor immigrant working moms to take care of their kids, that's bad for the poor immigrant working moms' own kids (who should be separated from their parents by immigration officials, not just because some liberal mothers want to find "fulfillment" or "enough money to leave their asshole husbands"). Ha ha, you liberals are The Real ™ imperialists! You'll be surprised to learn the answer to this dilemma is not socialist stuff like child care programs or living wages:
While leftist women in the West push for less family structure and more centralized child support, they disrupt not only their own families but also families around the world.... 
If American women want equality, it must be global equality. We can’t gain our freedom by exploiting those who are willing to trade it for their children’s future. A better answer than increasing outsourced child care is to make it more possible for women to mother their own children. Women should stop demanding liberation from motherhood, and everyone should acknowledge motherhood’s importance to society.
You broke it, you bought it, ladies, so stay at home with your brats like you deserve and leave these poor mamacitas to live in dignified if extreme poverty back home with theirs! Everybody loses except capitalism, which is what conservatism is all about.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


I sense the conservative elite (which is probably the wrong word, considering their lack of elite characteristics like education and professional training) is a little nervous about the wack-ass abortion laws coming out of the Bible Belt. They're not less insane on the issue, mind -- just worried that actually bulling this shit through might be a little rough on their election prospects. Even Rod Dreher, a fetus-hugger if ever there was one, counsels the brethren follow Ramesh Ponnuru's go-slow advice: "I think he makes a strong point about the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that the pro-life movement has miscalculated by rejecting incrementalism at this stage," says Dreher -- the bolding is presumably meant to tip off his God Squad that this is a tactical matter and when the time is right they can unleash Gilead.

To leaven their impatience, Dreher does give his fans a taste of that old-time psychosis, claiming the destruction of in-vitro fertilization blobs is also murder -- "IVF is widely used by Christians, and a consistent, logical pro-life position would outlaw it" -- and that his co-religionists only fail to wave signs with grisly pictures of discarded petri dishes because rich people do IVF. Of course, Dreher also says "I don’t think the inconsistency of the Alabama law can be honestly chalked up to a desire to 'control women’s bodies,'" so we can discount his testimony.

At The Federalist, however, moderation is treason, they can't stop/won't stop -- Georgi Boorman and James Silberman:
3 Negative Consequences From Not Prosecuting Parents For Obtaining Abortions
Guess no one told them ix-nay on the ilead-Gay. In another Federalist story, author Lew Jan Olowski laughs -- laughs, I tell you! -- at the baby-murdering Washington Post, "Washington Post Publishes Abortion Article So Stupid You Won’t Believe It." Already I am crying with amusement! Key graf:
The headline says it all: “If a fetus is a person, it should get child support, due process and citizenship.” Why, yes, it should; this is a commonly held view among pro-life Americans. But the author apparently doesn’t know that. Nor, apparently, do any of her editors.
He sure showed us! My question is, does Citizen Fetus have the vote? And how does it make its preference known? One kick for yes, two for no? Or does its pastor vote on its behalf?

Friday, May 17, 2019


Well God tole Noah.
(If you want something more down-home, Flora Molton has what you want.)

•   I am opening today's newsletter edition (Subscribe! Cheap!) about how conservatives aren't even trying to win hearts and minds on abortion anymore -- now that the fix seems to be in, they mostly ululate prayers for the defeat of the heathen majority of Americans that don't want it banned; maybe that was always who they were, but I talk about why their Jesus-freak flag is flying more than previous. Since then more ripe specimens have come in, like this Federalist column by Liz Wolfe, who does the usual "Jesus and Science Say Abortion is Murder" bit but adds a great twist where she talks about her "friends" who "open up to me about their abortions" and how they're murdering sluts:
When I talk about abortion with people I care about, I feel a sense of resigned sadness and the weight of deep depravity... 
My compassion does begin to run out, though, when I see these people—people I respect, people I value—spout what can generously be described as marketing, perhaps more appropriately called propaganda. There’s something deeply broken with our minds if we can’t muster even a morsel of intellectual honesty to properly represent the views of the other side... 
I can absolutely disrespect somebody for doing what I see as killing a fetus, a distinct being who is innocent and worthy of life and protection. I will not treat her poorly; I will not say they are beyond the pale or unable to seek forgiveness. But I don’t have to respect somebody for doing something I consider heinous.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Either these liberal friends are made up, or have extremely low self-esteem.

•   I have a lot of friends back home who hate Bill De Blasio because he's a trimmer who promised much, much more than he has provided as mayor, particularly on housing policy. Steve Wishnia's your man for that case. (The subways I think we can safely blame on that asshole Cuomo.) Nonetheless BDB did stop stop-and-frisk and, despite the dire predictions of City Journal types, NYC continued and continues to enjoy falling crime rates -- which, now that De Blasio's running for president, all wingnuts from Trump on down lie about because they know their hayseed constituents believe Big Cities Is F'um the Devil and would only go there if they could sneak in a sidearm and do Death Wish on insolent black people. Well, I'm stuck out here in DeeCee with the Greenpoint blues again so it's none of my business, but apart from the wingnut lie eruptions he engenders I see one silver lining to BDB's hopeless campaign: He treats Trump like the pig he is, which no doubt feeds the dummies' rage and may give a few of them strokes. If some of the other candidates can learn a little more aggression from him, it will have been worth it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


War fans are going all-in for the big win in Iran. Neocon nest Commentary enlists Noah Rothman to tell the world: Actually you libtards are over-reacting because Trump's a peacenik. Rothman's a good choice for this gig because he was about eight years old during the Iraq War so he doesn't have a long, embarrassing paper trail, though he has more than made up for it in embarrassment with Hillary the Hawk columns, weird second-hand Iraq War nostalgia, pimping for war in Syria, etc.
It is no secret that this administration supports regime change in Iran. Indeed, if we were to judge by the rolling protests that have crippled the Islamic Republic over the last two years, that sentiment is not native only to the Trump White House.
Oh my god, it's the Twitter Green Revolution all over again! (Give Rothman credit for balls: the chairbornes just saw their Venezuelan coup go down in flames, yet there's no shame in his game.) Rothman says of course Trump's not interested in war, he just put in sanctions and the famously patient president knows they need time to cook:
...The White House recently imposed sanctions on Iran’s steel, aluminum, copper, and iron industries. These sanctions, which followed Iran’s decision to follow America’s lead and partially withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accords, are aimed at Iran’s blue-collar workers -- the backbone of the Iranian regime’s popular support.
Blue-collar workers? Why aren't we cheering Hassan Rouhani as a populist?
...If the White House is to be believed...
Big fucking if.
...outright hostilities between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic would derail these efforts. Indeed, war would only serve Tehran’s interests.
He's got a point; we did run sanctions against Iraq for 13 years before we decided to invade, so maybe Trump's leaving that for the Honey Boo-Boo administration.
...You don’t have to take the White House’s word for it. On Monday, the White House got the casus belli it is supposedly spoiling for. According to the U.S. assessment, Iran or its proxy forces were responsible for an assault on two Saudi oil tankers, a United Arab Emirates tanker, and a Norwegian-flagged vessel anchored in UAE waters.
The U.S. assessment! [Snaps notebook shut] That's good enough for me.

Rothman concludes that liberals are too childish to see his logic: "They much prefer a simpler narrative in which the tyrannical and terroristic Iranian regime is the victim—all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding." Here again give Rothman credit: It takes a certain amount of skill to convey pessimism that your preferred war will start while simultaneously preparing the "objectively pro-Rouhani" slur for when it does.