Friday, July 10, 2020


I can't believe the first version of this I ever heard was Derek and the Dominoes'.
And it took me all this time to look this one up!

•  It was a good week at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, my highly successful and attractive newsletter. Open to the general public are my portrayal of a Presidential focus group on the statues to be included in the Garden of Heroes, and a lively discussion on whether the current conservative movement is mainly stupid or evil. Enjoy!

•  This is a pretty good example of rightwing bullshit in action, from Jordan Lancaster at the Daily Caller:
Black Lives Matter Totally Shuts Down Nation’s Capital On Independence Day
Now, I live in the District, and I went walking and biking around most of the day on July 4th, and saw only a little protest action -- a teach-in next to the Supreme Court, and the usual activities at Black Lives Matter Plaza. I know there were other actions throughout the day, but the point is, DC is ten miles square -- if it were "Shut Down" the citizens would notice.

The lede:
Black Lives Matter protests broke out in the nation’s capital on Independence Day resulting in the highway between Washington, D.C. and Virginia being shut down...
Commuters driving from work or from the fireworks event at the National Monument found themselves stuck in the city. Roads were closed off all around the nation’s capital as the protesters took over the highway.
Trapped! Like rats! Except if you used Route 29 or 420 or 650 or Connecticut Avenue or Wisconsin Avenue or etc. etc.  Lancaster cites a tweet ("Does anyone know how to get out of here") showing a map of lockdowns around the west end of the Mall -- without noting that these are not demonstrator-induced; Park Police fenced and blocked off practically everything from the Washington Monument to the Tidal Basin for Trump's fireworks' show.

It's not a shock these guys tried to convey to outlanders -- who are their real audience -- that DC was chaos; they continue to refer to every protest as "riots" and "looting" weeks after any riots or looting took place. The idea is to terrify suburbanites into voting for their increasingly unpopular party. It worked in 1968! Unfortunately most of the people it worked on have died, and Republican policies will probably finish off the rest of them soon.

Thursday, July 09, 2020


More proof that conservatives are devolving to cult status -- Helen Andrews at  The American Conservative:
A Lesson From Robert E. Lee
We can't find a reason to honor the Civil War general because we've forgotten why we needed him in the first place.
What do you mean "we," white woman? Andrews laments all the statues, Confederate as well as Non-, that have been torn down or attacked; we've heard that before. What makes her approach different from others (well, outside League of the South types anyway) is that she isn't drawing the line at Columbus or Founding Fathers, she's drawing it at Robert E. Lee: 
For me, a line was crossed this week when the faculty at Washington & Lee University voted to demand the school drop the second half of its name to erase its affiliation with Robert E. Lee. The moderate conservative’s justification for why it’s good to tear down Confederate statues but not those of the Founding Fathers is that Confederates are honored for defending slavery whereas the Founding Fathers are honored for other things despite their slave-owning. Whatever the general validity of that maneuver, it is obviously wrong here. Lee was president of the university; he gave it its distinctive character. His service as its leader was one of the great public-spirited acts of his late career, the most enduring of his many postwar gestures of patriotism and reconciliation.
If you're thinking Andrews will stick with the narrow claim that, sure, Lee committed treason in the defense of slavery but look at his Other Good Works, you read on and learn that it is Lee's personal honor as evidenced by his fight in that cause that makes him worthy to loom over the black and white citizens of America: He fought for the Confederacy because "his loyalty was to Virginia, and he had to follow his state."

Of course, as Adam Serwer has shown, Lee also believed with his fellow Confederates in the "subjugation" of blacks, which may have made separating from his Northern friends a little easier to bear, and he didn't mind whipping his own slaves for running away or splitting up their families for profit. But what has that to do with honor and virtue? That's just good business and household management, and it's not as if they were white.

In contrast, Andrews tells us, there were villains on other side, like this damned Yankee:
Virtue shines best by contrast, so consider Lee next to someone who was his opposite in every way: Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner. Even his defenders must admit that Sumner was a man of deep principle but absolutely no honor. He would break any promise, betray any confidence, reverse any position to serve his liberal causes. 
(The liberal cause he is best known for, by the way, is the end of slavery.)
He once won a Senate vote by persuading a Republican nay, who had paired with a Democratic yea who was deathly ill, to break his vow to abstain. He used the Constitution as a cudgel against his Southern opponents while feeling himself at perfect liberty to ignore any provision he disagreed with, on the grounds that nothing “against the Divine Law,” as he liberally interpreted it, could be binding.
So Sumner, deranged by this liberal notion of emancipation, behaved without honor, suh -- and look where it got us: A lot of black people running around free, and some of them and their scalawag white friends are tearing down statues! If only virtue had been rewarded in 1865! This is why patriots resist.

To my surprise, toward the end Andrews tries to get cute, and says if you don't want a statue of Lee you can pick some other honorable slavemaster:
So choose one. That is my proposal. The monument-destroying left should pick a statue they genuinely hate and say: leave it up.
I know not what course others may take, but my offer is this: Nothing.

Friday, July 03, 2020


Brothers and sisters,
There is always a reason to feel good.

•   I keep hearing conservatives crying over the firing or defenestration from executive positions of people accused of racist or sexist remarks. We heard a lot of this during the alleged persecutions of Brendan Eich and James Damore, and are hearing it now over such removals as that of student journalist Adrianna San Marco for dismissing institutional racism in a column and that of Boeing exec Niel Golightly for disputing the role of women in the military.

Of course, when it goes the other way, the conservative free speech squad goes silent:
Springfield police detective Florissa Fuentes fired over pro-Black Lives Matter social media post 
...The image showed her niece protesting in Atlanta. Flames leap up in the background and her niece holds a sign that reads: “Shoot the F--- Back.” A friend’s sign reads: “Who do we call when the murderer wears the badge?”... 
“After I posted it, I started getting calls and texts from co-workers,” Fuentes said during an interview. “I was initially confused, but then I realized they thought I was being anti-cop. I wasn’t. I was just supporting my niece’s activism. I had no malicious intent, and I wouldn’t put a target on my own back. I’m out there on the streets every day like everyone else.”
Fuentes is probably going to have a harder time bouncing back from her dismissal than the Boeing executive. (As for San Marco, she already has a gig with LifeZette. Wingnut welfare to the rescue!)

The PD probably had the right to fire Fuentes -- but if it does, then so does just about any employer have the right to fire any employee for their speech, even outside working hours -- from The Tampa Bay Times:
It played out several times in Tampa Bay in recent days. 
An employee announced publicly they’d been fired for participating in the widespread protests for racial justice. 
Their former employer, facing a deluge of phone calls, weaponized Yelp reviews and cries for them to be sued under the U.S. Constitution, said the firing had nothing to do with any protests. 
Florida lawyers say it does not matter which side you believe. 
Florida is an “at-will” state. “That means you can be fired for a good reason, for a bad reason, or no reason at all,” said Cynthia Sass, an employment lawyer in Tampa. “When it comes to private employers and your First Amendment rights, they don’t apply.”
Here's my modest proposal: End at-will employment. Let every employer and employee contract, and let their speech rights be protected under law. Then, when on your own time, you can not only support your cause -- whether Black Lives Matter or the Klan -- but you can bitch out your boss, just like the Founders wanted. Everyone shall tweet under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid!

I know to a dead certainty that conservatives will never take that offer. Because the truth is they aren't keen for free speech at all -- they're just keen to protect bigots, because bigotry is all they've got.

•   Been a while since I twigged you good people to freebies at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, my 5-day-a-week subscription newsletter, so here are two: notes from a secret White House meeting, and my address to my fellow honkies. Enjoy!

•   Here's an Independence Day treat: If you feel vaguely guilty looking down on conservatives for their dumb, dishonest arguments, and feel you owe them at least some respectful attention, feast your eyes on this from Paulina Enck at The Federalist:
Why It Might Be Time To Retire ‘Born In The USA’ From Your 4th Of July Barbecue
Not even kidding.
A staple of the holiday for as long as I can remember is Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 classic, “Born in the USA.” However, this song should probably be retired as an Independence Day anthem, due to less-than-patriotic lyrics. 
Play “Born in the USA” at a party and one thing will become abundantly clear: most people only know the eponymous words to the refrain. The lyrical dissonance allows the upbeat tune and instrumentation to mask the darkness of the lyrics. Rather than the patriotic anthem it is perceived to be, Springsteen’s lyrics describe the hardships Vietnam veterans faced returning home after the war. 
The song’s first lines kickstart a song incredibly critical of the country...
It can't be, you think -- even other wingnuts who praise the song, from O.G. wingnut fraud George F. Will to Kyle Smith, usually pretend it's about how great Reagan's America is. Surely this is a Poe, shoved past Ben Domenech's attention by sleeper-cell editors! But Enck is a longtime culture-war crank and she is seriously trying to convince her fellow conservatives not to play the song on the Fourth of July.

Fans of false consciousness theory will note that Enck wants to have it both ways -- if you don't take her advice, she suggests, maybe that's okay too, because if an artifact offends our delicate conservative sensibilities we can just pick a new meaning for it on the grounds that we can't make out what it's saying:
There is something to be said about the song taking on new meaning, lyrics aside. Springsteen’s diction through the verses, while stylistic and enjoyable, leaves much to be desired in terms of clarity. And most people, when they listen, they are left with patriotic fervor, not a desire to upend the American system.
As I've been saying for decades now, conservatives have an obsession with making anything they like -- movies, songs, choc-o-mut ice creams -- into an endorsement of their politics, and now that Trump has made "serious" conservatism into a joke, they're just getting worse.

Thursday, July 02, 2020


Even with the departure of Jonah Goldberg, there remain some spectacularly awful writers at National Review like Victor Davis Hanson and David Harsanyi. But in these days of desperate last-ditch Trump defense, the less spectacular, more shoulder-to-the-wheel propagandist Jim Geraghty deserves more attention.

Geraghty had of late been working the popular conservative trope that protests are causing the COVID-19 spread. He may have tumbled that this line isn't working, because earlier this week he seemed to back off, saying protests "may not be the primary factor spreading the virus around the U.S. in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean they were not a factor at all," an obvious intermediate step to dropping the claim entirely.

Geraghty's got a lulu today. First he plumps what he calls "Maybe the Most Jaw-Droppingly Good Jobs Report in U.S. History" -- a pitch for the hometeam crowd, certainly, since Americans are starting to look at job reports the same way they look at the stock market: "Good news" that does not seem to reflect the reality they're actually living.

Perhaps sensing this, Geraghty gets right to work on bothsidesing the coronavirus catastrophe:
You can point to no shortage of policy mistakes made by President Trump, or governors such as Andrew Cuomo of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, or New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
If that doesn't have you convinced that the president who kept telling America the virus was no big deal and stole PPE from the states is no more guilty than three leaders whose COVID curves actually went down (though Michigan's has recently ticked up a little), Geraghty has something else to sell you -- The reason the virus is out of control here is actually America's greatness
Some countries may have responded to this virus better than we did, but they are generally smaller, less populous, had experience with a previous serious virus, and/or have populations that are more trusting of their government and more inclined to obey strict rules and to assent to government monitoring of their movements and activities that Americans are unlikely ever to accept.
We're self-centered assholes who know the leaders we elect will screw us -- that's why we can't perform the simple public health measures that are saving the rest of the civilized world! [Pounds chest] We're "a country literally founded by people who violently rejected the existing legal and political authority when they deemed it unjust or draconian," says Geraghty, and that's why we don't need no stinkin' masks, whattaya say to that, Karen?

Having failed to dispel our Springtime-for-Hitler stare, Geraghty changes tack, seeking to convince us that lockdowns killed George Floyd who you liberals say you care about so much:
If the economy had not been shut down in Minnesota, would George Floyd have been out of work? Would he have allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill and then been in that particular place and time where former police officer Derek Chauvin would arrest him and hold his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes?
In fact, there wouldn't be any protests at all, Geraghty seems to say, if the lockdowns didn't have the kids so darned bored:
I don’t think we fully appreciate how much the still -- ongoing protests are, for young people, the only game in town. Just what else is there to do in still-heavily-locked-down America? They can’t go to the movies. They can’t go to a ballgame... 
In a normal summer, how much of young people’s mental energy is spent on enjoyable leisure, from the NBA to pickup games of sports to Marvel movies and other summer blockbusters?... 
Why are we shocked that young people are flocking to house parties and bars at night and protests during the day? What else have we left them to do?
Ah youth -- when summer is one long roundelay of partying in bars and then yelling "all cops are bastards" out in the warm sun! I expect National Review's geriatric subscribers, whose idea of protests haven't much evolved from Students Wildly Indignant about Everything, will buy it. And isn't that the important thing? At this point it's not like conservatives are trying to convince anyone but themselves.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


Speaking as a longtime observer of the conservative movement, let me say this: It has gone off the rails at such hyperspeed that, really, who even thinks of it as a movement anymore? The people who currently write for National Review, RedState, et alia, and columnists like Ross Douthat and Michelle Malkin may call themselves conservatives, but they don't promote anything like a coherent political philosophy -- unless white supremacy and donor service count as such.

And they don't advance ideas -- not even the shitty ones promoted by the "reformicons" in the days before Trump, with his open graft and brutality, made them look ridiculous -- but instead promote memes and conspiracy theories to try and keep their candidates in office and their larders full.

A big one these days is the crackpot idea that the national protests of the past month have caused the COVID-19 spikes we've been seeing in some states. The available evidence says otherwise, as those of us who live in major protest centers like New York City and Washington, D.C. who have seen their COVID-19 numbers go down will recognize; in fact, it's practically an object lesson -- if you shut down big disease vectors like bars, restaurants, and concert halls (as both polities have done until very recently), having protests in which nearly all participants are masked and considerate appears not to make too much of difference.

I mean, DC's just ten miles square and has had demonstrations of one kind or another every day for a month. And look:

Minnesota, where the George Floyd murder kicked it all off, has seen a rise in cases -- but, unlike NYC and DC, their state accelerated its reopening in early June, "allowing movie theaters, bowling alleys, gyms and pools to open to the public" and loosening restrictions on bars and restaurants, per KSTP.

Not dispositive but I have yet to hear a better explanation. Nonetheless trolls on Twitter -- including celebrity trolls like Ari Fleischer -- and elsewhere declare that the incredible vertical spikes in states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona are not due to their famous recent surges in bar-cramming and water sports, but due to protests. And it's not just obvious trolls -- Michael Brendan Dougherty, a tradcath National Review writer who usually commiserates with his fellow ecclesiastics about man's fallen state of liberalism (here's a ripe example in which MBD laments that by talking with a "potty-mouth," Kirsten Gillibrand is becoming just like Trump, whereas godly guys like Dougherty merely support Trump's policies, which is blessed in the sight of the Lord), is now putting his shoulder to the protest-COVID wheel.

Dougherty attacks Paul Krugman's assertion that Republican malfeasance has caused America's world-leading COVID wave, which would seem beyond dispute -- considering that the top Republican is Donald Trump, whose grotesque malingering on national COVID-19 policy, promotion of bleach and chloroquine as cures, and finally complete peaceing-out on the process as our numbers shot into oblivion, are the textbook definition of management by depraved indifference.

But Dougherty argues that New York -- which is full of liberals, see! -- is really to blame for "seeding the rest of the nation" with the virus because they let foreigners into the United States, under cover of being some sort of port. Also, "New York’s leadership, addled by partisanship, reacted to Donald Trump’s travel restrictions to and from China (and, later, Iran) by tacking in the opposite direction." In defense of this bizarre idea, Dougherty links to a tweet by a New York City Council member celebrating the  Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown, on... February 9.

(If that vaguely racist bit about associating Chinatown with China -- the country where what Trump calls "Kung-flu" came from -- looks familiar to you, congratulations, you've been paying attention.)

But the meat of Dougherty's argument is that Republican governors yelling "Belly up to the bar, suckers!" doesn't cause virus spikes because protests do.  First of all, "The New York Times reports that it is the youngest cohorts of adults who make up most of the latest cases." And what do young people do? Cram into bars and clubs the second they're open because they think their youth makes them indestructible? No! They all go to protests because they're SJW snowflakes who are "the least likely to be Republicans or to take their health cues from Donald Trump." (I guess that last bit means they're not likely to become morbidly obese and spray on a tan to look healthy.)

Dougherty blames his lack of evidence for this assertion on Democrats failing to have contact tracers ask test subjects if they've been to demonstrations -- and libs say they "are so concerned about science," LOL! The idea that, when you want to get people to volunteer for tests, you try not to act like an FBI front organization surreptitiously identifying protestors seems never to have occurred to Dougherty. Also I guess the COVID charts for New York City and DC aren't loading for him; he should call the IT Department.

Anyway, you're going to be seeing a lot of this bullshit, not only in the fever swamps but also on the loftiest perchs in wingnutdom.

UPDATE. I should also mention Megan McArdle's contribution: Back on June 5 she did her best to pre-denounce the protests as disease vectors, passive-aggressively insisting that if they didn't cause COVID spread, then all that stuff about social distancing was malarkey:
In a few weeks, one of two things will have happened. Either covid-19 cases will abruptly reverse their decline in some of America’s largest cities, and we will know that they were seeded by the days of rage we are living through . . . or they won’t. Either way, social distancing is over. 
In the happy scenario, the protests will have performed an enormous public service, even beyond agitating for justice. They are basically running a natural experiment that scientists could never have ethically undertaken: Do massive outside gatherings — including singing, chanting, screaming and coughing... 
Boy, it's like she was there, huh?
...— spread covid-19, or not? Along with evidence from the Memorial Day weekend parties at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, they may well demonstrate, once and for all, that the risk of spreading covid-19 outdoors is negligible.  
Pretending not to know the difference between marches and demonstrations where nearly everyone is masked and water parks full of people packing their faces with food and booze is why McArdle gets the big bucks. Anyway by her June 19 column she seemed to have abandoned this trope, worrying instead that under DC's upcoming Phase 2 "Washingtonians will soon spend a lot more time indoors with strangers, including in activities, such as exercising at the gym, that seem particularly prone to spreading the coronavirus" -- a concern I share! But if the increase in bar and gym traffic is accompanied by a rise in COVID cases, expect another column about how social justice gave us all a superbug.

UPDATE 2. Noah Rothman tries the same bullshit at Commentary, saying it stands to reasons that "leading young people into the streets to crowd each other and issue spittle-flecked screams of outrage into the air contributed to the virus’s resurgence as much as any other social behavior." He says reports that say otherwise are lying ("'No association was found,' they determined falsely"), though he shows no proof to the contrary, and even says reports that demonstrators tend to be good about masking -- which I have observed myself through a month of DC protests -- are also lies,  because protestors are young and "a May survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control found that people age 18-29 were the least likely to 'always' 'wear a cloth face covering when in public.'" And why would the protestors' behavior be any different than that of the kids chilling at The Lake of the Ozarks? Except, of course, more spittle-flecked!

Thursday, June 25, 2020


Byron York, longtime National Review propagandist now working for the malignant Washington Examiner, does a weird update of the old "you love blacks so much well what if they mug and rape you" shtick conservatives used to haul out whenever white liberals tried to be nice to anyone other than themselves:
WOKE DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. One of the most extraordinary stories to come out of the recent national unrest following the death of George Floyd came from a leafy neighborhood in Minneapolis called Powderhorn Park. After the Floyd incident, the residents, who are largely white progressives, decided that they would no longer call police if they needed help or if crime threatened them. "Doing so, they believed, would add to the pain that black residents of Minneapolis were feeling and could put them in danger," the New York Times reported. 
Word got around. Homeless people flooded into the neighborhood park -- there are now about 300 living in tents. Some are mentally ill. Some are addicted to drugs or alcohol. "Their presence has drawn heavy car traffic into the neighborhood, some from drug dealers," the Times reported. "At least two residents have overdosed in the encampment and had to be taken away in ambulances." 
That has made some of the residents a bit nervous. Of course they want to take a stand against the police -- what progressive doesn't these days? -- but it really is a bit scary. So the new neighbors are not quite as welcome as they were just a week or two ago. "I'm not being judgmental," one resident told the Times, explaining why she not longer let her children play alone in the park. "It's not personal. It's just not safe."
Ho ho, silly liberals! And one of them was recently robbed at gunpoint -- the gun suggests to me his assailants were not homeless bums -- and feels bad about getting the cops involved. York has a laugh over this, omitting what the guy said when the Times asked him about that: "Yeah I know and yeah it was scary but the cops didn’t really have much to add after I called them." (Come to think of it, how many of us ever get anything from the cops after a robbery besides a strong sense that nothing can be done?)

But the signal offense in York's column is that he seems to think the homeless people didn't exist before the liberals' "wokeness" summoned them -- like they were spontaneously generated. I can guarantee you they did exist, but were existing elsewhere, almost certainly in a less privileged community. York is ragging on the residents because they didn't have the sense to use their privilege to send the homeless to go bother someone who lacked their civic muscle and thus couldn't force the bums out of their neighborhood.

I guess the idea that, instead of inflicting the misery of our most desperately poor citizens on the next-most-desperately-poor citizens, we might address the homeless problem directly by, for example, giving them homes is too ridiculous for York even too contemplate. You know, like giving everyone health care.

Meanwhile the economy just shit out another million-and-a-half unemployed, many of whom will be swelling the ranks fo the unhoused shortly. I wonder how long blow-dried toffs like York will be able to keep laughing it off.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


When you think of conservative Twitter trolls, what do you envision? Confederate flags, poor spelling and punctuation, tendentious arguments? Yes, I've seen all that, but this guy I met today kind of gave me a new perspective.

You may recognize the similarity of his avatar to an image that is very popular among anti-Semites:

I asked the guy, "Why say 'Estonian conservative' when 'neo-Nazi' is so much shorter?" and he said, ha, isn't that just like a liberal!

When I showed him that I had his avatar figured out, he wondered aloud why I was making a big deal out of it and insisted that I had no grounds to call him a neo-Nazi.

("Happy merchant," btw, is a well-known name for the anti-Semitic thing. Oh, and apparently the "littlepony" thing now has some Nazi provenance as well.)

You can imagine how it went after that -- he slid from professions that he'd been slandered as a neo-Nazi to identifying the outfit in which he dressed his anti-Semitic caricature as that of the Estonian Waffen-SS in World War II, of whom he was very proud ("You have no idea what these men did for their people, families and country. More than you ever will"). Long story short, the guy approves of the SS because they fought for Hitler against the Russians, who he really hates -- though whether he hates them more than Jews, or thinks of them as the same thing, I didn't catch.

I tagged out early but watched in fascination as he kept this routine up with other people, and was struck by the Trumpian approach -- first, the denial of his obvious self-association with repulsive bigotry; then, when discovered, asking what the big deal is and why I was triggered; then, lengthy justifications of his Nazi cosplay. Oh, and "You're the real Nazi [laughing emojis]."

I wouldn't go so far as to say that guys like this and the other Trump fans believe exactly the same things all down the line, but it's something to consider that very, very far right people -- including peek-a-boo Nazis from Eastern Europe -- seem to be picking up the same lingo and style of argument.

UPDATE. @ControlCentral1 reminds me of the Sartre quote on how anti-Semitic arguments work ("Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies..."). Now it all makes sense!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020


As an old-fashioned liberal, I really only want what's best for us all, so when conservatives are upset by a rare affirmation of human rights by the Supreme Court I feel morally comfortable laughing at them.

The Bostock v. Clayton County decision, which suggests that transsexual Americans have the same Constitutional protections as the rest of us, has blown conservatives' tiny minds. Rod Dreher is of course writhing in agony and invoking Orwell and the Soviet Union; folks at The Federalist are fanning the flames in their own hair ("SCOTUS’s Transgender Ruling Firebombs The Constitution"); conservatives who cheered the appointment of Neil Gorsuch are mewling like toddlers whose toy no longer pleases. Those with mainstream perches to defend are covering their asses -- Ben Shapiro, for example, denounces the decision ("throws religious liberty, free speech, and employment law into complete turmoil") while telling everyone (falsely) that "I've been libertarian on same-sex marriage" (though one could make the argument that "libertarian" is a synonym for "full of shit"). 

My favorite so far is Dan McLaughlin, née Baseball Crank, doing the riddle-me-this-Batman bit at National Review:
Consider: What if the funeral home also employed a drag queen — a biological male (like Stephens) who identified as male (unlike Stephens) but dressed in women’s clothes (like Stephens)? The funeral home could say — truthfully — that it does not allow men to dress as women, and since the drag queen employee does not identify as a woman, it could argue that the drag queen was treated the same as any other man would be. Under the standard Gorsuch announces, Stephens and the drag queen are both biological men dressed as women. Could only one of them could sue? To reach that result, the Court has to go beyond the simple syllogism and decide the underlying question: Who is a woman? Yet...
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside bullshit! Try to imagine giving a rat's ass about this. Anyway, congrats to my trans friends.

Monday, June 15, 2020


Conservatives have been trying all kinds of anti-protest yak to try and counteract America's sudden realization that cops are out of control and black people bear the brunt -- like the traditional Cop Worship thing, the "boo hoo protestors cancelled Gone With the Wind" thing, etc. But I think their big opportunity will be blaming protests for COVID-19 spikes. This is from a mailer I got from National Review today, a "news editors' roundup" -- Jack Crowe cites the Tom Hanks COVID test results and the NBA season cancellation publicized March 11 as what "turned the disease from a media novelty into a visceral reality," then:
Just as it took one day and two relatively trivial developments to awaken Americans to the scale of the threat, it took the events of one day for them to forget. 
Memorial Day, the day George Floyd was killed by a white Minneapolis Police officer, changed everything. Suddenly, mentions of social distancing and masks, which had dominated news coverage for weeks, disappeared from the big cable shows and the front pages, replaced by coverage of the civil unrest sweeping the country. Gone, too, was the opprobrium meted out to recalcitrant “lockdown protesters,” who selfishly refused to stay home as an act of shared sacrifice. Politicians at the federal and state level, who had been appearing daily to remind their constituents about the importance of social distancing, were suddenly celebrating the open flouting of the rules they had imposed.
Now, normal people reading this might wonder: Didn't something else happen on Memorial Day -- namely, a whole lot of states, many of them red and not really protest hotspots, had opened up bars and beaches for the holiday weekend? Isn't that much more likely to be the cause of COVID spikes -- especially in states (cited in the mailer!) like Arkansas, Oklahoma, and South Carolina?

You're gonna love Crowe's pitch there:
These case spikes may not be directly attributable to the recent protests. But as the NBA cancellation and Tom Hanks’s announcement demonstrates, the public is fickle, responding to high-profile cues rather than CDC announcements about which phase of reopening their state is in. 
If Americans across the country turned on their televisions in recent weeks, they saw virtually every major city awash in protesters, many of whom didn’t bother to wear masks or had them pulled down. Those protesters were allowed to move about freely, and in many cases encouraged to do so by “public health experts.” All of a sudden, the neighborhood barbecue or pool party didn’t seem so dangerous.
So according to Crowe, Mr. and Mrs. America didn't respond to the call of the ancient holiday weekend when they broke social distancing; no, they saw the protests on the TV and thought, "We were just sitting at home watching TV but, since the kids are giving each other COVID at the protests, I might's well take the family down the shore and eat burgers and drink beers and go swimming with a bunch of people I don't know."

Plenty of others are already working the basic theme, but Crowe takes the cake for creativity. So far.

(I should add that in my own personal experience, and that of others, protestors have a greater tendency to keep their masks on than people at bars and restaurants.)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Public Health issued more than a dozen citations to businesses violating COVID-19 Phase Two guidelines this weekend, three of which are bars on Broadway, including Underground and Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk. 
Owners told News 2 it’s a double standard and they’re sick of it. 
“It’s unfair for 5,000 people to march in front of our place yesterday in direct violation of the Phase Two order and then for Mayor Cooper and Dr. Caldwell to come in last night and give us citations,” said Bryan Lewis, attorney for Steve Smith, who owns Kid Rock’s and Honky Tonk Central, both cited this weekend.
Go here to see a picture of the folks crammed in and knockin' 'em back at Kid Rock's. But it's the marches that're making people sick. Well, it's no shock to see motivated reasoning among local merchants who a few months earlier were probably telling the cops "how come you're not out arresting street punks instead of writing me tickets?"

Friday, June 12, 2020


You probably already know this 1965 Waterloo gig,
but it was new to me. I love Chuck coming in late,
but still ripping it up like a pro.

•   I have to admit the statue-toppling thing going on is mostly funny to me, especially eloquent de-plinthings like the one Edward Coaston got in Bristol. Sure, take down all the Confederate Columbuses you like -- but I'd trade all that just to put Trump, Mnuchin, Barr, DeVos, and a few others on a dunking stool over an acid bath. In fact I'll be "moderate" about it and compromise: I'd accept seeing them tried in an honest court.

But if we can't have that, iconoclast away! It's not like we've got a Rodin or Saint-Gaudens Jefferson Davis to protect on aesthetic grounds. And as for the unloved items now defended disingenuously by terrified wingnuts, they don't seem to have suffered much at all. Here's Micah Mattix at The American Conservative:
HBO Max drops Gone with the Wind from its archive because to keep the title available “without an explanation and a denouncement of [its racist] depictions would be irresponsible.” Ah, yes, let’s avoid “irresponsibility.” 
I’ve never seen the film and have no desire to see it...
LOL. I've seen it twice, it's not so hot. At least Birth of a Nation is well-made!
...but it’s now the number 1 film at Amazon and number 5 at Apple. Pamela K. Johnson reminds us that Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy, became the first African American to win an Academy Award. “I’ve sat through GWTW exactly once as research for a historical novel in which McDaniel is a character. I don’t like the film either. At the same time, it is sad to see the actress get canceled along with the movie. She endured so many trials to stand, briefly, in the spotlight.”
This is a pathetic dodge (but a popular one among conservatives now), using the long-dead McDaniel as an excuse to protest Gone With The Wind being "canceled" on... [checks notes] HBO Max. Plus which Mattix's same damn item says you can STILL GET GONE WITH THE WIND AT AMAZON AND iTUNES.

So in what sense is it "canceled"? A better word (and Mattix being one o' them-there intellectual conservatives should use it) would be "disfavored." And that's the whole grift here; they're not angry because they can't have their totems, but because their totems have been shown, vividly, to be out of favor, and they can't have the warm satisfaction of believing that everyone else was watching GWTW or tolerating a slaver's monument not because it happened to be on or because they were polite, but because they, too, secretly and in their heart of hearts, loved the Old Ways and the lash and chains and state violence that enforced it. Fuck these snowflakes.  The mob, of which I am now in charge, decrees: You'll take having to click on a different website than before to get your product, and you'll like it!

•  As mentioned previously, Rod Dreher has been flipping out over the Dusky Hordes and their SJW Dhimmis swamping his Backyard Republic -- but he's still got his wits sufficiently about him to do the occasional "reader" "mailbag"! In the latest, one "reader" tells us she knew Nikki Oliver, one of the leaders of Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, in high school, and that Oliver "used to be an outspoken Christian who attended a non-denominational megachurch," but alas the megachurch was not truly godly -- "theology was fairly shallow," presumably lacking hellfire and tongue-speaking -- and Oliver's high school was "very diverse -- racially, socially, and economically... incredibly secular," which presumably explains Oliver's heathen radicalism; the "reader," conversely, found the Real Jesus and now hopes Trump's reelection "delays the rise of the leftist totalitarians until 2024."

Better still is the story told by a "reader" whose friend, can you believe it, turned into a white nationalist! And guess whose fault it is:
This transition began with his own reactions against the elite anti-racism movement and the Democratic party.
Totally reasonable, right? I mean, no one likes Democrats, or anti-racism either, it's so elite. All that having to watch what you say, like no using "colored."
At first I was able to have very interesting conversations with him about his concerns, his growing sense of isolation, and his defensiveness and anger (which I completely understood and in many cases agreed with). It was even refreshing to have conversations with him.
Ha, I'll bet he didn't watch his language!
But then it somehow tipped into strikingly different territory. He crossed a line into what I’d actually call white nationalism.
"Buddy, I find your positions refreshing, but do you have to wear the armband in public?"
This is a heartbreaking thing to watch: to see a previously sensible, smart, kind, and nuanced person descend into spewing a sort of ethnocentric vitriol that denigrates others, while using valid concerns that I truly agree with as their justifying axioms. It feels like you’re going insane.
Emphasis in the original, amazingly.
I had honestly always imagined (wrongly) that a white nationalist looked a certain way (like a mug shot of a serial killer, essentially), and had just always existed as such...
But then I looked in a mirror. Ha! Just kidding.
...but my friend’s journey in that direction was slow and subtle and even influenced by such small things as a couple of first coffee dates with super-woke girls he didn’t like...
In the world "reader" never enters, this is known as a Red Flag. But aside from incel-unfriendly dates, what set this lovely fellow on the road to Quiet Parts Out Loud?
But with the woke movement pushing more and more destructive dynamics (and showing no sign of slowing those), I see whispers of the potential for these beginnings in other people as well...
Of course!
I suspect that when he realized what was happening – that people like him had become the scapegoats for woke elites’ claims that, by and large, were actually a violent power grab made in the name of “justice” – he just cracked at some point and likely threw his lot in with the only folks he saw who would offer him a valued place in their group.
So you see, your honor, this is really a good boy gone bad -- driven into the arms of Hitler by social justice warriors who cruelly attacked him -- well, not him specifically, but things he believed in, like, you know, umm err -- well, good things like I believe!
But it is very frustrating talking to moderate or progressive friends who look at me like I’m crazy when I suggest that the anti-racism movement may be furthering white nationalism, giving fodder to a fringe movement that welcomes people like my old acquaintance, who may believe they have no other safe place to go.
Yeah, if you push that "anti-racism" thing, you've gotta expect people to go racist, it's like you're asking for it. Why can't we compromise and just be sorta racist?

Thursday, June 11, 2020


National Review's Jim Geraghty wants you to join him as the recent racial unpleasantness chases him down an alley called Memory Lane:
The Nineties were a different time, kids. It was the kind of era where, in the aftermath of horrifying riots in Los Angeles, David Alan Grier and Jim Carrey could appear in a sketch on the comedy program In Living Color as beating victims Rodney King and Reginald Denny, and declare, “Staying in school and staying off drugs is fine, but it ain’t gonna do you any good at all if you don’t have sense enough to stay in your car. See, we were stupid! We got out of our car. We didn’t use our heads and look what happened. We may have won the battle, but the early bird got the worm.”
Ha ha, yeah that was funny, what the fuck tho.
You Millennials and Generation Z kids wonder why we in Generation X can be so tasteless and shocking in our humor and tastes? Try having your formulative years shaped by sketch comedy shows, National Lampoon’s, Gary Larson’s Far Side, and comedians like Sam Kinison... 
Don't leave, I'll skip the rest of the Grandpa part.
I can’t find it online, but I recall another In Living Color sketch that depicted whites rioting after a jury acquitted the attackers of Reginald Denny. The sketch was funny because of the inherent absurdity: Wealthy, comfortable white people don’t burn down their own neighborhoods, no matter how angry they are about any particular event.
But every group feels anger at some point, even if they don’t express it in an easily visible way.
After the L.A. riots and the O. J. Simpson case, a few cultural observers argued that wealthy, comfortable white people “rioted” in a different way.
He explains by quoting Roger Boesche from the L.A. Times on all the service cuts and economic immiseration the black community suffered after the riots. In part:
So how do white people riot? They riot by eliminating affirmative action so that jobs and education will be more readily available to whites; by voting to deny services like education and health care to illegal immigrants; by declaring English as the official language and attacking bilingual education; by leaving 38 million people in poverty — 30.6 percent of all African Americans and 30.7 percent of all Latinos.
Now, this sounds to me like a bad reaction to the riots that just kept the wounds festering and led to the present explosion, which has to be Geraghty's point, right? Ha ha ha, guess you never read his shit before! After some yap about how "there are probably quite a few Americans outraged by the sights of statues of Christopher Columbus or other figures from history being beheaded or pulled down" -- I guess he doesn't name them because they're all Confederates! -- Geraghty warns:
There will be a backlash to these actions, but not in the form of the “white people’s riot” that In Living Color imagined. That backlash may come at the ballot box, or it may come in some other indirect form. Some people aren’t interested in direct confrontation in the streets. They may simply prefer to express their opposition in a way that these protesters expect it least — businesses moving out, reluctance to hire, reluctance to visit a neighborhood, effectively abandoning a community. Not every wall that is built is physical and visible. But one way or another, the reaction is coming.
Next to no black people are reading Bill Buckley's White Supremacist magazine. Geraghty's message is mainly going out to his honky rightwing readers who have seen the latest polls and are getting the sick feeling that they might not be able to just beat, gas, and shoot more protesters to get out of this fix. So I reckon it's meant as a comfort: Relax, we have ways of dealing with this -- we did it before, and we can do it again.

Thing is, the rest of us see this stuff too, and have our own reaction. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


Big companies saying nice things about Black Lives Matter is okay but it doesn't mean a lot. A bunch of businesses on H Street NE here in DC recently covered themselves in particle board to guard against looters -- who never came, by the way; the looting was very limited here -- and the bigger ones wrote inclusive-sounding slogans on the boards, apparently as talismans to ward off vandals. They were all pretty anodyne, but the one on Starbucks was my favorite: "We Stand With You!" I think that speaks for us all, no? (Ben's Chili Bowl, not the original, just put an 8.5" x 11" flyer in the window that said "Black-owned business," LOL.)

So I think of telecoms and grocery chains going "Black Lives Matter" the same way; in the words of George W. Bush, there, you covered your ass.

I do find it encouraging that polls show citizens, despite a lifetime of copaganda and the bluster and bullying of our current authoritarian regime, think the cops don't have the right to beat up whoever they like and that the protestors have a point. And I enjoy the enraged howling response of conservatives who are used to getting all the white people to line up for them when they yell "law and order."

One of the funnier bits is the cop sob story "America, We Are Leaving" that wingnuts are passing around in which Captain Yates from the mean streets of Tulsa, OK has had enough, dammit, and is throwing his badge on the ground. And it's not just the protestors he's mad about; "Kids used to be taught respect and now it’s cool to be disrespectful," laments Yates; "...Parents used to get mad at their kids for getting arrested and now they get mad at us." And the language they use on TV these days! As for George Floyd, Yates says:
Doctors kill 250,000 people a year. They call them “medical mistakes” because society understands that they do a very difficult job under high stress and they must make the best possible decision in the moment.
So can't you spot the cops a certain number of murdered suspects? It’s only fair! Yates says he's been in 27 years, so his pension must be pretty fat. Vaya con Dios!

I shouldn't laugh -- it must be hard for conservatives at the moment, as the walls are closing in: even NASCAR won't fly their beloved Stars and Bars, HBO won't play (on one of its platforms, anyway) Gone With The Wind, and Paramount cancelled Cops. Now that the free market has forsaken their favorite totems, many have gone to the last refuge of a wingnut, cries of censorship and deplatforming. Christian Toto, one of my favorite culture-war clowns, predicts:
What’s next? The following list features films considered deeply “problematic” or sharing messages deemed untenable to the Modern Left. And make no mistake, it’s the Left tearing down statues, rioting nationwide and erasing history wherever it can... 
“Blazing Saddles” -- Cultural observers have had this Mel Brooks classic on their list for some time. The film liberally uses the “n-word,” features stereotypically gay characters and employs slurs now considered taboo. Brooks himself repeatedly tells us he couldn’t make “Blazing Saddles” today, a toxic reality all by itself.
See, if volume dealers decide not to stock works that celebrate the Confederacy, they're gonna "cancel" Mel Brooks! Toto probably doesn't get that the rest of us -- and I don't mean only liberals, I mean normal people -- enjoy Blazing Saddles because it's funny. And a big part of the reason it's funny (apart from pure skill) is not because of its abundance of n-words, but because it makes the racists that conservatives are currently clutching to their bosoms and weeping over like Stephen weeping over the dead Calvin Candie in Django Unchained look like, well...

Tuesday, June 09, 2020


I'm sure we've all heard more than enough "bothsides"  bullshit -- the rhetorical approach that seeks to obscure one's own crimes and idiocies on the grounds that someone else dropped a gum wrapper on the sidewalk so who's to judge. But it never stops coming. While it's annoying enough when it comes from weak-kneed liberals, it's a total stinkbomb coming from conservatives and is a favorite gambit of JustTheTip Trumpers -- here's a classic example by David French. But things have reached the point where even some of the usually loud-and-proud wingnuts are starting to crocodile-weep for comity. Here's Jim Geraghty at National Review:
Our Civil War of Stupidity
The loudest, most dominant voices in American political discourse often are the ones with the least thought-through, least useful perspectives.
For a brief moment, we had a broad, bipartisan national consensus that the police should not kill those in their custody. 
We did? When was that? I and a whoooole lot of black people missed it.
Then, our warring factions of idiots went and ruined it.
Why would anyone do that? What might each of these "factions" been in favor of -- oh why do I bother.
On May 25, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin did something terrible, pressing his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, during which time Floyd’s heart stopped beating and he died. Chauvin’s fellow officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, stood and watched. This angered many Americans, if not almost all Americans.
Then, some residents of Minneapolis chose to respond to Chauvin’s actions by setting fire to the Third Precinct headquarters of the city police.
Boy, as your cousin on Facebook would meme, that escalated quickly. Did something else noteworthy happen between Floyd's killing and the fire, like national protests?
Our national discussion was quickly overrun by those who wanted to use the actions of Chauvin and his fellow officers to define all police across the country, and those who wanted to use the actions of the looters and rioters to define everyone participating in the protests. Anyone with eyes can see that not all police officers are Derek Chauvin, and not everyone who attended a protest, march, or demonstration in response to Floyd’s death was looting and committing acts of violence. 
Anyone with eyes can also see hundreds of videos of police violence against the innocent during the past few weeks of protest, which seems to have caused a massive change in public sentiment -- Americans appear to support the protestors and think the cops went too far, which for the land of Nixon and Agnew and endless Law & Order editions is pretty amazing. But Geraghty doesn't mention it.

Near the end is Geraghty's most concentrated pellet of motivated bothsiderism:
The president wants to restore order in the streets with soldiers; his opposition declares that the proper alternative is to do away with policing entirely. The president wants to reopen the economy; his critics contend that steps in the direction of reopening are an “experiment in human sacrifice.”
Thus Trump's looter-shooter ravings (and other provocations, including his attack on the Minneapolis senior citizen whose skull was cracked by a cop) are portrayed as a sensible call for order, while the Democrats are portrayed as off-the-pigs lunatics because some leftists want to drastically reduce police budgets; also, Geraghty describes Trump's threats to force states to cram workers who might have coronavirus into their warehouses and offices as a simple desire to "reopen the economy," and if you think that's bad how about this, Democrats interpreted it uncharitably, hmmph!
Where are the sane grown-ups? Isn’t anyone willing to take a break from the usual partisan food fight to spend just a little time trying to solve our actual problems? Or are we just destined to be bystanders in a Civil War of Stupidity indefinitely?
It's all too much -- everybody back to the status quo, where black people got extra-judicially executed on the regular but at least we weren't arguing about it.

Friday, June 05, 2020


Interpretation's a funny thing in music especially. 
This kinda steamrolls the obvious intent of the song. 
But it swings, don't it?

•  Here's another Roy Edroso Breaks It Down item unlocked for non-subscribers: I Claim My Right To Express My Mainstream Conservative Opinion in the New York Times, by Hiram Galligash, Punkin County (S.C.) Tax Assessor. Ha ha surprise it's about that Tom Cotton editorial that has given rightwingers something to blubber over instead of black lives. For some of us the current crisis in policing that not only institutionalizes racist injustice but has led to a nationwide police riot is a big issue; for others, never mind that, someone said bad things about a powerful Republican Senator's op-ed, that's the Real Crime™! From the Bari "All My Colleagues Are Totalitarians" Weiss to the conservatives who like to call themselves libertarians to the usual gang of authoritarian goons, they're turning their full fake outrage resources on a bunch of junior staffers who think their employer shouldn't be amplifying Cotton's call to have the Army train their guns on American citizens to threaten them with violence for the crime of protesting. Go scour their works for anything on George Floyd that isn't "it probably isn't the cops' fault"; Trump does a better job of faking it than they do. Christ Jesus, I'm sick of these people.

•  Oh, speaking of libertarians and how they're full of shit* I'll add that Mike "Freedom" Lee demanding the quartering of troops in DC against the Mayor's wishes is a beautiful example of the general ass-exposure of these people at this moment in history. (*does not apply to Radley Balko.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2020


I know we're all a little leery of horrible conservative people from the Before Times getting graded on the curve by liberal simps just because they're not Trump -- and I certainly felt that way about George W. Bush and his statement on the protests, which sounds like it was written by his former lackey and con artist Michael Gerson in full treacle mode.

But like the other ex-presidents beating up on Trump, its relatively non-unhinged message was nice not only as a change of pace but because of how it hit Trump loyalists. The best example is from Byron York, late of National Review and now laboring at the malignant Washington Examiner.

York starts with some shit about how, well, whatever the coroner and your lyin' eyes told you, the medical examiner's autopsy "revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," and York is surprised that Bush, like everyone else who isn't a cop, "appeared to reject the findings," and he must have some nefarious reason for doing so: "Perhaps Bush's writers liked the notion of saying that Floyd was suffocated and injustice and fear are suffocating the country. But the turn of phrase required rejecting the official finding of death."

Just so everybody knows where York's head is at. Then:
More remarkable was the fact that Bush said almost nothing -- literally, almost nothing -- about the riots, violence, and civil disorder following Floyd's death. At one point in the 507-word statement, Bush said, "Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress." Perhaps Bush's writer liked the looting-liberation alliteration. But to devote just nine words out of 507 to the nationwide convulsions after Floyd's death -- the very situation that prompted Bush to speak out in the first place -- seemed more than a little strange.  
What about the people who have died in the rioting? The businesses that have been damaged and destroyed? The fears of people whose homes and businesses were threatened by violent mobs? To say Bush gave them short shrift would be generous.
York's apparently mad because he and the rest of the guys on the payroll are pushing the "Protestors = looters and rioters" thing that's been working for them for decades, but polls show ordinary people are saying fuck that noise, and here's this RINO whose illegal war York and all the rest of them supported coming out against Trump's strongman bit -- just when authoritarianism needed a unified front and the Lawnorder Tinker Bell needed everyone to clap for her!

I'm happy to see citizens standing for equal justice under the law -- despite the fact that conservatives have conspired to make it a radical concept -- and pray for their success. But I confess I'm almost as happy to see this blowdried shit and others like him squirm over it.

UPDATE. Of course, Rod Dreher has to up the ante(bellum) -- here he reacts to former Trump SecDef James Mattis' denunciation of Trump:
Personally, I think it’s undeniably true that Trump does not try to unite the American people, but I find it insupportable to believe that the riots tearing apart America today are the culmination of Trumpism. What’s more, why did Mattis have nothing to say about the rioting? Not even a line? A military veteran friend says Mattis’s statement sounds more like score-settling than anything else.
Dreher's column is called "Trump The Girardian Scapegoat." Don't ask -- it's basically an intellectual way of saying "I'm no Trump fan but," The Oh you like Black Lives Matter well then you must like looting! shtick is all these guys have, now that saying who cares what happens to the darkskins is no longer cool -- thanks to the damn SJWs! I wouldn't be shocked if Dreher got in Black Bloc drag and started smashing Starbucks for the cause.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020


Once he got the cops to tear-gas away the protestors, Trump waddled over to St. John's Church (against the wishes of its clergy) and held up a Holy Bible for what his handlers must think is sure-fire rube bait -- The Leader showing those protestors, in front of a church, damaged by fire of unknown origin, who's boss. No doubt for a certain demo it's a Reichstaggering success; we'll see who actually bites. Speaking of bites, Breitbart's Joel Pollak turned his turgid prose toward the cause:
Democrats and the media were aghast, claiming the president had ordered “peaceful” protested tear-gassed merely so that he could hold a “photo-op.” In fact, Trump’s gestures held immense positive significance for the country and will likely be remembered that way.
Translation: It was not a photo op, it was an opportunity for a photograph with "immense positive significance"!
The president, seeking to restore order in cities across the country, could not very well have done so while allowing thugs from Antifa to lob bricks at Secret Service officers, or chase reporters away from the public square outside his own office.
Well, I'd certainly have liked to see him try. Funnier still is the idea that it was protestors who posed the danger to reporters when cops have been shooting and smashing journalists from sea to shining sea. Not sure why Pollak was pretending to give a shit about reporters anyway, given that he also says the "media" is "unable to distinguish between right and wrong, or between assembly and anarchy." Maybe he thinks a few more rubber bullets to the eye will get them to love The Leader. (In a similar spirit, Pollak also cites Martin Luther King.)

The whole thing's a mess but Pollak's big metaphor reach is extra:
The media, and the crowd, did not realize it, but Trump had seized the moral high ground in that moment. He reached into the mainframe of the American machine and rebooted it with the source code that is the common basis for all we do.
I think he just intuitively knew that "boot" should be involved.

Sunday, May 31, 2020


I'll certainly have more tomorrow morning in my newsletter (Subscribe! Cheap!™), but I got around the DC protests yesterday (though I bailed on the night watch -- I'm an old man, y'know) and first I'm here to set you straight that the crowd was racially mixed and not just white anarchist punks, and it was very young -- in other words, disenfranchised from jump and not here for your "but my lawnorder" concerns. But one sees what one wants to see, and sure enough here's Rod Dreher quoting James Lileks -- talk about double penetration! -- in one of his many pants-wetting posts about "Weimar Minneapolis" etc. --
I encourage everyone to take a look at Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist James Lileks’s melancholic yet powerful blog take on what some of his fellow citizens have done to the city they share. He took a drive through the riot areas, and took pictures. He posts images of gang graffiti. The Bloods have been here (this is their territory in the city). Also a Mexican gang that is heavily involved in human trafficking — they tagged a wall.
What kind of freak looks at nationwide clashes between young Americans and police and his first words are about the Bloods and Mexicans?

Well, now a new generation is introduced to Ol' 9-11 Jim. As for Dreher, he's doing his usual thing, just at even greater length and in a more screechy, panicked voice -- that noise, far outside my compound! Could it be Antifa? Like, for example, "reader" "mail" from "a liberal(ish) white reader" who "writes to say he has been truly shocked by how all his white liberal friends are acting now, at least on social media." Liberal(ish) White Reader tells Rod, "I know on this issue you’ve had the same response as me, which is sympathy for Black people who are the victims of police brutality," so you know he's legit, right? And he's had "substantial conversations" with "Black people (both college educated, one who still very much lives as part of the Black community, the other who is in a mixed-race marriage and from what I can tell travels in a mostly White social circle)," which... is a weird way to qualify his interlocutors; maybe Dreher's readers would be interested in how much exposure to white people the "Black people" had, in order to know how to judge their responses.

Anyway, Liberal(ish) White Reader says the "Black people" were "hot, and all 5 were more sympathetic to the riots than I was," but never mind them because the white liberals (as opposed to liberal[ish]s) accused him of blindness to the situation because of privilege, which is ridiculous because the white liberals were all limp-wristed caricatures:
The perspectives [the black people] had on it came from growing up scared of the cops, knowing people who’d been manhandled or profiled, and just navigating America and all the systemic racism in it (which I 100% believe is real) as Black people. So it was nuanced and grounded in reality. The White liberals, on the other hand, for them it was purely ideology and performance.
In other words, you have to expect the "Black people" to be this way, but it's obnoxious for whites to sympathize. I've seen this shit for decades: guys like Rod (excuse me, Liberal[ish] White Reader) can at least compartmentalize their feelings about "Black people," but what they really hate is "Black people"-lovers.

Also Dreher's customary "I'm no Trump fan" JustTheTip-Trumper construction is taking on many, many more waste-words:
You see that kind of [graffiti] scrawled on the wall of a building in the city that’s in the process of being burned down by Antifa, and you might think differently about Trump’s obnoxious boast about shooting rioters. I wish he had been more statesmanlike, and laid down a hard line without being so provocative, but it’s hard to look at, and listen to, Antifa without believing that Trump is more right than wrong.
The American media (including me) did not see the Donald Trump election coming, and they’re going to miss the political blowback from these riots. I say that as someone who did not vote for Donald Trump, and who wishes we had almost anybody else in the White House right now in this time of grave national crisis, given that his big mouth is likely to make a bad situation much worse. Nevertheless, the fallout from these riots are going to push so very many middle-class and working-class people to the Right. Count on it. As Douthat writes...
Ugh, I'll spare you. (I would also ask: What "middle-class" and "working-class," anymore?) Lately I've been leaning toward the explanation that Dreher's a con man playing his obviously confused readers with his fancied-up Get Ready Man shtick, but this latest wave suggests to me that he's legitimately unhinged, and suffering mightily as he is inevitably driven by fear and hatred into the arms of Spiro T. Trump.

Friday, May 29, 2020


Who knew it had words?

•   From an alternative universe, Megan McArdle:
If you had asked me six months ago to predict which party would display extreme levels of concern about a deadly pandemic and which party would downplay the risk, I’d have thought you were tossing me a softball question. 
A disease that makes China look bad for a hapless initial response that let a new virus get established, followed by a coverup that let it infect the world? 
A disease that exposed the dangers of sourcing essential goods such as medical protective gear from a strategic rival? 
A disease that has restored and hardened borders, halted migration, and demonstrated how toothless and ineffective transnational institutions are at dealing with mortal threats?
A disease that has killed 100,000 Americans — which is approximately 100,000 more than the 2014 Ebola outbreak that Republicans thought President Barack Obama didn’t take seriously enough? 
Republicans, I’d have said, will be the party of total war against the virus. How could it be otherwise? 
Yes, well, I’m still trying to figure that out, too.
You think that's what we're trying to figure out? From my perspective:

A party that's constantly shitting on the findings of scientists to stir up culture war for their anti-intellectual rubes?

A party that demonizes Muslims and Mexicans as a contagion and pushes them out, while welcoming the European whites who brought the virus here in the first place?

A party that habitually turns every government function, not excluding public health efforts such as the distribution of emergency equipment, into a grift to enrich donors?

That's a party that will fuck up anything including a pandemic. I mean if these fuckers got us into a nuclear war with Russia I'd expect Republicans to spend half their time blaming it on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other half selling weapons to the enemy.

And part of what makes it like this is that their propagandists will grease the skids for them -- as is demonstrated further down McArdle's column:
For years, conservatives have explained that public health efforts are a legitimate exercise of government power. 
Sure, this was usually a prelude to complaining that public health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were neglecting this vital mission in favor of paternalistic nannying. But given the CDC’s many boneheaded errors over the past six months, conservatives were in a position to score some political points by shouting: “CDC, you had one job!”
McArdle is talking about the CDC that had a robust epidemiology team in China -- the country Trump keeps reminding us COVID-19 comes from -- before Trump pulled them out. He has also been generally trying to destroy the CDC, presumably because he couldn't figure out how to make a buck out of them. And even now when CDC does crawl up out of trash-heap to lend a hand, Trump kicks them in the teeth.

McArdle seems to be trying to say that conservatism is a noble tradition and will be again if Republicans can get rid of this embarrassing goon and put in a slick operator like Josh Hawley. But who at this point is she trying to convince? Conservatives today just want to own the libs by acting like COVID-19 doesn't exist -- and they're certainly not going to take no mark-of-the-beast vaccine for it from Ol' Pedi-Bill Gates! As for the rest of us, I can't imagine anyone will buy this shtick now that our country has been reduced to a shambles by application of McArdle's conservatarian principles in their purest form. Maybe her editor is fooled, though, and I guess that's all that matters.

•  Dan McLaughlin aka Baseball Crank has a nightmarishly bad Minneapolis column at National Review that I don't have time to get into, but this is typical:
It is always hazardous to draw sweeping conclusions about society from individual criminal cases. Every individual case involves individual facts, and those facts often turn out to be quite different from the initial media narrative, as happened in the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases. 
Yeah, you remember how we all decided Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown actually had it coming, don't you? Man, fuck this guy.