Friday, September 06, 2019


These guys are hot shit.

•   I thought Jim Geraghty's earlier version at National Review was embarrassing but Jesus Christ, Rich Lowry's "Five Things They Don’t Tell You about Slavery" is even worse. As with all these rightwing responses to the New York Times' 1619 Project, there's a pro forma of-course-slavery-was-bad preface followed by excuses and mitigating circumstances. Get a load:
1. Through much of human history, slavery was ubiquitous and unquestioned
Slavery wasn’t the exception in human history; it was the norm. The “perennial institution,” as historian Seymour Drescher calls it, was an accepted feature of the ancient world, from ancient Egypt to Greece to Rome, and of traditional societies... 
The United States ended slavery too late (again, Britain is a better model). But let’s not forget how long the slave trade, ended in 1808 in the United States, lasted elsewhere...
Like it's Genocide Musical Chairs. (Also, when they stopped the legal importation of slaves in 1808, the practice was already at a low ebb, and slavers got very efficient about breeding new ones.)
3. Islam was a great conveyor belt of slavery...
Certainly, while slavery was in eclipse in the rest of Europe, it had a new vitality on the Muslim-occupied Iberian peninsula, with Muslims and Christians both engaged in the practice... 
“By the fifteenth century,” historian James Sweet notes, “many Iberian Christians had internalized the racist attitudes of the Muslims and were applying them to the increasing flow of African slaves to their part of the world...
But Mom! Mohammed made us racist slavers!
One would think that there would be more attention paid to the Muslim world’s contribution to race-based slavery, but since it doesn’t offer any opportunity for Western self-reproach, it’s mostly ignored.
Lowry can't even stick to his polite premise, and spasms into the querulous bitter-ender position that people only bring up slavery because they hate America.
None of the other societies tainted by slavery produced the Declaration of Independence, a Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton, the U.S. Constitution, or a tradition of liberty that inspired people around the world for centuries. If we don’t keep that in mind, as well as the broader context of slavery, we aren’t giving this country — or history — its due.
I'm trying to imagine a somewhat conservative German magazine -- Focus, maybe -- running an article like this about the Third Reich. "People were anti-Semitic before Hitler, you know!" "We had a lot of help from Italy and Japan." "Well, in the end we gave the world the printing press, the modern public school system, and the Alienation Effect, so take that into consideration."

National Review began as a segregationist rag and the only thing that's changed is the effort they put into hiding it.

•   Oh BTW I've unlocked another edition of the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter, all about what we can expect if other parts of ol' Joe Biden start breaking down on stage. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 05, 2019


Every once is a while the NeverTrumpers and JustTheTipTrumpers tell us how they're gonna revive conservatism, by God. And today Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner makes a bold choice:
It's time to create a conservative ecosystem that doesn't welcome racists 
Liberal commentators will always say conservatives are just a bunch of racists. This is a lie. But conservatives need to do a better job convincing the racists that it's a lie.

Carney has read Hannah Gais' (excellent) investigative report at Splinter on rightwing orgs (the Institute for Humane Studies,  the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Daily Caller) that somehow found themselves harboring a bunch of garden-variety racists.

Carney cannot turn away, and after his initial "horror that otherwise sane-seeming people in the United States hold Hitlerian views," he says he has as a "third reaction" this sentiment: "Great, now liberals are going to paint everyone who’s gone through IHS, ISI, or the Daily Caller as racists."

Late as it comes, this emotion animates the rest of Carney's article. Being a true conservative, he is obsessed with his movement's unjust treatment at the hands of liberals; "Snide liberals will chuckle and say something like, 'Because conservatism is racism,'" he mopes, but conservatives must do something to discourage this unaccountable incursion of white nationalists into conservatism even though "none of this will stop the bad-faith or hate-filled folks on the Left from calling us all bigots in the pages of Bloomberg News or the Washington Post."

(Bloomberg News is a recent addition to the rightwing hit-list, owing to one of their reporters forwarding a smart-alecky online post from one of Trump's Labor department appointees, made in reaction to an anti-Semite, to his boss for comment; the boss, irony-challenged, apparently got the appointee to quit, and every wingnut in Christendom blamed the reporter instead of the administration. The appointee has been fully restored.)

Carney gives a brief sermon about how black people have it rough in this country -- though, he assures his readers, this knowledge "doesn’t require one to declare that whites are all vile racists or oppressors. It doesn’t require agreeing that the U.S. is fundamentally a white supremacist nation." Nonetheless one can imagine the punters drifting away; they're reading the Washington Examiner, after all, and we can imagine for such people the plight of African Americans is way down the list.

But Carney makes it up to you by the end: After sermonizing "first, that all humans are created equal (the official teaching of the U.S. founders and all Abrahamic religions), and second, that blacks and Hispanics have far worse outcomes in the U.S.," he says,
If both of these premises are true — and they are — then things in the U.S. still aren’t fair and can be improved. And if the game is rigged so badly in the U.S. that thousands of young men are shot on the streets of Chicago, that tens of thousands of black babies are aborted every year, that hundreds of thousands are born out of wedlock, then isn’t that a crisis that deserves attention?
Chicago murder! Black babies aborted! Broken families! -- it's Wingnut Race Bingo! And Carney's congregants may file out, secure in the knowledge that nothing need change -- though it may behoove them to make an occasional pretense of concern for the darkskins before flocking to the next Trump rally. If only all their problems were so easy to solve!

Monday, September 02, 2019


I was doing another of my This is Hardcore installments for my award-winning* newsletter Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, to which you should all be subscribed**. These are roundups of crazy shit from emails sent around to aged wingnuts in hopes that they'll click through buy gold or at least download malware. I try to keep these light, which is why I ported this one over here instead: From a site called Steadfast and Loyal, this is from "CASES OF THE MUMPS EXPLODE IN DETENTION CENTERS FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS":
Illegal Alien Detention Centers in 19 states are reporting an unusually high number of mumps cases. 
There has been an alarming number of cases of various diseases that have accompanied illegal aliens into this country, including diseases that had previously been eradicated in the United States. One illegal crossing into the United States through New Mexico had a flesh-eating disease and Ebola is a huge fear also.
The "flesh-eating disease" is neither identified nor linked to a reputable source, so I guess he means this guy -- though you certainly don't need an immigrant to get flesh-eating disease in this country.  And "Ebola is a huge fear" means about as much as "A flyer saucer might come down and scoop everybody up, you never know." (It's in this story, no doubt, because any hint of Ebola is a reliable terror tactic for conservatives.)

But you could read the entire wretched thing and have no clue that the Trump administration has been absurdly, willfully negligent of the health of its concentration camp internees -- not providing basic sanitation and refusing to vaccinate them against the flu despite placing them in crowded, filthy conditions that spread disease, etc. And the mumps thing is part of the package, as is reported by BuzzFeed (not the Fox News bullshit Steadfast and Loyal uses):
Outbreaks of infectious diseases are not uncommon in detention centers, “given the fact that not all folks have access to vaccines in their home country and often don’t have access to vaccines/routine medical care in the US,” [an infectious disease expert] said.
But attorneys for immigrants, public health experts, and advocates are concerned that the current conditions in detention facilities are creating an environment unusually ripe for infectious diseases to spread. In June, a Department of Homeland Security watchdog report found “unsafe and unhealthy” conditions in four ICE detention facilities, including “inadequate medical care,” “expired food,” “dilapidated and moldy” bathrooms, and a lack of clothing and hygiene items.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a protocol for refugees and immigrants that includes obtaining "proof of immunity" from mumps and, if it's not obtainable, vaccinating the subject. But they do a lot of shit that's not in the protocol at Trump's camps.

To what does S&L attribute the pestilence?
During the Obama administration, they quit doing medical checks on illegals in order to avoid having to release information on diseases brought into the country.
There is no citation for this and this is very much at variance with the administration's performance and planned reforms -- that is to say, it's bullshit. (Conservatives have a habit of lying about this.)

But for the target audience (dotards and assholes), so what? Furriners is dirty, especially the dark-skinned ones, and that's why patriots keep tubs of hand sanitizer within reach at all times, and consume the mental and moral equivalent of it at sites like Steadfast and Loyal.

* I made myself an award out of paper clips painted gold and a gold foil chocolate coin. I'm so ashamed.
** That reminds me,. I haven't put up a FREE newsletter story for a while. So here's a freebie that's sorta political, and here's a freebie that's sorta not. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Look, I know you can open Rod Dreher's blog at The American Conservative any day of the week and get some yuks, but this new item is particularly ridic. As often, it's about how some institution is being destroyed from the inside by political correctness -- in this case, medical school.

How is it being destroyed, you ask? Are students being forced to alter prescriptions to benefit black patients? Is every tenth surgery patient to get forced gender reassignment?

No -- some pictures of white guys are being taken down at some med schools.
If it’s [any day of the week], our Very Woke Media is going to find some new way of telling the story about how white people, especially white male people, are the worst people in the world, and need to be Otherized for the common good. Yesterday it was NPR, bringing to us this “health news,” as they call it.
NPR quotes Leslie Vosshall, a neurobiologist with Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, on the 100%-male portraits of Lasker- and Nobel-winning scientists hanging in a university auditorium: "It's probably 30 headshots of 30 men. So it's imposing... I think every institution needs to go out into the hallway and ask, 'What kind of message are we sending?'"

Sputters Dreher:
Leslie Vosshall is in most respects vastly more intelligent than I am, but she is a racist, sexist nitwit. What kind of crazy person looks at portraits of a medical school’s Nobel Prize winners and other alumni who have great achievements to their name, and only sees … white men. Who are (therefore) bad people who need to be erased from public life and the institution’s memory?
The Vosshall bitch maybe knows about so-called "science" and "medicine" but by God Rod Dreher knows when white men are getting erased! Plus they got a black guy complaining about his representation! Jesus Christ, what is this, Hitler's "Woke" Germany?

Dreher also relies on this Twitter spin on the traditional Dreher Letters to Penthouse for backup:

"Afraid to say openly" yeah, I bet that means they said "who gives a shit" and Flier said "Gasp! So they got to you, too??" Do check the responses to that tweet -- many female students and MDs kick this guy's ass. And note especially this exchange:

But Dreher totally buys it:
“Afraid to say openly” — because they’re intimidated by the commissars. I keep hearing this, over and over: that people see injustices like this, and they hate it, but they keep their mouths shut because they’re afraid. Guess what, people: this is how bigotry and oppression takes root. In part because of your cowardly silence.
He gabbles on ("Liar. Bigot.") and finally gets to a doozy of a oh-yeah-what-if-it-was-black-people bit:
Let’s say we were talking about the Berklee School of Music, and most of the high-achieving graduates in jazz in the school’s history were black men. If there were a move to remove or relocate portraits of those men because it would make white students feel unwelcome or ill at ease, we would know exactly what was going on here: a racist attempt to deny history, and human achievement. But in this case it’s happening to white males, who, in the eyes of American elites, are demons.
There will be a terrible price to pay for this, you progressive trolls.
Wait'll he finds out there's no picture of Kenny G at Berklee.

UPDATE. Commenters make the excellent point that nowhere in the story is it confirmed that the palefaces will disappear -- Voshall is "redesigning that wall of portraits at Rockefeller University, to add more diversity." Some are just being moved, or integrated, as it were, with portraits of women and people of color. ("We really want to emphasize that we're not trying to erase our history," says a student at the University of Michigan. "We're proud of the people who have brought us to where we are today as a department. But we also want to show that we have a diverse and inclusive department.") Commenter Mortimer2000 notes a Boston Globe story in which some of the living subjects say it's cool with them if their portraits at Brigham and Women's are moved. Ah, but that's only because they fear the PC po-po, no doubt!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Wayne Allyn Root write ups are going to be one of those periodic moments where we get to see which reporters will cite RWW for research we did and which ones will pretend they unearthed it all on their own -- Jared Holt
I hear you, bro. Right Wing Watch is always on top of these nutsos and their voluminous coverage of the former Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate -- whose most recent self-embarrassment,  his gross "King of Israel" tribute to Trump, which Trump, susceptible as he is to suck-ups, has promoted -- is no exception.

I myself have noted Root's shenanigans over the years -- not in the painstaking way RWW has, but merely as an observer on many occasions when Root was being the rowdiest guest at some crackpot do. There was that time when Chief Justice John Roberts failed to overturn Obamacare and Root suggested he had been blackmailed into it; his insistence, in the middle of Obama's first term, that all his "small business friends" were going to stop hiring entirely ("in this new Obama world of high business taxes... the key to success is to avoid employees") or leave the country and then boy would America be sorry; predicting "Christians Will Empower A Romney Landslide" in 2012 and, when that didn't work, trying to get Obama jailed ("Forget impeachment, it’s time for criminal prosecution"), etc. Haven't noticed him much in the Trump era, though he seems to have maintained the same level of intensity right up to the present (here's one from June where he says libtard American cities are all like Venezuela, and get a load of this).

But Root's not the only conservative who has come to Trump's defense after his incredible statement about the "disloyalty" of Jews who didn't support him and his follow-up gibbers. "MSNBC Panel Tries to Memory Hole Dem Anti-Semitism in Denouncing Trump’s Comments," Newsbusters cries. The tricksy Dems are using the President's plainly anti-Semitic remarks to distract America from the usual Republican smears of dark-skinned Democrats!

Then there are those who straight-up agree with Trump: "'I AM A PROUD JEWISH PERSON', SAYS BERNIE SANDERS WHO PALS AROUND WITH ANTI-SEMITES," rants FrontPage magazine's Daniel Greenfield, waving his Bad Jew detector. Inevitably there are the Insult Jews To Own The Libs takes like "The Morning Briefing: Trump Triggers the Israel Haters" from Stephen Kruiser at PJ Media:
The Democrats have a number of voting blocs they rely on and no one is ever supposed to question why any of them keep voting the way they do. I am a practicing Roman Catholic and I don't understand how millions of other Catholics can vote for politicians who belong to a party that is now positively gleeful about abortion.
I don't know what would make that Catholic thing worse worse for Kruiser -- if he hasn't spent the ten seconds it would take a normal person to figure it out, or if he has.

The modern conservative movement isn't even irritable mental gestures anymore, as Trilling had it; it's more like irritable bowel syndrome.

Friday, August 16, 2019


Just because it's nice and musicianly
doesn't mean I can't like it.

• I have released into the wild a new issue of Roy Edroso Break It Down so non-subscribers can see it. It is about some great new candidates the Republican Party is offering for Congress in 2020. It is inspried by all the new Republican candidates who are totally nuts, like this guy, and these guys, and this lady and oh why go on, just read my thing it's fun.

• I was seriously wondering why Noah Rothman, mainly known to me as a typical commentary asshole, was trending on Twitter like he was Cardi B or something, and found to my amusement that he is a frequent guest on Morning Joe and that everyone hates him. Further reading suggests his latest offense was complaining about Democrats invoking Michael Brown and Ferguson because it is now part of wingnut catechism that Brown deserved to be killed by that cop and that the Real Outrage is Democrats "lying" that it wasn't a good clean kill. There are plenty of examples, but see David French's "On Ferguson, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris Told a Terrible Lie" for a particularly repulsive specimen, featuring this humdinger: "The publication of a false accusation of a crime like murder is libelous under American law. In other words, their lies may well have been illegal." That's pretty rich coming from a theocon crackpot like French, who is also the author of "Is It Uncivil to Argue That Abortion Kills a Baby?" (Calling a quarter of all American women murderers is cool, apparently, but calling the killing of an unarmed black kid murder is criminal libel.)

When I was younger I used to worry whether I was being fair even to conservatives, and might have entertained their bad-faith, angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin discussions about shit like this,  but frankly? Them days is gone.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


"Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge." -- Ken Cuccinelli rewrite of the Statue of Liberty poem.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to bust unions, have appointed me, Jeffrey Epstein's buddy, to run the Department of Labor" -- Preamble of the Constitution as rewritten by Alex Acosta.

"I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me a cabinet post I'm totally unsuited for, or give my son opportunities to grift -- preferably both!"-- Patrick Henry as rewritten by Ben Carson.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal except spics and bitches, when's lunch?" -- Declaration of Independence as rewritten by Donald Trump.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


Famed pedophile, celebrity panderer and Trump buddy Jeffrey Epstein manages to commit suicide despite being under suicide watch in a federal facility run by Trump's Attorney General Bob Barr, son of the man who hired (maybe, see Update) the massively unqualified Epstein to teach at the Dalton School.

The big hashtag on Twitter right now is #ClintonBodyCount, and the notion that Hillary killed Epstein is being pushed by at least one Trump official (that is, under her own name, rather than via bots).

I've written about conservatives' weird idée fixe that Hillary Clinton is a mass murderer* but really there's hardly a point to reexamining it anymore; it's wingnut catechism, and as even more bizarre ideas like Pizzagate enter that catechism the original idée gets more fixe; in fact, since whole new generations of wingnut have come up since the madness began in the 90s, its adherents probably have no clear idea of its origins -- why, they probably don't even know who Wayne DuMond is! And they certainly don't know that the crackpot attribution of Vince Foster's suicide to Clinton was promoted by the Wall Street Journal as a propaganda strategy rather than as investigative reporting.

Outside crazytown, there's still some hope justice may be done; but for a certain dank, small slice of the electorate it's too late to avenge the con job to which they've succumbed -- we just have to write them off, leave them to disappear up the asshole of Q-ism, and rebuild.

* I refer to the vengeance and witness-tampering murders for which she is held liable by nuts, and of course the Benghazi bullshit, not her bombing decisions as Secretary of State, of which she is of course guilty as hell.

UPDATE. To be fair -- yeah, I know, but I'm soft-hearted that way -- Barr Sr. announced his resignation in February '74 and Epstein started teaching that summer, so the Times says it's "unclear" whether Barr okayed the hire or not. Barr did stay on at Dalton for the rest of the year, so it could have gone either way.

Friday, August 09, 2019


As I mentioned to readers of my newsletter (Subscribe! Cheap!) this morning, Rod Dreher is raging that a screenplay for The Hunt, apparently an upcoming The Most Dangerous Game ripoff in which people are kidnapped and hunted as prey, shows the hunters in the film referring to the hunted as "deplorables," which Dreher, following the age-old conservative formula of judging movies they haven't seen by their collateral materials, took as an assault by Hollywood on conservatives. Other rightwingers have picked up the cry, and Fox suggests that Trump was talking about this during his latest brain-fart about Hollywood, even though he didn't mention the movie and in fact referred to Hollywood's "racism," which seems not to be a factor in The Hunt.

Snopes is, as you would expect, more cautious about the alleged connection and more sensible overall:
However, the ideology and political affiliation of the characters who hunt and kill what appear to be working-class people from largely rural areas remains unclear, despite the aforementioned websites’ repeated and emphatic descriptions of them as “liberal” and “left-wing” elites. Notwithstanding the context of a fictional horror movie, it should be unnecessary to point out that hunting human beings for sport has never been a tenet of Enlightenment liberalism or modern-day American progressivism. 
Equally, it should be obvious to any mature consumer of culture that a movie that portrays wealthy psychopaths paying to hunt and kill other human beings is not likely to reflect well on the wealthy psychopaths, despite PJ Media’s claim that “The Hunt” actually “promotes violence against ‘deplorables.'”
(Snopes is referring to this dumb Matt Margolis PJ Media thing, which cites the Steve Scalise shooting as evidence of liberal bloodthist.) "It should be unnecessary to point out" are of course famous last words in the bad-faith festival that is modern conservative discourse. In fact Dreher seems to understand that the film's intentions are as yet unknown, but spreads his paranoia capaciously enough that no matter what it turns out to be, he can still be one outraged JustTheTip Trumper:
If you watch the trailer, it’s clear that the liberal elites — talk about your armed Social Justice Warriors! — are not portrayed as good. Still, what the hell could NBC Universal be thinking? They are treating the hunting down and murdering of white conservatives because they are white conservatives as entertainment. Or, more neutrally, they are presenting political mass murder as sport. For all we know, this movie will make the Red Staters out to be heroes. That’s beside the point. In a time of deep and rage-filled political division in this country, in which unhinged people are committing politically-motivated mass murders, this is insanely irresponsible. You cannot convince me that this isn’t an example of wish fulfillment on the part of the Hollywood executives making this movie. 
Universal is stirring up and exploiting primal hatreds. And these cretins wonder why so many people hate them, and vote for Trump. At least now it’s more out in the open than ever.
We last saw this kind of willful misreading in the wingnut sputterfest over Shakespeare in the Park's Julius Caesar which, against all logic, conservatives claimed was inciting violence against Trump. Lord knows they're always comfortable misinterpreting things, but I think they're even more eager to do so with movies, plays, novels etc. because they realize even the simplest works of art have power they neither possess nor understand, and the only way they can deal with it is by squeezing its meanings into tiny bullet-shaped units of propaganda.

Thursday, August 08, 2019


Longtime readers of alicublog -- not to mention many, many citizens of New York and elsewhere -- know about Lach, the founder of the Anti-Folk scene and compère at its flagship The Fort in all its incarnations.

Well, things are exceedingly tough for Lach right now. I don't want to get too deep into it but it involves a very sick family member and the difficulty of keeping things together under such circumstances, especially for someone who makes a living in music. (Euterpe offers generous benefits but she pays lousy.)

So please pass it around: Thanks.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019


I've been seeing some stupid shit in the news lately but this Joaquin Castro thing -- where wingnuts are flipping out because Castro tweeted the names of top Texas Trump donors, which information is public -- beats all. I'm seeing highly-placed Republicans claiming these donors were doxxed because the names appeared in a tweet (in addition to the Federal Elections Commission website).

Though they're pretending to be developmentally disabled, these people aren't dumb -- merely limited: They know they've fucked up so bad that all they have left is racism and victimhood, and they know right the moment is not a good time to lay on the racism, so any opportunity they get to play the victim, they're taking.

And this person ain't dumb either, but has reasons to pretend to be:

The dangerous trend of publishing FEC data! If you like, go to the thread and be treated to Socratic dialogue like this:

These Republican donors are especially delicate, I guess -- so delicate even the famously liberal Times has to acknowledge it --  and must be protected from scrutiny. Maybe it's time for Citizens United II. That rummy Kavanaugh is all in for the big win!

I think a large part of the appeal of Bernie Sanders is due to a growing awareness among a growing number of people that the people we thought were our friends are most definitely not our friends.

UPDATE. I've unlocked a Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter installment about where this is all going to end up. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 01, 2019


There's always something creepy about Republicans offering what I am accustomed to call Advice From Your Mortal Enemies, but in the wake of the two Democratic Presidential debates this week they've managed to make it creepier with their encomia to weirdos Marianne Williamson and Tulsi Gabbard. It's not just the interplay with the rightwing operatives pushing Williamson and Gabbard in online polls, though that's weird enough; it's their passive-aggressive insistence that these fringe candidate could lead the party to sanity and victory if only Democrats weren't such losers.

Since Libertarians Are The Worst let's start with Christian Britschgi at Reason:
While the rest of the candidates at the first Democratic debate tonight have been doing their best to out-socialist each other, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been trying to keep the country out of war.
Save us from those famous neocon-socialist hawks Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi! Ha, kidding, he maybe means these guys:
Gabbard's position contrasts with the positions of other Democratic candidates on stage. Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) was the lone debate participant to say that he would not automatically re-enter the Iran deal worked out by President Obama, suggesting a better deal could be had. 
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.) said that, while she favored reentering the deal, she would like to push for stricter terms. Klobuchar also stressed that if a war with Iran were to occur, it would require congressional authorization.
Stricter terms! Better deal! Well, that couldn't possibly be look-tough bullshit for the moderate wing, it has to be socialist bloodlust. But wait -- how do we know Gabbard isn't a socialist? After all, she's standing up there with all those socialists and not wearing a dollar-sign pin nor quoting Ayn Rand. Here's the best Britschgi can do:
That Gabbard was willing to duck a softball, red meat question about raising wages for women to focus on America's war-making abroad was nonetheless a refreshing moment amidst the otherwise dreary, shockingly left-wing rhetoric from the rest of the Democratic field on stage tonight.
Higher wages for women -- that's how Kennedy got us into Vietnam, right?

Meanwhile at The American Conservative, James Antle III, a buffoon, assures that while Bernie Sanders has "mostly failed to recapture his 2016 magic" (cite needed), Gabbard, "perhaps the most interesting Democrat running for president," has the secret sauce:
While reliably progressive, she has occasionally reached across the political divide on issues like religious liberty and Big Tech censorship, a potent combination that could prove more responsive to Trump voters’ concerns than what we’ve heard from her neocon lite interlocutor from Youngstown.
By "religious liberty” I assume Antle means she ragged on Senators Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono for questioning anti-abortion crusader Brian Buescher, now comfortably ensconced on the federal bench, on his Knights of Columbus membership during his Senate hearing, which she called anti-Catholic bigotry; by "Big Tech censorship" I assume he means her lawsuit against Google, a tedious tactic of Republican cry-babies that she has adopted and promoted on Tucker Carlson's show.

Antle affects to believes that Democrats' failure to take Gabbard up is because their party "cares more about wokeness than war." Think of all those Social Justice Warriors who want to abolish ICE and invade Iran!

As for Williamson, well, let's just stick with the always good for a laugh Rod Dreher:
Russian Orthodoxy treasures the yurodivy, or “holy fool,” an ascetic who behaves in ways that seem insane to normal people, but who, in so doing, reveal Christian truth. The New Age guru and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson is not a holy fool according to the usual definition, but I can’t help thinking that to some extent, she’s playing that role. We all love to laugh at her, because she is something of a kook … but she’s onto something important about us. 
In last night’s Democratic debate, Williamson spoke of the “dark psychic force” of “collectivized hatred” that Donald Trump draws up and exploits. Here’s the clip... 
I know: ha ha, what a ding-dong! But she’s not wrong, except in that she pins this entirely on Trump.
In other words, the holy fool is absolutely right about Trump being evil, except she doesn't realize that evil is also Al Sharpton, and since TV commentator Sharpton is, like President Trump, the leader of his party, it's all the same really, just like the Republicans were really just as bad as the fascists in the Spanish Civil War, and we should all unite to persecute homosexuals.

Can they get the suckers to lemming after one or both of these new Jill Steins? Once upon a time I would have said God doesn't hate us that much yet, but now I'd say it's a toss-up.

Friday, July 26, 2019


I am not familiar with early James Brown, so this came as a shock.

•   Christmas in July! I'm gonna be real nice to you guys who haven't taken paid subscriptions yet and unleash two (2) Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter stories from this week: THIS bagatelle in which our president is visited by one old and one new friend, and THIS little essay about the modern tendency to call things "scary," including our current state of malgovernance, and why we shouldn't be scared.

•  One thing that really puts some perspective on the whole conservative "elitism" shtick, lately associated with Republican up-and-dumber Josh Hawley (anti-elitist credentials: Stanford, Yale), is Kevin D. Williamson's latest attack on poor white people at National Review. He goes to Appalachia (mostly Owsley County, Kentucky), interviews some people, and reaches the same conclusion he came to a few years ago with his first big get-a-U-Haul-stupid-hillbillies article: White folks in poor rural counties are shiftless, stupid, and addicted to pills and lotto.
This isn’t the Kentucky of Elmore Leonard’s imagination, and there is nothing romantic about it. These are no sons and daughters of Andrew Jackson, no fiercely independent remnants of the old America clinging to their homes and their traditional ways. Having once been downwind of a plate of biscuits and squirrel gravy does not make you Daniel Boone. This is not the land of moonshine and hill lore, but that of families of four clutching $40 worth of lotto scratchers and crushing the springs on their beaten-down Camry while getting dinner from a Phillips 66 station.
But it's not entirely their fault; globalization took their jobs -- ha ha, kidding! The real culprit is welfare! “The monthly welfare checks" are "poison," says Willamson, that "has made Appalachia into a big and sparsely populated housing project," as even ultra-liberal Nicholas Kristof admits -- case closed! And as one of his better-off and hence more sympathetic subjects tells Williamson, "when you have that many people on the draw, that’s a big majority of voters," which is why they vote for those welfare-loving Democrats -- ha ha, kidding again! Owsley Country went 84% Trump in 2016. These offenses to common sense, however, are not as maddening as the fact that Williamson, whose attitude toward these impoverished Republicans is one long sneer, will never get half the shit about "elitism" as some Democrat who wants to give them health insurance.

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.