Friday, March 22, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.




Jazz ain't dead, it don't even smell funny.

• A snippet from a recent Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter (TO WHICH YOU SHOULD SUBSCRIBE, he hollered with one hand to the side of his mouth like a newsboy in a '30s Warner Brothers picture, IT'S CHEEEEAP ™):
For his recent defense of the Electoral College [David French] might be excused, because it’s mostly no better or worse than all the other shitty rightwing defenses shoved, hastily and scarce half made-up into this breathing world by conservatives after Elizabeth Warren called for the EC to be abolished. (David Harsanyi’s “Democrats Want To Kill The Electoral College Because They Fear The Constitution” at The Federalist is my favorite; Jamelle Bouie effectively smacked down all this nonsense on Twitter.)
French does go the extra mile, though, with this: 
And let’s not pretend that a national popular vote elevates every citizen’s vote in a way that the Electoral College does not. Your vote counts in each state, and the fact that your state is overwhelmingly red or blue is no more or less demoralizing than the popular-vote idea that your single vote is thrown into a pool of 130 million others.
So the Republican voting in D.C. (where Clinton won with 90.9% of the vote) presumably feels himself more connected to the result than he would if his vote had a chance of contributing to a winning margin. I don’t think even French believes that.
I bring this up because the aforementioned wave of wingnut Electoral College defenses by Very Serious Commentators, all full of Founder Worship and rEpUbLiC nOt A dEmOcRaCy yak, has been followed (as if so ordained by Morning Memo!) by some dumbed-down (well, more dumbed-down) versions tailored to the Trumpenproletariat in bottom-feeder media such as the Washington Examiner, where David M. Drucker writes under the interesting headline "Republicans resigned to Trump losing 2020 popular vote but confident about Electoral College":
Some Republicans say the problem is Trump's populist brand of partisan grievance. It's an attitude tailor-made for the Electoral College in the current era of regionally Balkanized politics, but anathema to attracting a broad, national coalition that can win the most votes, as past presidents did when seeking re-election amid a booming economy.
"Trump's populist brand of partisan grievance" is "tailor-made for the Electoral College"? I wonder if James Madison had that in mind.
Others argue that neither Trump, nor possibly any Republican, could win the popular vote when most big states are overwhelmingly liberal.

“California, Illinois, and New York, make it very, very difficult for anybody on our side to ever again to win the popular vote,” said David Carney, a Republican strategist in New Hampshire.
Since it's rather giving the game away to say "Most people don't want our candidate to be President," they're arguing that most people is the wrong people -- libruls whut live in fancy states where they have highfalutin' sundries like soap and toothpaste. (Drucker is so grateful for the Trump campaign's help in filling his column that he ends with some bullshit about how the Trumpkins expect to lose the popular vote again but win the Electoral College even bigger in 2020 -- “We look to maintain and expand the Trump map" -- mainly, it would seem, to impress even more crushingly on Americans that the dead hand of the Founders -- manipulated as a cat's-paw by the modern GOP -- doesn't give a shit what they think.)

For a doubly-dumbed-down version see Hannity on Fox, transliterated here:
"You think all those red states would stick around and be in the United States if they kept losing to New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois?” Hannity asked. “I tend to think not.”
The final tantrum is always secession with these people. This time I say let them go, and we can establish generous refugee programs for the non-assholes who will flee the New Confederacy.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

HOW BULLSHIT WORKS, PART 5,200,843.

When Rod Dreher ostentatiously shows concern for his fellow man, you know there's a catch:
Readers, I have to go out for a few hours on a sudden errand. When I get back, I would like to hear from you who are in the flood zones of Nebraska and Iowa. It’s amazing how little coverage your tragedy is receiving. If I didn’t follow the Twitter accounts of Sen. Ben Sasse and Jake Meador, I would barely know a thing about it. I know the same thing happened in 2016 when we had the devastating Louisiana floods.
Let's see what The New York Times, which is Liberal Media Central and must be suppressing this story out of irrational hatred for the Common People, has been doing about it in the past three days:

March 20, "U.S. Farmers Face Devastation Following Midwest Floods [Reuters]"; "An Iowa Town Fought and Failed to Save a Levee. Then Came the Flood"; "The Latest: Minnesota to Help Nebraska Flood Fight [AP]"; "Missouri River Towns Face Deluge as Floods Move Downstream [Reuters]"; "Flooded Iowa Communities Surviving With Trucked-In Water [AP]."

March 19, "Rising Waters: See How Quickly the Midwest Flooded"; "Like ‘House Arrest’: Flooded Roads and Swamped Bridges Strand Nebraskans"; "Pets, Livestock Among Victims of Midwest Flooding [Reuters]"; "Missouri River Flooding Catches Small Nebraska Town Off Guard [Reuters]"; "Midwest Floodwaters Tear Through or Spill Over Many Levees [AP]"; "‘It’s Like an Island’: Scenes From the Midwest Floods [multimedia]"; "The Latest: Pence Views Raging River, Visits Shelter"; "Floodwaters Threaten Millions in Crop and Livestock Losses."

March 18, "Why Is There Flooding in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin?" "‘It’s Probably Over for Us’: Record Flooding Pummels Midwest When Farmers Can Least Afford It"; "Flooded U.S. Air Force Base Underscores Climate Risk to Security: Experts [Reuters]"; "'Angels of the Sky' Offer Flights Into Flooded Nebraska City [AP]"; "Scenes from Record Flooding in Nebraska [multimedia]"; "Homes Flood as Missouri River Overtops, Breaches Levees"; "Nebraska Nuclear Plant Still at Full Power as Floodwaters Recede [Reuters]"; "Three Dead, One Missing in Devastating Floods Across U.S. Midwest."

I may have missed a few. Dreher seems to have missed considerably more than a few. In comments (not in his main post), he breezily notes,
To be fair to the media, some readers say they’ve seen a lot of coverage. I think that this is an example of how silo’d we tend to be, even if we don’t mean to be. Sometimes a reader or two will accuse me of ignoring a particular news event because I haven’t posted on it — and I haven’t even heard of it!
Tee hee! Meanwhile a number of Dreher's commuters snarl things like "Why isn’t this covered more, Rod? This affects only the benighted people in flyover country..." and "The headlines are the latest nothingburger from the Mueller probe and Beto eating dirt." Elsewhere on Twitter, a bunch of people who seem unable to use Google News act like there's a media blackout on the floods. "Is it me or would this be getting a lot more attention if this were closer to New York or LA?" uueries pollster Patrick Ruffini. Others chime in: "This is catastrophic and mainstream media is pretty much ignoring this." "If a disaster happens on the coast, it’s full scale media coverage. But a disaster in the Midwest .....crickets. It’s ok, we don’t need u elites anyway." "Where is all the media’s coverage about the devastating floods in Nebraska?!?!" Ad infinitum.

I keep telling and telling and telling you guys: There is no flakier snowflake than a wingnut, and their propagandists feed them on grievance stories like the Great Media Blackout of Your Tragedy and how the big bad city slickers don't care because a steady diet of bullshit is what keeps them voting Republican.

Friday, March 15, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Players only.

•  I'm seeing a lot of people saying The New Zealand Muslim Slaughterer didn't mean those things he said -- at least the ones that embarrass local wingnuts. Like when he wrote these words:
The person that has influenced me above all was Candace Owens. Each time she spoke I was stunned by her insights and her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness. Though I will have to disavow some of her beliefs, the extreme actions she calls for are too much, even for my tastes.
Seems, in terms of basic English, clear enough to me -- but according to various Internet Lawyers he was just trolling, "shitposting," being "extremely online," or even trying to get Owens in trouble --  at least that seems to be Tichael Macey's take:



It's like the white power sign: It's a signal to your fellow Nazis until you get in trouble, and then it's just "OK" God you people see Nazis everywhere!

This must also be why the shooter mentioned Trump and Anders Brevik, too -- in fact maybe he's really a liberal, talking religious war and murdering 49 Muslims just to make the Right look bad.

•  Meanwhile Trump has said this out loud:
You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress...
Maybe he's shittrolling, like the Christchurch shooter! Actually gloomy as I often am, I doubt that the army and the cops, or even "Trump's Bikers," would rally to his side if he were lawfully removed from office. It's possible he's trying to demoralize opponents, though I expect this will just go in the huge pile of things he does that pisses them off. Most likely he's trying to make his rump of supporters feel strong and supported. His 2016 campaign summoned them out of the hollers and klaverns, and given the polls they may be feeling pretty stranded right now -- but as long as The Leader is threatening to murder liberals, they're getting what they came for, which has nothing to do with a better country and everything to do with inchoate rage, minorities everywhere, and grandchildren who never visit.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

HE'S JUST SAYING WHAT WE, THE BIGOTS, ARE REALLY THINKING!

I'm unlocking another Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter issue -- this one about the mishegas around Michael Jackson. As you may imagine I'm not entirely convinced that people who have suddenly realized MJ was a child molester are acting in good faith. (By the way, I swear that you're missing a lot of other first-class material if you're not a subscriber -- go here and get on board.)

Speaking of people who have a strange reaction to explosive revelations, I'm not shocked that conservatives are uniformly defending Tucker Carlson's racist and rapist comments. Typical is this guy (formerly a famous Latin-pseud crackpot) at MAGA cult site American Greatness:
Let’s be completely clear here. Nobody—least of all the leftwing mobs attacking Tucker Carlson right now—cares what he said on the radio a decade ago. Except to the extent that his words can be wrapped around his neck like a noose. 
All the feigned outrage is exactly that: feigned. David Brock and his henchmen, along with their instantly mobilized Twitter mob, are not outraged. Not in the least. They’re giddy! And why wouldn’t they be? They’ve been looking for a way to get “Tucker Carlson Tonight” canceled since the show debuted. The search intensified as its popularity rose and its message caught fire. 
The imperative to kill the show reached a fever pitch after Carlson’s now-legendary January 2 monologue, which is the most searing indictment against a failed ruling class since Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.
Three sputter-filled grafs (and about a dozen thereafter) and no mention of what Carlson actually said; you'd think he had defended motherhood and the flag rather than child rape and white supremacy.

But frankly the unearthed Carlson is just a more-upfront version of the Carlson we've known all along -- the Carlson who told Lauren Duca "stick to the thigh-high boots" and dog-whistles racists with alarming regularity. And more-upfront Carlson excites them for a reason. Someone on Twitter lamented that the right's solidarity with Carlson showed how devoted to "tribalism" people have become. But I say these guys aren't defending Carlson because he's of their tribe -- even some conservatives, after all, peeled off the Roy Moore bandwagon in the final days. No, they defend Carlson because they agree with what he said. Not to put too fine a point on it, they're white supremacists and misogynists, and only wish they could say such things themselves and get away with it. Well, as the Trumpification of the Right progresses, I'm sure they'll get their wish.

UPDATE. As usual, making everything worse, National Review's David French:
Here’s the way it works. If you’re a conservative or a Republican who attains any kind of prominence at all, then the hunt is on. Media Matters has its rolling list of allegedly bad or silly things I’ve said and written, for example. And the more prominent you are, the more diligent the hunt.
Being accurately quoted is persecution! Or, in the words of A. Ridiculous Pseudonym at RedState, "Maoist totalitarianism."

If only Lonesome Rhodes from A Face in the Crowd had tumbled to this racket! After embarrassing himself at the end of the movie, he could have attacked those liberals who were persecuting him by describing what he said.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

RODDY DREHER IS TOO SENSITIVE TO WORK AT THE POST OFFICE.*

* apologies to Charles Bukowski, really, but get a load of this from Rod Dreher's latest:
Here’s something interesting. On Jonathan Haidt’s test for moral foundations, I scored unusually high on the “purity” scale. It so happens that I am extremely sensitive to certain aromas that most people find disgusting (and even some that most people don’t). It’s so bad that there are times when I will have to leave the room quickly so as not to vomit (which means my wife is the one left behind to clean up the dog poop, and suchlike).
[Lips pursed, arms folded] Snnnkkk. Snnkk.
It is entirely involuntary. Entirely. When I was a kid, I couldn’t be nearby when the men gutted and skinned a deer they had killed. It wasn’t the visual imagery; it was the smell. I would double over gagging, and couldn’t help myself. 
[Hand over mouth] Snkkk. Snnkk. Snnkk.
This is also why I can taste and smell pleasant nuances in food and drink, and enjoy eating more than most people.
BAA HAA HAA HAA oh my god -- you peons just gobble your food but Sensitive Rod tastes the rainbow! When he's not vomiting, that is.
Two of my three kids are the same way — except their sensitivities are ramped up so much that they don’t like to eat things that taste vivid. All three of us can detect aromas that most people can’t, and when we find them unpleasant, we also find them to be intolerable. Weirdly, my daughter cannot stand the aroma of bananas. It’s so severe for her that we don’t eat them in her presence. Just the sight and smell of a banana is enough to put her on the edge of vomiting.
Those poor kids.
Does this have anything to do with my conservative politics? Maybe...
Ha ha, I know guys, but wait that's not even the real punch line --
...but how would this theory account for the extreme sensitivity that so many left-wing college students have to the mere presence of conservatives in their midst?
Those SJWs -- such sissies! Oh, sorry, honey, I can't clean up after the dog -- I'm too SENSITIVE.

Have we decommissioned "pussy" as an epithet? Pity. (What I wonder is, does Rod ever get too sensitive to enjoy his sacramental meats?)

ANOTHER ONE JUST LIKE THE OTHER ONE.

I've unlocked for you a Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter issue (to which newsletter you should subscribe! It's Cheap!™), which takes the form of a transcript from a Republican rally against anti-Semitism -- that is, in favor of hysterical misreadings of what Rep. Ilhan Omar actually said about AIPAC.

This has been as phoney-baloney a manufactured controversy as I've ever seen, and I suspect that conservatives are hitting it hard because they know they can count on the support of the kind of neolibs one can always expect to fall for bothsider gibberish, e.g. Jonathan Chait. (Chait, like others among the tub-thumpers, seems to think the title of an old Puff Daddy joint is "a longstanding anti-Semitic trope," and that "the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country" is not a clinical description of what AIPAC and other such organizations do.)

It is so well-observed a phenomenon that the American conservative movement has never been a sincere supporter of any minority group except billionaires (though it is very adept at claiming victimized-minority status for Christians and men) that I'm surprised some people can pretend to not hear the bullshit detector going off every time they do it.



Friday, March 01, 2019

THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS.

Erick Erickson was once a Trump skeptic, but when Trump won he began almost immediately to turn:
Take Erick Erickson, the former CNN pundit who for months denounced Trump in nearly apocalyptic terms — e.g. “With the rise of an authoritarian menace to our republic, it is important to go on record now, while he can be stopped, that we will play no part in his rise.” 
After the election, Erickson was conciliatory — not toward voters who had tried to stop Trump, but toward Trump himself. “Perhaps,” he mooned, “as only Nixon could go to China, maybe only Trump can reunite the country.”
Last month Erickson declared himself all-in for the big win:
This week in 2016, I declared I would be “Never Trump.” A friend suggested I use a hashtag that had started circulating on Twitter, i.e #NeverTrump. The piece exploded and pushed me into a whirlwind of coverage. Despite lots of pressure, protestors literally on my front porch, and harassment directed towards my family, I did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. I voted third party.
Some of my concerns about President Trump remain. I still struggle on the character issue and I understand Christian friends who would rather sit it out than get involved. But I also recognize that we cannot have the Trump Administration policies without President Trump and there is much to like...
In the rest of that column Erickson mainly complained about the Democrats' abortionism and environmentalism -- complaints he had already made many times, pre- and post-Trump -- but closed, "I will vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. And, to be clear, it will not be just because of what the other side offers, but also because of what the Trump-Pence team has done. They’ve earned my vote."

Yet Erick Erickson, proud Trump voter, just can't quit the contrarian shtick. Here's Erickson recently talking about "Jeremiah 29 Conservatives" who "have given up on national politics. It has become too ugly, too compromising, too unaligned with their values" and who believe "Republicans and conservative institutions in Washington have made too many compromises to be effective"; such Jeremiahs have "retreated from national politics because they could not stomach the character flaws of the President or the direction of the Republican party..." In response to their withdrawal, Erickson says, "Conservatives in Washington and the conservative donor class need to reconsider how to engage on the local level with those more worried about their children’s education than a border wall."

In other words, the big-time conservatives like Erick Erickson have fucked up, and the lost lambs of the movement should take the advice of small-town conservatives like Erick Erickson.

In the long con that is modern conservatism, the advantage of beating the base in the head with bullshit for so many years on end is that it renders them too dazed to recognize that the guy they paid going into the funhouse is the same guy taking their money as they come out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

THE CONSERVATIVE MORAL CASE FOR YOUR IMMISERATION.

Kevin D. Williamson has it made; during his time of trouble the conservative intellectual establishment turned out to sing his praises, and they are apparently disinclined to revisit that evaluation (because who would that leave, Ben Shapiro?), as Williamson has been just churning out bile-burps at National Review ever since. Dig this lede:
Senator Bernie Sanders, gamely making the case for socialism on CNN, offers a familiar argument: that access to health care and other goods like it should be understood as a “right.” 
Properly understood, that claim is literally nonsensical, having the grammatical form of a sentence but no meaningful content, inasmuch as it is logically meaningless to declare a right in a scarce good. (I am using scarce here in its economic sense rather than in its common conversational sense.)
Does his lofty dudgeon leave you unconvinced? Brace yourself, here comes the argument:
For example: If you have twelve children and six cupcakes, the possibilities of division remain the same even if you declare that every child has the “right” to an entire cupcake of his own. Goods are physical, while rights are metaphysical, and the actual facts of the real world are not transformed by our deciding to talk about them in a different way...
[Several irrelevant slurs later]
When a politician declares a “right” in a scarce good, it indicates either that he is a simpleton or that he believes you to be, and one’s as good as the other, that being another defect in democracy.
Health care is a limited resource like the hypothetical twelve cupcakes -- you cannot create more health care by, say, having a rich nation that drops trillions on wars and billionaire tax cuts spend its money instead on training and employing doctors and medical facilities, any more than you can make more than twelve cupcakes.

The rest is almost as bad:
Senator Sanders points to the Scandinavian model as an example of what it means to have health care as a right. Senator Sanders has traveled widely in his life — he found much to praise in the Soviet Union while honeymooning there, and said so — but he is, like many American progressives, almost completely parochial.
I'll spare you: Williamson is not dumb enough to repeat the much-ridiculed conservative argument that Scandinavian healthcare is not socialist and we can't have it here because that would be socialism. He does come close, though; he tells us Scandinavian healthcare is not socialist -- for example, "private out-of-pocket spending on health care is proportionally higher in Sweden... than in the United States," though you don't hear as much about Swedes being left homeless or doing without life-saving medicine due to cost as you do in the U.S. due to their, um, not-socialism. He also admits U.S. health care sucks.

So why, then, can't we have what Sweden is having? Williamson's trick answer -- and this will surprise no one familiar with his contempt for dying hillbilly communities-- is that the Swedes are morally superior to grasping Yanks:
[Swedish] citizens are understood not as baby birds with open beaks being fed by the state, but as having primary responsibility for themselves. “It has the connotation that you have the social obligation to be competent,” Sanandaji says. 
Not a right, but a duty...
Get that through your fat heads, leeches!
In the United States, we have a poor and diminished notion of citizenship, that citizens are only “taxpayers” and “voters.” Good citizens, in the inescapable contemporary formulation, are those who “play by the rules and pay their taxes.” That’s the real individual mandate: Pay and obey. The progressive proposition is that, in exchange for this obedience, childlike citizens are to be provided for by government in loco parentis, and that their role in this is almost entirely passive: submit to taxation, follow the regulations, receive the benefits. Hence the rhetoric of health care as a right. 
A fuller and more mature notion of citizenship would be one that holds, as ours once did, that among the first duties of the citizen is to provide for himself and look after his family so as not to burden his neighbors unnecessarily.
In other words: Swedes understand what their taxes pay for, and are thus worthy to have their cancer treated, while Americans are all weak-willed socialist moochers who must have socialized medicine forcibly held back from them by bigbrains like Kevin D. Williamson.

It's not that you can't have it because it's socialism -- you can't have it because you suck. Vote Republican!