Wednesday, December 18, 2019

NEVER THEIR OWN FAULT.

As regular readers will know, David French is awful -- a theocrat who not only denounces Roe v. Wade but also Griswold v. Connecticut (not to mention Prince, whom French considers a "decadent voice in a hedonistic culture"), and rants about devil worshipers like a regular Rod Dreher, and is the author of "If One of the Churchgoers in Charleston Had Been Armed," etc. (There's a short list of some of his dumber columns here.) But he also likes to play the reasonable NeverTrumper moderate, which is really the most annoying part of his shtick.

Here's the latest issue of French's newsletter -- it's called The French Press, har, and it's on substack; they let anyone have one, it seems! -- and the title of this edition kind of says it all --
The Necessary, Kabuki-Theater Impeachment
-- but only kind of so let's look at it a bit.
The president of the United States is likely to be impeached today (and may be impeached by the time you read this newsletter), and outside of America’s subculture of political hobbyists, nobody seems to care. 
(No citation given, wonder why.)
It still matters, though, and it’s still important to lay down a marker—even if the nation is replaying 1998, but with the partisan roles reversed. 
Shaking down a foreign head of state for dirt on my political opponents on the one hand, a blowjob on the other -- yeah, pick 'em.
But let’s not focus entirely on the president. Bernie Sanders is surprisingly resilient in the Democratic primary, so it’s time to ask him: Why are so many anti-Semites orbiting his campaign? 
Ugh yeah, in the second stage of this crap-missle French does the whole Noah Rothman-Tiana Lowe bullshit about how Sanders is, well he's not saying an anti-Semite buuuuttt d'jever notice how he's surround by "anti-Semites" (French's word for "Muslims")? But I digress, which is easy, believe me, with someone this nightmarish. Back to his impeachment bosh:
In my adult lifetime, I’ve supported impeaching two presidents—one Democrat and the other Republican. In both circumstances, I knew there was zero chance the president would be convicted. 
And in both cases it had zero chance of affecting his career, so why not?
Yet, in both circumstances, the president was clearly guilty of serious misconduct. Partisanship saved Bill Clinton. Partisanship will save Donald Trump. 
Again, the blowjob-blackmail conundrum! One of French's go-to bits is assuming we've all agreed to some absurd point he then just breezes past.

Then French does several paragraphs about Clinton's Chinese fundraising and Whitewater -- look, he's a lifelong conservative factotum, they drill them on this stuff like Russian ballet students -- and then says,
In context then, the impeachment of Bill Clinton wasn’t just an indictment of his conduct surrounding a single sexual harassment case -- though that conduct was certainly impeachable -- it represented the culmination of a long train of scandals and a declaration by one elected branch of government that this man did not belong in the Oval Office.  
So, see, you oversexed liberals may not think getting his dick sucked was such a big deal, but there was a bunch of other stuff he really deserved to be impeached for, so it was only just. And now French, not at all obsessed with the Clintons, is really just sad as a good patriot that Clinton got away with it because (deep sigh) thanks to him Trump will get away with it too:
Watching Trump today, I’m reminded of the movie Patton. Squinting through binoculars as he watches American forces defeat the Germans in North Africa, Patton memorably says, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!”  
There’s Trump, squinting back in political history, declaring “Bill, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” Trump did read Bill’s book. So did Republicans. So the Trump presidency will survive, even if it shouldn’t, and Republicans may well regret their defense.
If you're wondering what that last huh-what clause is about, the answer is that French is about to pull a fast one, and he wants to make it look related to everything else he's been talking about with a quick last-minute feint so you don't catch on:
Not long ago I had dinner with a Clinton loyalist, someone who stood by his president back in the day. I was amazed when he frankly (and with some emotion) admitted his error.
His name: Favid Dench.
“We could have drawn a line,” he said. “Instead, we helped erase the lines.” That comment has stuck with me ever since. And that’s the choice today—and it’s the choice that Trump will keep giving Republicans. Draw the line? Or erase the lines? 
See, this is why, though JustTheTip Trumpers are the absolute worst, the NeverTrumpers aren't really much better: Their whole moral pose is entirely cost-free. There's nothing brave about it. Because for these guys, it was really the best career move they could make. Trump didn't need Max Boot -- he already had fake intellectual warmongers like Seb Gorka, so of what use was Boot? Similarly, Trump's surrounded by snake-handling, tongue-speaker Christian nutjobs -- what's he need David French for? So naturally French went off and did the wilderness act.

But even in his wilderness, French gives absolutely no evidence that he knows why conservatives flocked to Trump, or that conservatism has anything to do with the problem. Hell, French approves of a lot of stuff Trump does -- tax cuts and Jesus-freak judges? Thumbs up! -- and, much like the JustTheTip guys, mainly focuses on Trump's rude behavior -- like he was Mayor Jimmy Walker, a charming rouĂ© rather than a vicious thug. Go find me a piece where French mourns the immigrant children Trump has locked up and in some cases sold to Christian families -- and I don't mean a Obama-did-it equivocation like his column "Trump Moves to Obama’s Position on Family Detention, Democrats Outraged." Trump's cruelty is only disturbing to French because it makes conservatives look bad, not because of the damage it does to the untermenschen. And French only disapproves of conservatives' embrace of Trump because in his view it means they're acting like liberals -- while really, as the evidence shows, they're acting like conservatives who've found their dreamboat -- more senile than Reagan, more crooked than Nixon, and even more outrageously fake-Christian than George W. Bush. Hell, I wouldn't be shocked if French felt the same way and just couldn't hear to admit it; and maybe that's not entirely careerism -- it could also be self-care.

Friday, December 13, 2019

YEARS AND YEARS.

It’s never easy seeing the wicked prevail but if you’re serious about saving what’s left of our democratic traditions you should get used to it. The game is longer than any of us knew.

How could we know? I recall Reagan’s first election, and knowing by instinct (for I barely had anything else in my youth) that this was worse than the usual Their Team versus Our Team. Still I couldn't then comprehend their method -- breaking the fisc with deficit spending while claiming a devotion to fiscal responsibility, then using the damage they caused as an excuse to hire their cronies as contractors to pretend to clean it up. They didn't advertise it in those days.

But I had to live in the world they were making, and couldn't bear (or, maybe better said, was not yet resigned) to be as angry and despairing as the occasion seemed to demand. I recall being laughed off when I questioned the new order -- for example, by a bunch of Wall Street kids for saying it was absurd that Chrysler workers had to take a cut while Lee Iacocca was not only unbothered but lionized for thinking of it. No one wanted to hear it or anything like it.

So I internalized to an extent their thinking: Who knows, I dimly thought, maybe we had been a little too focused on the apparent inequities of the system, a little too generous with benefits, a little too P.C.; maybe if we got lean and mean capitalism would bring the improvements we once hoped to get from government action. In other words, I was rather like one of those dreary trimmers you see gassing up social media now. (Not that bad, of course, but still.)

It took a while for me to completely shake that POV, as the system kept offering rewrites on the social contract that seemed reasonably generous (see Clinton, Bill); some social realities were acknowledged, albeit slowly, and some minor changes were allowed. But these could only be had on the terms of the market; that beast always had to be fed first. Since I was largely insulated from the worst impacts (I lived cheaply, I'm white, etc.) this seemed to be going the right way.

But over time I got disabused. By the top of the century I noticed the economy was not as hot as advertised. The war years were such a carnival of bad faith that I not only paid attention, I got interested. The run-up to the recession was a watershed for me; as Wall Street overheated I noticed conservatives trying to distract everyone from the smell. In the wreckage the whole thing became clear: lives had been destroyed and the bean-counters were hauling safe-deposit boxes out of the ruins -- social contract be damned.

It's all even clearer now, maybe because I got more observant but maybe just because of the id monster Trump's inability to even try and conceal it. They throw spoils to the rich like bandits looting a wagon, assign DeVoses and Rosses and Azars and other such scum to get what’s in the back; they don't even pretend to be doing anything patriotic.

What I'm saying is this problem is not new; that the slight relief from it offered by occasional Democratic administrations was not fundamental and couldn't last; and that if there's anything good about what's happening, it's that the stakes are plain. I doubt many people are confused about it now as I was forty years ago. That doesn't mean everyone else sees it the same way, but they see it; maybe some of them are so addled by racism, conspiracy theories, and vengeance fantasies that they don't care, but they're not fooled, though eventually they may find it convenient to say they had been. Whatever happens, howsoever it may be enabled by social media and malign foreign actors, is entirely up to the people.

You may trust your fellow citizens; you may doubt them. But you can't do much about them except show a good example and hope for the best. As Captain Shotover said in Shaw's Heartbreak House: Courage will not save you, but it will show that your own souls are still alive. If our country's beyond the reach of that, then it was never going to be saved. We'll soon find out. Hold fast and see you on the other side.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

A NEW LOW.

So Professor Karlan said this at the impeachment hearings:
When Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas asked Karlan, "What comparisons, Professor Karlan, can we make between kings that the framers were afraid of and the president's conduct today? she responded, "So, kings could do no wrong, because the king's word was law. And contrary to what President Trump has said, Article II does not give him the power to do anything he wants. And I’ll just give you one example that shows you the difference between him and a king, which is the Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So, while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron."
And as you no doubt have seen, a shitstorm has ensued in which all the major assholes have portrayed Karlan's innocuous statement as an attack on a child. "Major assholes" includes mainstream media suckers, of course (usually from an "unforced error"/"civility harrumph" perspective); wingnut propaganda farms like the Washington Examiner are even worse. ("Karlan's comment was largely derided for bringing a child into a discussion about impeachment" -- "largely" being the paper's version of "bigly," I guess.)

There's not a lot to say about it beyond the usual: This is all bullshit, and to the extent anyone enables or accommodates it (and this includes Professor Karlan and whoever squeezed her to apologize) they are doing the devil's work.

Nonetheless it's an ill wind that blows no one some good and the incident has inspired me to a cracker-jack Oval Office scene starring Trump, Barron, and Melania, with a supporting role for Mick "Sad Sack" Mulvaney. Enjoy!

Monday, December 02, 2019

THE PUSSIES THAT GOT GRABBED.

Man, this particular Rod Dreher "reader mailbag" -- the latest in a series of highly suspect alleged third-party transmissions Dreher publishes that, remarkably, always sound like Rod Dreher -- is a corker; it goes on so long that Dreher even has to start it in his own voice before cutting to the correspondent's, just for the sake of variety.

I have to admit, when I saw the title art --


-- I was expecting big drama, like maybe a gang of trans thugs beating up a wispy Dreherite. But instead I got acres of this:
He studied education in college, and said that many of the materials they studied were preoccupied with “white privilege” and woke ideology. He didn’t think it was a problem, because it conformed to the view of the world that he’d been raised with. He ended up in the social work field, which was ideologically the same. 
In college, he converted to Christianity, which radically changed some of his values. He now identifies as a conservative, though he has never voted Republican in a presidential race. He says he’s “kind of confused politically” because of all this.
Less talk more rock, buddy! Get to the bigot-bashing!
He says that he’s growing increasingly angry by the relentless wokeness in popular culture. He gave a couple of recent examples of having a strong reaction at the overt liberal messaging in TV shows he and his wife watched.
???!!!???
He says they talked about it, and she convinced him that the liberal messaging was based somewhat in reality (e.g., racism and sexism really do exist). What surprised him was how “black and white” his thinking has become on these topics, as a result of being on the defensive all the time against the overwhelming progressive messaging he sees.
So... the guy sees "liberal messaging in TV shows" (unnamed, probably because Dreher doesn't want to be laughed at even more than he already is), and he and his wife talked about it? Doesn't seem so Stalinist to me -- hold on, Dreher's switching to the Voice Of The Correspondent, maybe there'll be some hot stuff here:
I certainly feel like the progressive ideology is being forced down my throat at every turn. I have unfollowed basically everyone on social media and stopped using it except for work purposes because the stuff people posted made me like them less (both on the left and right).
Wait, so you've had something forced down your throat -- boy, if I had a dollar for every time a theocon told me that! And it's so bad that you had to block nearly everyone you know on social media. Wow, must be something terrible -- lay it on us, bro, and don't spare the lurid details!
I can’t count how many times I have heard people make flippant comments about the taint white men and the patriarchy have left on our society. I don’t feel like I can express my thoughts about any polarizing topic because I will be dismissed due to my sex and skin color.
Blink. Blink.

Flippant comments?
Of course, I recognize I don’t have to let that happen to me, and I don’t want to just sit here and say I’m helplessly being polarized by the rhetoric coming from the left.
Great, maybe he'll snap out of this now!
I won’t ever go down the alt-right road. I don’t want to watch shows and movies and feel so sensitive to what seems like a political agenda or start disliking friends who are left leaning and that I may even agree with about a lot of things! Even if they aren’t militant, I still feel threatened. I have a friend who is letting her 8 year old present as the opposite gender...
AAAARRGH I've stood all I can stand and I can't stand no more! To cut to the chase, nothing happened to this guy but the presence of conflicting views and lifestyles, and he talks about it as if it's Kristallnacht. There follows a lot of traditional Dreher you'll-be-sorry I'll-show-you-all snowflake gush ("Woke cultural politics are crow-barred into any and all areas of news and entertainment. And it’s radicalizing to the Right people who don’t want to be"). But all I can think to say in response is the words of Billy Sol Hurok:


May the Good Lord take a liking to you and blow you up real good.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

HAVE BEEF FOR THANKSGIVING!

I'm unlocking today's newsletter story (Subscribe! Cheap!™). It's holiday-themed! The subject is all the yap about liberals trying to destroy Thanksgiving, and the related yap that liberals are to blame for political fights over the holidays -- not by provoking them so much as by talking about their existence (which conforms I guess to conservative attitudes toward, for example, homosexuality -- everything was better before you had the bad taste to mention it!).

For example, Brittany M. Hughes at Brent Bozell's Media Research Center tells readers:
Happy Holidays! Liberals Rant About Having to Spend Thanksgiving With 'MAGA Relatives' 
Welcome back to that time of year when progressives have to consider facing their No. 1 fear: how to interact with someone who disagrees with them.
Because if you don't want to fight during a family gathering, that means you're not open to a free and frank exchange of ideas with Uncle MAGA as to whether immigrants are human.
Liberals, particularly of the vehement anti-Trump variety, have taken to social media in droves to stress, joke, and lament about having to share a meal with their “MAGA relatives"...
"Stress, joke, and lament" is the tell there; even if you take a fuck-'em attitude toward your asshole kinfolk, you're still a loser because you won't sit there and listen to Grandpa recite "The Snake" instead of grace before dinner.

At the same time, we've got this from Donald Trump's smellier adult son:
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s oldest son announced this very specific — and almost certainly trolling — holiday giveaway: His supporters should “trigger a liberal” by discussing politics around the Thanksgiving table and whoever shared the best photo or video of the ensuing conflict would win a signed copy of Don Jr.’s new book and a “Make America Great Again” hat.
These people seem to think that conflict will always benefit them, just like in their tweets about how they'll kill us all in a civil war because they have lots of guns. Well, I say in my newsletter story that if your family is a family worth the name, and someone wants beef, you should give it to them:
However: One thing the mainstream press is too busy filling columns inches to consider, and the conservative press is too busy feeding resentments to consider, is that some of us like to argue. In many families, a heated discussion takes the place of a touch football game or a bonfire, or is enjoyed in addition to. Some may even end in drunken brawls or fist-shaking family ruptures. 
I remember when that sort of thing was taken as one of America’s leisure traditions. Remember Errol Flynn fighting his brothers in Gentleman Jim? (“The Corbetts are at it again!”) This obstreperousness was often laid to the Irish, but as with many our antique American bigotries I think it was a back-door way for the rest of the nation to celebrate the tendency...
Anyway go read, and have a beautiful holiday, whether it's a Quaker meeting or a slugfest. And if you have to work today, well I've been there, brother, and I sympathize; steal something nice from your boss.

UPDATE. Speaking of which:
A liberal ex-governor walks into a bar, followed by a conservative Trump administration official.
Instead of a punchline, what followed, one witness said, was a “shame-invoking tirade” by Martin O’Malley, the former Democratic governor of Maryland, directed atKen Cuccinelli II, the former Virginia attorney general who is acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. 
The two political polar opposites crossed paths Wednesday night at the Dubliner, a Capitol Hill Irish pub popular on Thanksgiving Eve with Gonzaga High School graduates. Both men attended the school, graduating five years apart in the 1980s.
Siobhan Arnold, who was visiting from Philadelphia, had just met O’Malley at the bar when Cuccinelli walked in. Soon the two men were face-to-face, she said, with O’Malley excoriating Cuccinelli over the Trump administration’s immigration policies. 
O’Malley said “something about his [Cuccinelli’s] grandparents,” Arnold said in an interview. Cuccinelli said little if anything in reply, she added, quickly leaving the pub.
If you think it's tewwibly unfaiw for O'Malley to give grief to this immigrant-hunting asshole in a fucking Irish bar, I don't know what to tell you.

Monday, November 25, 2019

JOHN SIMON, 1925-2019.

True, he was a misogynist and a racist. He famously insisted on cataloguing what he saw as actresses' physical shortcomings (he wrote with evident distaste, for example, that Vanessa Redgrave had "no breasts to speak of") on the grounds that female beauty as judged by John Simon was an important attribute of their performances, however little it mattered in those of male actors. And he criticized the vocal and physical training of African-American actors on stage, which was both racist and canny of him, as only people who had actually attended the plays could dispute his judgment. I had that experience with a 1979 Public Theater production of Coriolanus starring Morgan Freeman, in which the cast moved gracefully and spoke beautifully. Simon:
To have a group of black and Hispanic actors, almost totally untrained in Shakespearean acting, do Julius Caesar (at the Public Theater) was rashness and folly; to have them do Coriolanus ranks as advanced dementia... the consummate, uncompromising patrician is a figure far removed from the ken of most white Americans; to black and Hispanic Americans, actors or otherwise, he is through historical and economic circumstances even more remote and inconceivable, Morgan Freeman, who plays Coriolanus, cannot even approximate the part in sound, look, or demeanor; but, for one reason or another, no one in the company begins to approach what is required of them.
I saw the show and Simon was full of shit.

It may seem absurd to even say "on the other hand" after that, but when Simon was engaged by the material and unencumbered by his prejudices, he could be a highly perceptive critic with a lively, illuminating style. Here he is, excerpted, on the Mike Nichols 1988 production of Waiting for Godot with Robin Williams and Steve Martin:
Beckett's Waiting for Godot is the tragedy of man comically told. Mike Nichols's Godot at Lincoln Center is the tragedy of an American theater turned  into shtick. With this fractured Godot, Nichols proves yet again (as if it were necessary) that he is one of the greatest directors of mediocre material. Not content with finding mediocrity where it so plentifully exists, he must create it where it isn't: in the heart of a masterpiece.

The reason Beckett is execrated in Communist countries and trivialized in capitalist ones is that neither ideology can accept his stance: a heroic negation  of any kind of salvation, so monumental  as to dwarf the myths of redemption according to Marx, Mammon, or the Judeo-Christian God. The only way man can endure his mortality and assorted miseries is with an epic vaudeville act: You only laugh when it hurts — and it hurts all the time. The sole surcease is death, the classic case of a cure worse than the malady. This is a laugh, all right, but not one that leaves the throat unlacerated...

Anyone who can have the barren tree, which in Act II sprouts "four or five leaves" and  prompts Vladimir's "It's covered with leaves," display only one leaf — thus changing a pathetically hopeful remark into an imbecile one — has no feeling or understanding for the play.
Now, I did not see this production and can't tell if its creators were slandered, but Simon's description of the play is not only sound but eloquent, and his criticisms of the production, while full of that lofty contempt that was really what made him famous ("if theatergoers are really so benighted that only this kind of Godot can reach them, they are not worth reaching. Beckett's God, or Godot, is absent; Nichols's Godot is dead"), at least provide negative examples that illuminate his description of the play's qualities. Click through the link to see his criticisms of the actors, which have nothing to do with their technique and everything to do with how Simon saw the characters and the play. All these years later we may have forgotten or never seen the production, but we do have, though limned for better or worse with Simon's acid, a good little essay on Beckett's drama in the form of a review. That's why his criticism is still worth reading.

I will add that Simon's Movies Into Film was a very helpful book when I was a teenage film freak, and that his film reviews in National Review during those years were, his faults once taken into account, well-balanced and had nothing to do with the loathsome politics among which they were set.

Excellent obituary by Robert D. McFadden at the New York Times here.

UPDATE. Kenneth Mars' performance in What's Up, Doc is clearly a John Simon rip, and very funny.

Friday, November 22, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.




I've loved this song since I first heard it.
It's a classic specimen of getting to the universal by way of the specific.


Jonah Goldberg has still got that newsletter thing going and it's no Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, lemme tell ya. But he keeps a hand in at National Review, and today has something called
Opponents of ‘Unfettered Capitalism’ Are Fighting a Phantom
It's a big deal because not only Democrats and Socialists but also rightwing assholes Tucker Carlson and Josh Hawley are bitching about capitalism and Jonah's here to even the odds (fart).

The simple version: There are lots of reguatory agencies, what are you guys talking about, "unfettered capitalism"? Goldberg does not address what happens when the regualtory mechanisms are put in the hands of, for example, a Ryan Zinke or a Wilbur Ross, who take said mechanisms to a bridge and throw them into the river. Also Republicans tend to deregulate processes they think don't need oversight -- like food safety.
My frustration stems from the fact that we “fetter” the market constantly. And whenever the fetters yield an undesirable result — such as, say, the financial crisis of 2008 — the blame always lands on eternally unfettered capitalism.
Overregulation is an interesting diagnosis of the financial crisis, given that the many of the financial instruments that pumped hot gas into the bubble suffered no regulation at all. I assume Goldberg referred only to an index card that read "Blck ppl got houses no fair BIG GOVERMENT."

Closing farts:
Just to be clear: I’m not an advocate for unfettered capitalism.
[querulous balloon-fondling noise]
But I am sick and tired of hearing people advocate unfettered government to fight an enemy that doesn’t exist.
[SUDDENLY-UNCLOGGED-GEOTHERMAL-VENT NOISE, SIZZLE OF FLAMING METHANE GEYSER

In conclusion, Jonah declares himself against this non-existent thing, and further stipulates that he has smelt it, but most assuredly has not dealt it.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

THE NIGHT THEY DROVE CHICK-FIL-A DOWN.

I'm opening to the general public (that's you guys!) the latest issue of my newsletter, about Rod Dreher's extended shitfit over Chick-fil-A's disinvestments. Longtime readers may recall my writing at the Village Voice in 2012 about how a couple of colleges booted the fast food chain for its president's homophobic sentiments and conservatives went nuts, making special "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" trips (or saying they did) to gorge on waffle fries and show the gays and gay-lovers that nobody out-grievances the Right. Sample:
“Tastes Like Liberty,” said Doug Ross. “Tasted like freedom,” said Mollie Hemingway. They must have changed the formula since we ate there. 
“80% of the folks at the tables [at the food court] were sporting Chick-fil-A bags. Taco Bell and Sbarro’s shared the rest of the tables, it seemed, with Five Guys, a very popular Washington area burger chain,” reported Robert Morrison of the Family Research Council. “‘I’ve had enough of those ‘gaystapo tactics,’ we heard one diner say.” 
“The Chick-fil-A controversy has no doubt been polarizing in some corners of the country,” said Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard, “but the undeniable success of yesterday’s nationwide rally to support the fast food chain means we’re likely to remember August 1, 2012 as Silent Majority Day.” 
It was a watershed (or a Diet-Mr.-Pibbshed) for late-stage homo-haters, and the news that CfA had removed some investments in gay-averse charities hit several of them hard, though few as hard as Rod.

Astonishingly, Dreher is not the author of the stupidest thing written on the subject. This is from John Hinderaker of Power Line:
I won’t stop eating at Chick-fil-A on account of this retreat, but I won’t do it with the same enthusiasm, either.
And some people think John McCain was a hero!

UPDATE. Yikes, Dreher's got a third Chick-fil-A post:
About Chick-fil-A, I know you liberals are laughing at us, drawing comparisons between Thomas More and a chicken shack.
Yep! Bye!

Friday, November 15, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.




Sometimes there's nothing for it but the fuzzbox.

•   Here's a freebie from the newsletter (SUBSCRIBE he hollered from the bottom of a well CHEAP!): A couple of New York mayors sitting around talking.

•  Rich Lowry has a book out praising the blood-and-soil conservatism pimped by such noted sons of toil as Tucker Carlson, and today he talks about one of the Ronald Reagan speeches people like him cream over and explains what parts are and are not, er, operational in Trump Time:
So, where does the “Time for Choosing” fall down?

The tax, spending, and debt issues so important to Reagan and to conservatives for decades have taken a back seat today — or at least deficit spending and debt have. President Trump has brought other issues to the fore and pursued a broadly expansionary fiscal policy.
"Expansionary" -- that's a hot one! When Democrats want to spend money on public health they don't call it expansionary, they call it socialism etc.
It turns out that fiscal conservatives didn’t have nearly the clout of social conservatives in the GOP coalition. But the traditional trio of fiscal issues will come back with a vengeance should, say, Elizabeth Warren get elected president.
We were full of shit all along, and we'll go back to being full of shit if Warren gets in. Way to butter 'em up, Rich!
More problematic in [Reagan's] “The Time for Choosing” is the argument — and dire tone — borrowed from Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, asserting that the growth of the state, as such, leads to tyranny, and the tipping point is imminent.
We conservatives don't really believe in financial stewardship, but in our defense, what we really don't believe in is freedom -- at least not funky freedom (guns are okay!):
It is a symptom of our time, though, that even as the government has grown, so has personal liberty, sometimes in deeply unhealthy ways. We have more choices in family structure (or lack thereof), sexual expression, and consumption of entertainment, from the exalted to the low, including a vast amount and variety of pornography. There is less prescription against aberrant behavior, as can be seen in the streets of our major cities such as San Francisco and New York City.
??? Maybe he thinks there's a 24-hour Folsom Street Festival in Central Park? Or that liberals gave us Pizza Rat?
There’s greater leeway to sell and smoke pot.
LOL
We now enjoy the freedom even — in theory at least — to pick our own gender and have institutions of government afford every consideration to our choice.
Sounds awesome so far, Starbursts, what's the beef?
...The deeper current issue is that the chief suppressant of human flourishing may be not our overweening government but our tendency toward toxic individualism — we are now a people largely disconnected from marriage, church, and workplace, and too many American sink into self-destructive behavior and despair.
Obviously, this doesn’t enter into Reagan’s speech because there was no way he could anticipate social trends 50 years in the future.
Yeah, if only Reagan had known we would eventually have throuples and legal weed and porny anime, he wouldn't have pretended to love freedom so much -- because all that talk totally wasn't just a racket to get Americans to vote him and his high-pressure crooks into office. But now conservatives know better, and advocate for big spending Puritanism. Oh, and to replace your porn, the spectacle of military parades and tortured immigrant children!

This is a movement that's going places -- to prison, in many cases.

•  Speaking of that, you all know that, though I give out insults like Trump giving judgeships to assholes, I'm sensitive about wishing punishment on even the worst of my fellow man. For new convict Roger Stone, however...


...I will make an exception. Enjoy prison, you fucking piece of shit.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

WHAT IF THEY GAVE A WAR MUSEUM AND NOBODY CAME?

He has stiff competition -- Kevin D. Williamson! David French! Jonah Goldberg for crying out loud! -- but on Any Given Weekday Jim Geraghty can be the absolute worst person at National Review and brother does he manage today:


I shit you not. Geraghty was in Canada and visited Casa Loma, whose owner did some fighting in the 19th Century, and his regiment in modern times did some fighting in Afghanistan. How's that for a segue?
The museum display on Afghanistan is just a small corner of a room covering the regiment’s more recent deployments, which included Kosovo and Sudan. But the display got me wondering: is it time to start thinking about a National Museum of the Afghanistan War? And should the U.S. have a separate or conjoined museum for the Iraq War? (Would the name “National Museum of Post-9/11 Wars” be too awkward?)
How about "The Foreverwar Museum: A Work in Progress"? After some research-assistant padding about current U.S. war/service museums, Geraghty preemptively pooh-poohs the naysayers:
Inevitably, someone out there is going to cluck about the irony of building a museum for a military operation that is still ongoing, and while U.S. troops are still deployed in those operations.
Well, sure. Don't your visitors want to know how it comes out? A World War II museum built in 1943 would have seemed kinda anticlimactic.
But if you wait until the operation is completely done to begin even thinking about preserving a record to tell the story to future generations . . . you’ll be waiting probably, at minimum, another half-decade.
LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Then more padding, about the great work our G.I. Joes are doing in undeclared wars across the planet, Geraghty assures us he's just asking questions:
If building a national museum about our post-9/11 wars is a good idea, then it is a good idea whether or not we still have troops deployed in these countries. And if it’s not a good idea, then it’s not a good idea regardless of the circumstances of the ongoing deployment.
Resolved: It stinks! Let's all go home! But here's where Geraghty goes into overdrive:
A strange thing happened in our national life as the Vietnam War receded into the rear-view mirror. One of the most bitterly divisive issues in our country’s history calmed, and gradually — some might say, far too gradually — shifted into a broad-based respect and appreciation for the men who fought in it and women who tried to keep them in one piece in the Army Nurse Corps.
(Gotta get the ladies in there!) Prior to that, see, we were all just spitting on soldiers:
Even the most fervent war opponents could recognize that this country treated its returning veterans terribly back in the 1960s and 1970s, and I wonder if our current much broader cultural appreciation of veterans stems from a sense of guilt over that dishonorable not-so-distant history.
I assume, given his audience and that he's Jim Geraghty, he means the myth of mean hippies rather than, say, the fight to deny vets coverage for the effects of PTSD and Agent Orange or anything else that men in suits rather than punks in love-beads may have done to them.
You can think the war was a terrible mistake and still feel a sense of gratitude, awe, and appreciation for those who served in it — and a determination to see that those who served are treated right, in areas ranging from veterans benefits to health care options to post-military careers to naturalization for those born overseas.
"Naturalization for those born overseas" -- did this motherfucker really just fucking say that?

You know what, I'm too pissed to even address the rest of his stupidity ("if the U.S. had known the true limits of the Iraqi WMD program," ha ha, yeah if only). Geraghty can jam this museum up his ass.

Friday, November 08, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Who couldn't use a lift!

•   I'm being worked to death, so forgive me if instead of writing a ton here I redirect you to my newsletter, where in my latest free issue I reveal the process by which the nation's richest men selected Michael Bloomberg to represent their interests -- represent them more overtly, I should say! -- in the Democratic Presidential race. Longtime readers know what I think about the son of a bitch. Here's part of something I wrote about him back in 2007, the first time he pretended to be running for President:
The papers find it interesting that we have the New Yorkers Giuliani, H. Clinton, and Bloomberg at the summit of our politics. I find it depressing. If they represented the New York of Billy Martin, Martin Scorsese, and Johnny Thunders, that'd be one thing. But they represent instead the New York of A-Rod, Judith Miller, and Larry Silverstein -- all power, that is, and no class. The poor and lower middle class once had a little somethin'-somethin' in this city, and they gave both steel and fire to its temperment, but now it's all about the most diseased exemplars of the filthy rich, yuppie dipshits and power-mad clowns -- which isn't a bad way to describe the city's current national candidates, come to think of it, and perhaps the reason why they are so popular with Americans these day.
Sort of a prophet, me, hah? I get a little tried of being right sometimes.

•   Matt Bevin, the Republican governor of Kentucky whose defeat gave me such pleasure on Tuesday, still refuses to concede the election. At National Review Alexandra DeSanctis is (you will not be surprised to learn) sympathetic:
In his most recent statement on the matter, Bevin cited “a number of irregularities” in Tuesday night’s voting and noted that “there’s more than a little bit of history of vote fraud in our state.”

Bevin hasn’t presented any evidence of vote fraud, but his protestations aren’t entirely off-base.
Not entirely off-base, you say? Why's that?
In a statement on Wednesday, Bevin said he plans to ask for an official recanvassing of votes. Here’s what Politico reported about his remarks:
Without providing details, Bevin cited “thousands of absentee ballots that were illegally counted,” reports of voters being “incorrectly turned away” from polling places and “a number of machines that didn’t work properly.” He said his campaign would provide more information as it is gathered, and he did not take questions from reporters.

“We simply want to ensure that there is integrity in the process,” Bevin said at the close of his statement. “We owe this to the people of Kentucky.”
So, he's not off-base because... he says so? You can read the whole wretched thing if you wish; you won't find any evidence offered. But most of DeSanctis' readers will walk away convinced that they saw some. And that, my friends, is how the pros do it. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

FOR ELECTION DAY, THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER.

Republicans did very badly last night -- so badly that the White House spin team had to do this:

Needless to say, the Republican candidate in friggin' Mississippi was not down by double digits, but actually ahead by seven points in the polls around the time Trump visited. But Ronna Don'tsay-Romney had to fluff the President's ego, because Democrats won the Kentucky governorship and flipped both Virginia houses. Here's Jazz Shaw of Hot Air doing his bit to make the Kentucky loss look good (starting with claiming it's too close to call):
When I turned on CNN this morning, the crew there was already doing their best to make Trump’s prediction come true and paint this as a defeat for the President, and since he had personally gone down to the Bluegrass State to try to drag Bevin over the finish line I suppose that’s technically true. But some fairly recent polls showed Bevin trailing Beshear by more than a dozen points. Assuming he loses, it will be by roughly one or two points, so it appears that Trump did indeed rally the vote for him and deliver a better than anticipated turnout.
Good job, Donald, getting the Republican to lose by a small margin in KENTUCKY. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell will sleep soundly tonight!

Meanwhile at the sealed stink tank that is Ace of Spades:
Elsewhere, the other big story is Democrats taking control of both houses of the Virginia legislature for the first time in decades. With all the locust carpetbaggers escaping from blue state shit holes, as well as the creeping socialist-sharia from DC infecting the surrounding counties, perhaps the die had been cast.
I thought the official story was that the alleged Blue State refugees wanted Republican FREEDOM. Now they're sleeper agents of socialism. What gives?

Well, surely National Review has some solid election coverage this morning....



LOL. You have scroll down to their no-comments news dispatches to hear anything at all about the election (the highest-placed item is "Tuscon Voters Kill Sanctuary City Proposal"). Guess everyone's hunkered down in his happy place, hoping Putin will rescue 2020.

Well, as enjoyable as the results themselves were, these reactions really gild the lily -- thanks, dummies!

UPDATE. Noted Republican grifter has most Republican solution ever to people not wanting to vote for them:


Thursday, October 31, 2019

THE SO-CALLED NETWORK.

It was hard not to feel the irony while I was reading excerpts from your recent speech at Georgetown University, in which you defended — on free speech grounds — Facebook’s practice of posting demonstrably false ads from political candidates. I admire your deep belief in free speech. I get a lot of use out of the First Amendment. Most important, it’s a bedrock of our democracy and it needs to be kept strong. 
But this can’t possibly be the outcome you and I want, to have crazy lies pumped into the water supply that corrupt the most important decisions we make together. Lies that have a very real and incredibly dangerous effect on our elections and our lives and our children’s lives. 
-- "Aaron Sorkin: An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg," the New York Fucking Times 
[ADAM ORKIN, nearly out of breath, his hair roguishly disordered, his trenchcoat wet, bursts through the door of the office of MARK ZUCKERBERG, who is seated at his desk studying a model of the Great Pyramid of Giza. ZUCKERBERG looks up as if he'd been expecting this moment, and dreading it, yet also curiously resigned to it.]

ZUCKERBERG: Ah, Adam Orkin. I've been expecting this moment, and dreading it. Yet I'm also curiously resigned to it.

ORKIN: I just wanted to get one good long last look at you before racing to the offices of the Daily Sojourner to tell the world how a great talent and the promise of a better tomorrow were both thrown in the trash just so you could make a buck.

ZUCKERBERG: Would that be my story, Mr. Orkin? Or the story of mankind?

[ZUCKERBERG rises.]

Consider the pharaoh Khufu, often Hellenized as Cheops. Despite his wealth and splendor, he was just one among an endless parade of crowned heads now receding into the darkness of history, just as the 45 men who have served as our president -- even your precious Jed Bartlet -- will vanish.

[ZUCKERBERG gestures toward the model pyramid.]

Yet we know Khufu because he left us the Great Pyramid of Giza. Since they laid the capstone on Lincoln Cathedral in the 13th Century it is no longer the tallest structure in the world, yet it still fascinates, because it represents the whole labor of a great nation turned to the will of a genius.

ORKIN: Is that why it fascinates, Zuckerberg? Or is it fascinating only because of the waste, the pettiness, the sheer asininity of killing thousands of your countrymen just so you can have a swell tombstone? Is it a Great Pyramid or a Great Pyramid Scam? Well, maybe that pile of rocks will last another ten thousand years, but it won't light up the soul of man like this!

[ORKIN throws a damp, rolled-up parchment U.S. Declaration of Independence onto ZUCKERBERG's desk. ZUCKERBERG stares at it. SHERYL SANDBERG, her long black hair sexily disordered, storms into the office with security guards, who lay hands on ORKIN.]

SANDBERG: Looks like we're here in the nick of time, Mr. Zuckerberg. Just say the word and we'll throw Adam Orkin into the alley with the trash where he belongs.

[ZUCKERBERG silently unrolls the parchment, reads. SANDBERG is evilly enraged.]

Don't be a fool, Mark! Ultimate power is within your grasp at last. Don't let this journalist and his fancy words stand in your way!

ZUCKERBERG: [Reads quietly] "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." My father used to read this to me at bedtime when I was a boy. [Scowling at SANDBERG] My mother, Doctor Zuckerberg, thought he was crazy. [To ORKIN]  You made me remember, Mr. Sorkin. And you made me ashamed.

[ZUCKERBERG wheels on a sour-faced SANDBERG]

Ms. Sandberg, there’ll be no more lying to customers of The Facebook!

[ZUCKERBERG and ORKIN go in for a bro-hug as the music swells.] 

Monday, October 28, 2019

HOMETEAM CROWD.

LOL

The two towns Trump has lived in -- New York and Washington -- both hate his guts. What does that tell you?

I see a remedy: super-creep Senator Josh Hawley's dumb bill to send federal employees to Bumfuck:
Under Hawley’s proposal, 90 percent of the USDA’s workforce would move to Missouri and an additional nine other federal agencies would relocate their headquarters to “economically distressed” areas. 
“It’s such an insular place and people forget that there’s a vast country out there and there’s lots of places in the country that aren’t like D.C. and haven’t seen gobs of money poured in,” Hawley said in an interview on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon... 
Under Hawley’s proposal, several agencies would land in swing states critical to the presidential race. Pennsylvania would become home to the Department of Commerce, the Department of Transportation would relocate to Michigan and Ohio would host the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Department of Interior would migrate to New Mexico. 
The rest of the states in Hawley’s plan are solidly Republican.
Why not include the Presidency? Try to imagine Trump trying to get an in-house around-the-world and a bucket of blow in Fritters, Alabama! (I mean, in the manner to which he is accustomed.) He'd resign in a week.

UPDATE. GUESS WHO'S THE REAL VICTIM HERE! If you guessed "civility," yewww might be a pundit.

In my many happy days and nights at Shea Stadium, the fans often rained boos down on their own team. I begin to wonder if these guys have ever been to a baseball game.

UPDATE 2. The go-to wingnut response is that citizens of Washington, D.C. loved Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, late head of ISIS, and are mad at Trump because U.S. forces killed Baghdadi last weekend. Chrissy Clark at The Federalist:
The timing of the crowd’s reaction was revealing. The crowd booed Trump on the same day he announced his administration and U.S. personnel had taken out the founder and leader of ISIS.
 Yes -- a very adulterous reaction! "If you’re gonna go around whackin’ austere scholars, Washington can be tough," burbles Andrew McCarthy, National Review's impeachment bullshit expert. Oh well, guess the days when a crowd at the ballpark was considered salt-of-the-earth American rather than treasonous are over, Wrasslin's America's sport now!

Friday, October 25, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Selections from Melvin Van Peebles'
Ain't Supposed To Die a Natural Death --
performed at the motherfucking TONYS.
Miss me with your
Hamilton bullshit, honkies.
(Check also a young Garrett Morris.)

•   I am releasing to you good people who have yet to subscribe to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down a free issue from Wednesday -- it's about Tulsi Gabbard's non-victory tour of rightwing media outlets since Hillary Clinton called her out, and how I expected it to evolve, and man, was I on the money or what:
To prove Clinton wrong, Gabbard went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Thursday night — she and Hannity both touted mistaken initial reporting that Clinton had claimed Russia, not Republicans, were “grooming” her for a third-party run — and blamed Clinton (a former senator and secretary of state) for the last 18 years of U.S. wars, then echoed Republican complaints about the “transparency” of the House impeachment inquiry.
And get this:
Tulsi Gabbard, fresh off her nasty tussle with former first lady, secretary of state, and 2016 Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, was given a hero's welcome at a meeting with Wall Street executives and potential donors on Wednesday evening in New York City that took place at Anthony Scaramucci’s Hunt and Fish Club restaurant, FOX Business has learned...
"Tulsi is a rock star," said one Wall Street heavy hitter who attended. "She's warm and smart, people in the room loved her."
I'm beginning to suspect Gabbard is being worked on in Dr. Jillenstein's lab for third-party service.

•  Conservatives are trying to pump up the case of a seven-year-old biological boy who identifies as a girl; the child's divorced mother supports this but, after shitfits by Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz, her ex-husband, who's against the transition, has been given a say in the matter by a court. (The child is not currently undergoing hormone treatments, though wingnuts talk as if she were.) The Daily Beast has good coverage, revealing that the old man is a fraudster:
Younger [the husband] and Georgulas separated in 2015. In marriage annulment proceedings, a court awarded Georgulas more than $45,000 in damages for a truck Younger fraudulently purchased in his name through her company. Georgulas also accused Younger of fabricating his background before they married....
A court took this fraud seriously enough to grant Georgulas an annulment. You won't learn about this, natch, in coverage such at that of The Federalist, which also insists that the kid doesn't really want to be a girl -- and, double natch, you won't learn anything about it from Rod Dreher, who doesn't seem to know about the annullment :
It’s a horrifying situation. It sounds like a terrible divorce. Granted, it is hard for anybody outside a failed marriage to know its internal dynamics.
LOL. Dreher, triple natch, is beating pots and pans to portray this unusual case as a harbinger of the trans menace: "The situation with the Younger boy in Texas looks like it’s serving as a wake-up call to people all over the country about how far the trans ideology has spread, and how much it has captured institutions," he writes under the headline "When They Come For Your Kid." This is consistent with his years-long drive to reverse all the protections gained by non-binary people. Oh, by the way, from the Dallas Morning News (Dreher's old paper):
Texas leads the nation in transgender murders. After the latest attack, the Dallas trans community asks why
Frankly, I don't think they need to ask.

•  Speaking of rightwing tropes, you may have noticed a lot of conservatives -- from Steve Scalise's Mooks Brothers Rioters to Tulsi Gabbard -- demanding "transparency" from the Democrats on Trump's impeachment. Well, to paraphrase the old saying: when you have the law pound the law, when you have the facts pound the facts, and when you have neither pound your pud.

The most pathetic of this lot is, to me, National Review's Kevin D. Williamson. He likes to play internet tuff guy, and his normal attitude toward the Constitution is hey, them's the rules and if you don't like 'em, tough. As he told Bill Maher in August:
“Like me, you don’t trust big masses of people because they tend to be stupid and easy to scare. All of the best things about our Constitution are the anti-democratic stuff like the Bill of Rights, which is America’s great big list of stuff you idiots don’t get to vote on..."
Welp, here comes impeachment, which is one of those Constitutional things the "big masses of people" have no say in, and Tuff Guy Williamson is pleading to "Bring Impeachment into the Light":
And so we are obliged to ask the question: Who in Washington has the moral authority, the political intelligence, and the patriotism to see the country through this episode in a way that fortifies our institutions rather than undermines them, that leaves the country better off rather than damaged, that builds trust instead of pissing it away? 
Answer: Nobody. 
Trust is not an option. That leaves us with the second-best option: surveillance. 
And so Nancy Pelosi must end the secret hearings and closed-door depositions, and put the process, the politics, and the evidence before the public.
Bullshit she "must," buddy. Man, there's nothing more obnoxious than a tuff guy who starts crying for mercy.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A BLITZ OF BULLSHIT.

Remember when grifters like Jack Posobiec told their fans (a depressing number of whom went for it) that if Trump got impeached by the House but acquitted in the Senate, he could run for President two more times? Once upon a time, you could count on such an idiotic idea to remain locked in the wingnut netherworld, to be shared over jars of everclear by mouth-breathers and ignored by the Conservative Eloi who write for fancy publications like the Wall Street Journal.

But not anymore!
Impeachment Needs a Replay Booth
An acquittal should allow a president to run for a third term.
William Mattox knows his audience, so he starts with a football analogy (and cites NFL royalty George "Macaca" Allen to get the crowd even more pumped up):
In 2010 former Sen. George Allen, whose father coached the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins, published a book, “What Washington Can Learn From the World of Sports.” He advised policy makers, among other things, that they should work tirelessly to ensure a level playing field (“equality of opportunity”) while remembering that there’s no joy in games that end in a tie (“equality of outcome”). 
In that spirit, here’s an idea for dealing with impeachment fatigue. In the National Football League, teams can challenge a call on the field—but there’s a risk. If instant replay doesn’t merit overturning the call, the challenging team loses one of its three timeouts. That discourages frivolous challenges and keeps the game flowing, while also providing a way to reverse egregious errors.
If football can do it, why can't Washington? Huh? You stupid legislators think you're sumpin' better than Eli Manning? People make money on these games!

Similarly, after a person is elected president he or she should be allowed to go for a conversion; if they make it they get six, maybe seven extra months in office.
Why not amend the Constitution so that any president who is impeached and acquitted is permitted to serve a third term? That would allow him to make up for the time lost advancing the agenda that voters elected him to enact. 
Think what a president freed from Constitutional remedies for his depravity could accomplish! There are a lot of disputed territories left that Putin would like America to help him acquire. And a lot of refugees left untortured!
It would preserve impeachment for genuine offenses but discourage its use for disputed ones and for mere politics. 
Because if Mitch McConnell stonewalls impeachment like he did Merrick Garland's Supreme Court appointment (and does nearly everything the Democratic House sends him), that means the charges must be bogus.
Absent such an amendment, and in an era when government is divided more often than not, impeachment seems likely to become an increasingly common means of opposition.
Especially if the Democrats nominate John Gotti or El Chapo!
True, my amendment would open the possibility of a 2024 election that forces Americans to choose between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. But it is likelier to give members of Congress a much-needed reminder that their main job is legislating.
In fact, why don't we just delete this impeachment side-job from the Constitution, anyway? Getting that passed as an amendment would be tough, though... I know! We could use video review on the Founders! Or get a call from robot umpires created by Diebold!

Coming soon from the Journal: Since Democrats want illegal aliens to vote, why not register the aliens at Area 51?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE MILLIONAIRE MIGRANTS?

Wall Street Journal:
California’s Tax-the-Rich Boomerang
A new study shows the 2012 tax hike drove high earners from the state.
Must be why Cal-i-for-ni-a is a-covered in feces, paw says!
Stanford economists Joshua Rauh and Ryan Shyu analyzed how high earners responded to a 2012 referendum (Prop. 30) backed by Democrats that raised the top marginal rate on taxpayers with more than $1 million of income to 13.3% from 10.3%. The top rates on individuals earning more than $250,000 also rose between one and two percentage points...
I don't see how those poor millionaires stick it. Why, in North Dakota they'd be able to buy a couple of counties! Have to dig their own cisterns, though.
They noted a large uptick in the departure rate of taxpayers with more than $5 million in income following the tax hike — from 1.5% to 2.125% — and a commensurate outflow for taxpayers earning between $2 million and $5 million. 
This essentially means that the likelihood of a wealthy resident moving out of California increased by about 40% after Prop. 30...
The study suggests Sacramento should think again. And watch out for the next recession when investment income and capital gains fall for the affluent. Democrats will have to soak the middle class even more than they already do to finance all of the new spending demands they are creating in the good times (e.g., free health care for undocumented immigrants).
Sounds like the wheels are coming off! Why I bet California's GDP has shrunk to nearly nothin'! Let's see what the St. Louis Fed's figures say:



Whoops, guess not! Cali's also doing well in the Median Household Income category, which just shows what socialistic levelers is a-runnin' that horrible state!

And the state itself says tax revenues are up -- as CalMatters reported in July:
Last week, the state Department of Finance closed the books on 2018-19 revenue and reported that the state collected $144.8 billion, $1 billion more than it had anticipated just weeks earlier, and $2 billion-plus more than the 2018-19 budget had originally forecast. 
It’s also a whopping 71.5% more than the state was collecting a decade ago, far outpacing both population growth and inflation. 
The state has enough money to max out its reserve funds and provide several billion dollars in extra cash to offset schools’ rising pension costs.
Yeah, but it's not millionaire/billionaire money, so it don't count!

The Journal offers no hard numbers for the alleged Millionaire Migration, alas, but once California notices they're missing -- maybe by the number of waiters getting stiffed, or declining sales of Goop products -- they'll certainly switch to a Sam Brownback model of governance. The results should be dramatic!

The Journal seems to be pushing this kind of bullshit even harder than usual lately. Wonder why?

Friday, October 18, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


It's a zeitgeist thing. Perhaps you can relate! 

•   I've unleashed another issue of my newsletter, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, for which subscribers pay big money (well, money anyway) but which you lot can have free 'cause I'm socialistic. It's my vision of how Mick Mulvaney and Trump post-mortemed Mulvaney's insane press conference over a nice bowl of Dr. Bornstein's formula. (I don't believe the obviously planted story that Trump was angry with Mulvaney's presser and made him go back and fix it -- I assume he wanted Mulvaney to be as belligerent about his criminality as he was, as part of his longtime process of numbing the public to his grifts. If anything Mulvaney probably pushed to have his second version on the public record in case some law enforcement agency finally gets the drop on this mob.)

•   After yesterday's fuckfest of Trump corruption -- more evidence of quid pro quo with Ukraine, selling out the Kurds, Trump awarding his own hotel a nice fat G7 contract, Rick Perry (recently implicated in the Ukraine mess) resigning, etc. -- what does Jim Geraghty have for his National Review roundup?

- How conservatives should love Mark Zuckerberg for refusing to vet his ads, which would be totalitarian ("Mark Zuckerberg Refuses to Bend the Knee");

- How Trump's "Impeachment Trial Could Come at the Worst Time" for the Democrats in the Senate (no speculation as to how Trump's impeachment trial, however, would affect Trump);

- "Amazon Decides It’s Had Enough Socialism in Seattle Politics" and is flooding the local city council races with money for corporatist candidates, which is totally not the "crony capitalism" Geraghty normally bitches about.

And in an addendum Geraghty applauds a former head of Planned Parenthood for
recognizing moral complexities and moral discomfort, at a time when the Democratic party and her previous employer are increasingly adamant that the issue isn’t complicated, and that any limitation under any circumstances represents a draconian patriarchal injustice. Wen sounds like the kind of pro-choice advocate that a pro-lifer could have a good conversation with, and in this era, that’s a small miracle.
and that conversation would start with "here's why you're a babykiller" and the pro-lifer throwing a jar of festuses at her.

•   Here, have another treat from the newsletter jar! This one's about what that rumored new conservative network might look like.

•   It's pretty axiomatic that you can judge someone by how they treat people who are serving them. Well:

Now, it's no shock that Fox News people would be total dicks, but I would take it further and say that -- while there are some nice people with conservative views -- as conservatism disintegrates as an ideology and becomes ever more clearly the "series of irritable mental gestures" Lionel Trilling described, it seems just being a specific kind of asshole is nearly all that conservatism demands. I mean, what do they believe in? Good stewardship of the public fisc? Come the fuck on. This quote from Yuval Levin in Jonah Goldberg's newsletter The Dispatch shows, I assume inadvertently, how ridiculous that is:
“The most conservative—fiscally conservative and otherwise—Republican members had a sense that they were there on behalf of a certain kind of voter, and then it turned out that it was their voters who were the first to go for Trump. And Trump talked about none of the things that they thought those voters cared a lot about,” Levin said. “They’re very insecure about their understanding of the political circumstances that they’re living through right now. And part of what that insecurity means is they just don’t bring up stuff that they’re not sure about.”
LOL. Imagine goons like Louie Gohmert and Susan Collins wandering the halls of Congress and having the existential crisis described here. "My voters don't care if we tax-cut our Treasury into the Grand Canyon so long as none of the gains go to black people? My whole life has been a lie!" And what else are they supposed to believe in? Freedom for the Kurds? "All men are created equal"? Who among them could even say it with a straight face? No, the jig is up and the grift is everything. And who's going to attracted to such a cause? Greedy, self-centered assholes. Hell, I wouldn't be shocked if Trump drops a bit into his roadshow about how servers don't deserve tips -- knowing that, unlike his idiot fans, he never has to worry about his next cup of coffee coming with a saliva infusion, because for the modern conservative even one's colleagues are just there to be conned.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

YOUNGEST LIVING REAGAN DEMOCRAT TELLS ALL.

The New York Times does it again!
Why Are Democrats Jilting G.O.P. Voters Who Want to Like Them?
I just want to like you, Demmycrats, but you insist on killing babies and letting immigrants see a doctor when they're sick, says Ericka Andersen -- described by the Times only as "a freelance writer in Indianapolis," but, David Klion notices, a longtime rightwing operative, writer for The Federalist, and former "Online Media Director for GOP House Leadership  under Vice-President Mike Pence." So you can tell she's ready to consider voting for a Democrat!

Andersen:
Under President Trump, a small slice of America’s electorate seeks a reason to call the Democratic Party home for the very first time. But without adequate hospitality to welcome them, they will disappear quickly.
Is she talking about those Trump voters the Times breathlessly apotheosizes every couple of weeks? I get the impression Andersen seeks to rep a more upscale conservative constituency -- the kind who don't fly Confederate flags but post endlessly on Nextdoor about black hoodlums dragging down their real estate values.
With a few exceptions on particular policies, the Democratic presidential field neglects abundant pools of potential Democrat converts, leaving persuadable audiences — like independents and Trump-averse, anti-abortion Christians (some of whom are white evangelicals) — without options.
The exception is Representative Tulsi Gabbard, the candidate making the most visible effort to help moderates and newbies feel included.
Holy fuck -- she's pushing Reason magazine's favorite Democrat! True, a lot of conservatives who cheered Gabbard for challenging Obama's foreign policy fall off the wagon whenever she claps back at Trump's -- see the mean MAGA comments to her condemnation of Trump turning our armed forces into Saudi rent-a-cops -- but Gabbard has something that Andersen and dozens like her will always love -- the potential to fuck up the Democrats in 2020! She's a Jill Stein they can jerk off to.

It seems Andersen mainly likes Gabbard -- despite Gabbard's positions like Medicare for All which, I'm pretty sure, the former Pence operative does not endorse -- because abortion:
She has a progressive agenda that includes Medicare for All, but she’s also one of only two candidates who supports abortion restrictions in the third trimester. “Unless a woman’s life or severe health consequences is at risk,” she told the conservative podcast host Dave Rubin, “then there shouldn’t be abortion in the third trimester.”
If this op-ed achieves anything, it will be to make more Democrats dislike Gabbard. Which will make more Republicans like her! It's two-and-a-half-D chess.
Appearing on right-leaning media is another clue that she’s serious about attracting new voters (something Andrew Yang, the businessman candidate, has also prioritized.) 
Oh God, that asshole. Anyway, why should Democrats nominate an abortion moderate, what would they gain? Andersen (author of, I swear to God, "Peter Buttigieg Loves God’s Creation When It’s A Rainbow But Not When It’s A Baby") does the non-math:
The voters are there, according to FiveThirtyEight. Younger white evangelical Christians now view Mr. Trump far less favorably than their parents’ generation: 60 percent of those 44 and under saw the president as “very” or “somewhat” favorable, compared with 80 percent of those 45 or older. 
I have a sneaking suspicion that of you're a young white evangelical Christian who doesn't like Trump, you're a Rod Dreher "King Cyrus" type who will cry about Trump's vulgarity all the way to the polling station to vote for him. (Either that or you're secretly gay and it's gonna go off like a bomb at Thanksgiving so have your traveling shoes polished, honey.)
And independents leaning right, who may have voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, hover around 10 percent of the electorate. There’s no guarantee that this translates to voting for the Democratic candidate in 2020...
LOL
...but speaking as a member of this group, I think the opportunity exists where it once didn’t.
Speaking as someone not born yesterday, GTFOOH. We're not (Andersen actually writes) "quick to placate culture warriors who demonize those with traditional beliefs about sex and gender" -- we actually think gay and trans people are cool and have rights and we're not going to trade them away so you'll maybe decide to vote Democrat for the first time in your awful Jesus freak life.

Friday, October 11, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Blue? Here you go.

•   There's not much Whatshisname can do to rev my disgust beyond the current eternal 100%, but his whole bit about how the homeless should be shoved out of sight because they hurt the "prestige" of cities -- because that's on-brand for him, I guess, in both its stupefying callousness and the warped notion it betrays of what people want out of city life -- does push the envelope. Fortunately his enablers manage to make it somewhat entertaining. Behold, Armstrong Williams -- yes, he's still alive, still a terrible wingnut grifter, and of course writing for Ben Shapiro -- purporting to describe his recent trip to San Francisco. First, attend his "before" picture of Baghdad by the Bay:
A decade ago, you could ask someone what they pictured when they thought of the Golden Gate City: the Golden Gate Bridge, of course, as well as beautiful Victorian row houses cloaked in fog, clanging trolleys, a bohemian vibe, a city that took pride in the legendary football team of Super Bowl champions Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, the thunderous power of San Francisco Giants home run slugger Barry Bonds.
Those were certainly the associations I had as I disembarked at the airport and began a brief business trip in the city. 
See, already he's full of shit. This is like a corporate brochure where you start with the traditional stereotypes, then realize your audience is a bunch of chunkheads who'd think "ugh, Victorian, ain't that sumpin' old, I wanna live in a gleaming tower like my hero Donald Trump" -- though they might like the idea of the Golden Gate if they think it's real gold! -- and so ladle in a bunch of sports bullshit (ancient sports bullshit at that -- I guess he's never heard of the Golden State Warriors) because what's he going to tell them? That the city is rich? Which it is -- and that's the actual scandal of all its homelessness! That there's enough money to house everybody, if only capitalism would allow it! --  but in the Trump fantasy these assholes push, the cities must have given all their money to bums in the form of welfare.

Anyway Williams gets down to it:
What I discovered shocked the conscience and literally left me sick to my stomach. 
I walked the streets near the corporate headquarters of Twitter and Uber. These two tech giants are examples of how San Francisco has transformed itself into a hub of technology and innovation. Scurrying along near the building and gliding past on skateboards were young and optimistic men and women dressed casually as they reported for work. A nearby gym was packed with tattooed exercisers pumping iron as electronic dance music thumped from the speakers.
He's right -- I am sick to my stomach! Oh wait, he meant bums:
...I looked on in disbelief as a man held his shirt aside as a woman with matted hair shoved a syringe into his neck, plunging illegal narcotics into his veins. Around the corner, an encampment of homeless people milled about next to a half-dozen tents that had been set up on the sidewalk right next to the entrance of an office building. 
A barefoot man with open sores oozing blood and pus wandered aimlessly in the street, his eyes glazed over and his mouth opening to emit sounds somewhere between howls and moans. Crack pipes were passed among filthy people squatting on the sidewalk.
How'd he leave out the cockroaches, the smell of urine and Thunderbird, and some stumblin' mumblin' dude named Dakota asking him for a quarter? It's like he's not even trying! But:
I could only stare and shake my head as a man pulled down his pants and defecated in a tree box next to a busy road as people walked past and cars whizzed by.
At least he got feces in there! The fans demand it!

Then Armstrong gives us an alleged "unabashed far-left liberal who backed Barack Obama and today supports Bernie Sanders" who tells him, I swear to God, "We need our own [Rudy] Giuliani to come and clean San Francisco up." Maybe San Fran's Rudy is hanging out with Russian mobsters like the real one. Thanks, Williams, for brightening up this depressing homeless-hate with your hilarious crap writing!

•   And hey everybody, sorry for light alicublog posting; besides the Goddamn Job, I am busy all the goddamn time writing my newsletter, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. It's a paying proposition, but here are a couple of freebies for you from the past week: First, an examination of one Talking Heads song that's always fascinated me (I used to write about music here and also for others and would kind of like to get back to it); second, another of my Oval Office playlets, this one about Trump's boys coming by for some horseplay.

•   American foreign policy has been shit for decades; seen ungenerously, it has always sucked, and only civilization threats like the Confederacy and Hitler have distracted our leaders from straight land grabs like the Mexican-American War, wars of empire like the Spanish-American War, and client state slapdowns like all the little ones in this century. So it figures that libertarians are glibertarians about Trump getting some U.S. troops out of the way so Turkey can massacre the Kurds. For them, anti-imperialism is gestural, so doing Fall of Saigon Middle East Edition is a win even though we're still leaving forces in the region to regulate our interests (oil, Saudi gelt).

Trump of course has no idea about any of this. He only knows who's paying him, and acting accordingly, with a ham-handed attempt to make it look not so terrible:
Mr. Trump acquiesced to the Turkish operation in a call with Turkey’s president on Sunday, agreeing to move American troops out of Turkey’s way despite opposition from his own State Department and military. 
On Wednesday, hours after the operation began, he condemned it, calling it “a bad idea.” 
By that time, Turkish fighter jets were streaking through the sky over Syrian towns, while artillery shells boomed overhead. Traffic was jammed with terrified civilians fleeing south in trucks piled high with possessions and children.
What a maroon. It's interesting that the rightwing propaganda trust is letting out the string for conservatives to tut-tut the president they all, I remind you, still support despite the growing bill of particulars against him. ("Member of US Special Forces says, 'I am ashamed for the first time in my career,'" LOL. Also LOL: Fox referring to the guy as a "hardened service member.") I assume it has nothing to do with their voters or viewers, 99% of whom wouldn't piss on a Kurd or any other brownskin if he were on fire, and more to do with market share or pole position when the post-Trump jockeying for news show slots opens up. I tell you, I always thought that poster about making the military hold bake sales was stupid, but now I like it (only I'd change it to "military contractors").