Thursday, July 29, 2021

YOUR-LYING-EYES WATCH.

I see the Wall Street Journal is submitting their version of the Dumbassery Defense of Tubby and his attempted January 6 coup, under the bothsidery headline “Two False Narratives About the Capitol Riot” (“As the Jan. 6 committee meets, politics drowns out the actual story”). They first try to throw dirt in our eyes by sneakily supporting Elise Stefanik’s ridiculous claim (already repeatedly debunked) that Nancy Pelosi was in charge of Capitol security and is thus to blame for letting the hordes in -- “Security oversights in the run-up to the riot are fair game,” “Questions remain about the Capitol’s unpreparedness,” etc. (Yes, an actual Questions Remain! Thought they’d retired that one. Ah well, any old bull in a shitstorm.) 

WSJ admits some badness may have happened on January 6, but it's bothsides take-backsies because the Democrats are exaggerating:

The rioters had no apparent leader and no coherent plan.

Even if they’d managed to steal or destroy the official Electoral College certificates, do Democrats think some knucklehead in face paint and a fur hat could have simply declared the election void? The public and the courts wouldn’t have stood for a rabble overturning the 2020 result. Mr. Trump didn’t have the military on his side, or even most of his own Administration. The investigations so far have turned up no guiding cabal. Rioters have been arrested and many will go to prison.

I mean, the putsch was started from a beer hall, for cryin’ out loud! And that Hitler is a total clown! I don’t see why you’re making such a big deal out it – must be cheap politics. Now back to humoring our idiot voters as they spread COVID throughout the hinterlands

Sometimes I wonder: Are they really trying to seize power or just make America such a shithole that it won’t be worth having anymore? 

Monday, July 26, 2021

A SHOT AND A BOOR.

 I’m releasing today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, about how the polio vaccine rollout may have gone down if anti-vaxxers back then were like anti-vaxxers now (i.e., weaponized and in significant positions of power). Some things didn’t need much changing – Eisenhower’s HEW Secretary Ovetta Culp Hobby didn’t like socialized medicine nohow:  

Mrs. Oveta Culp Hobby branded a Democratic plan for free poliomyelitis vaccine to all children today as a possible "back-door" approach to socialized medicine…

Mrs. Hobby appeared at a noisy session of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee. Republicans accused the Democrats of trying to make a “political football” of the polio vaccination program. Democrats replied the Administration was foisting the “evil” of a means test on children before they could get the vaccine…

Senator Barry Goldwater, Republican of Arizona, questioned Mrs. Hobby on whether the adoption of the Democratic bill would mean a demand for federal participation in other public-health programs.

“I’m sure there would be a demand for it,” she said.

“Is there any other term for that than socialized medicine?” he asked. 

Mrs. Hobby paused. She said she wanted to form a careful answer. Finally, she replied: “That’s socialized medicine through the back door, not the front door.”

This is a reminder that the seeds of modern Republican lunacy were planted long ago. But circumstances do change: Now that red states are glowing with new COVID infections, Republicans are suddenly shifting from vaccine skepticism to vaccine boosterism, and propagandists are trying retro-spin – see Jim Geraghty at National Review: “America’s cities include a lot of unvaccinated Americans, and, defying the popular perception about the unvaccinated, the odds are good that most of those unvaccinated urbanites are Democrats…” You watch; in a few weeks they’ll be asking why Biden didn’t make vaccinations mandatory. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Still haven't seen that documentary, but meantime there's the music.

•  Friday again! And once again I just have one freebie-of-the-week from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, to which you should be subscribing because it’s five days a week of premium content for pennies: The one about conservatives fluffing Bezos and Branson for their spaceshit. The McArdle, Podhoretz, and Baseball Crank licks are pretty grisly, but Rich Lowry of National Review really goes for the gusto with (vom) "The Beauty of Billionaires in Space":
Rarely has stunning human achievement been greeted with as much churlishness as when Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos managed to fly or launch themselves into space.

There may be all sorts of legitimate grounds for criticizing billionaires…
…but attaining suborbital flight under their own power doesn’t seem one of them.
“Their own power” meaning their own money, I guess, unless they used stationary bikes to crank the rockets or something. After comparing Bezos and Branson to Samuel Morse, the Wright Brothers, and Henry Ford, Lowry rhapsodizes about Elon Musk’s SpaceX, speculating that Musk’s rockets may be useful to the government someday “in any major conflict that involves rival militaries targeting each other’s satellites.” Lowry doesn’t seem to have considered that, should Musk's technology become thus useful, our enemies may offer to pay the blood-emerald heir more for it than we will, and everything about Musk suggests he would happily sell it to them instead. (Can’t imagine how Lowry missed that, considering the contempt he and his colleagues are continually heaping on Big Gummint America. Wouldn’t any conservative prefer rule by churlish tycoon to democracy?)

I guess there’s a transitive property to this toadying -- conservatives want rich people to know they’re devoted to them generally, so more of them might offer to pay them to help subvert the will of the paupers. But I’m surprised current National Review donors don’t demand more of this treatment for themselves. Doesn’t the Koch family, for example, ever wonder why they should be content with mere attacks on Jane Mayer for their money, when they could be getting publicly tongue-bathed the way Bezos and Branson are? I wouldn’t be surprised if they ceased to expect their encomia only in obituaries and start requiring up front. Isn’t a large donation worth a Betsy DeVos fashion spread? 

•  Zaid Jilani – one of the many cancelculture crybabies infesting Substack – thinks he sees artificial light at the end of his imaginary tunnel
The firm Morning Consult polled a range of Americans about their views on cancel culture, looking at different generational cohorts: Generation Z (Americans born in the years 1997 through 2008), millennials (1981 through 1996), Generation X (1965 through 1980), and the baby boomers (1946 through 1964). Of course, polls should not be treated as definitive on their own, as they are imperfect snapshots in time, and opinions can certainly change. 

Nevertheless, this new data is a hopeful indication that cancel culture may have peaked. Overall, cancel culture is quite unpopular among all cohorts, with each generation viewing it more negatively than positively. Millennials appeared to be most supportive of cancel culture: 19 percent said they had a positive view of it, while 22 percent were neutral, 36 percent were opposed to it, and 22 percent said they had no opinion.
So Morning Consult didn’t ask whether they’re against Twitter deactivating a Nazi’s account, or Facebook deactivating Trump’s, or a corporate board firing a rich executive because he’s embarrassing the company with his racist remarks – they asked whether they’re against “cancel culture.” That’s like asking if you’re “politically correct” – after decades of rightwingers using it as an increasingly random swearword, of course nobody will say they’re P.C. -- though most of those same people probably don’t like offensive comments and bigoted attitudes, which is usually what rightwingers actually mean by it. (Most of the times I've been called "politically correct" have come after I failed to laugh at someone's racist joke.) I expect that’s why Jilani professes surprise that Gen Z appears to be against cancel culture “given its progressive leanings” – these people think that if you don’t think boycotting MyPillow is a hate crime, you must be some cartoon pussyhatted hippie spooling out speech codes. They’re in for a shock when they look at what the kids think about socialism

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

TAX THE SPACE TOURISTS.

I have released and invite you to read a free issue of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down (Subscribe! Cheap!) about Bezos and other billionaires shooting into near-space, and how strenuously conservatives are defending them from the many normal Americans who have responded to their well-publicized playdates-with-destiny with mockery, insults and (most of all) calls for the fuckers to be taxed like the rest of us if not more. 

Some leading rightwingers are therein considered (McArdle, Baseball Crank, and Podhoretz, who actually compares Bezos to Magellan) but others keep speed-crawling toward the richies’ asses. A National Review editorial claims the billionaires’ “achievements should be celebrated by all who value the ingenuity of the untrammeled human spirit,” as if anyone who wasn’t already kissing their butts for the great achievement of being rich would be convinced by the fact that they got scientists and engineers to make them their own mini-NASAs and spent a few moments replicating feats achieved over fifty years ago by the despised Big Government.

I suppose if these nobs bought weapons of war on the open market and used them to invade and conquer some tiny country, National Review would demand we applaud that, too. (Though, come to think of it, isn’t that a little too close to what Reagan did to Grenada? But then Reagan, being President, was obliged to use public resources to invade, ugh! Erik Prince, it’s your time to shine!) 

NR closes:

Americans should seek to build atop these admirable breakthroughs and to ensure that, 20, 30, 40 years hence, when the next vaultingly ambitious entrepreneurs try something astonishing of their own, they, too, find a safe and welcoming reception on American soil.

And of course they’re already doing “something astonishing”: Building remote redoubts on distant islands and in mountain hideaways for themselves where – when the breakdown in order and climate catastrophe engendered by their greed and neglect (and, in the case of press lords like Murdoch, encouraged by their actions) turns America and indeed the world into an utter hellhole – they can chillax with robot slaves and private infrastructures, and maybe plan future space jaunts to see if they can’t bequeath Mars to their offspring.

Tax their asses off, I say. Most Americans agree. And some polities like Washington, D.C. and politicians like Bernie Sanders (and not just him anymore!) are getting on board. Now that’s “something astonishing” that should “find a safe and welcoming reception on American soil,” alright! 

Friday, July 16, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Been in an early-Dylan mood. I like to imagine Mitch Miller hearing
it for the first time and going "what the hell is this?"

•   OK, I have one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie for you this week (subscribers get five shots a week! It’s almost wasteful not to subscribe!). It’s about Buddy Brown, a country singer the culture warriors have picked up on because he does anti-woke and frankly racist tunes. As mentioned in the item (and at greater length in the comments), this is not an unprecedented niche in country music, but whereas someone like, say, Johnny Rebel would put out the rawest n-word-enriched shit and stand on it, and only the Klu Kluxers would pay any mind at all, with his slightly subtler material Brown is getting the free speech hero treatment from the likes of The Daily Wire. I have to say Johnny Rebel strikes me as the more honest act, at least. Me, I don’t want to ban anyone, but when people demand good citizenship medals for being asswipes I get annoyed. 

•   As even a casual reader will have noticed, the Washington Examiner is as reliable a Trump-ass-sucking enterprise as one can find. So it’s interesting to see Seth Mandel try this maybe-Trump-is-not-such-a-good-idea act on their readership:
Donald Trump’s cultural and long-term political legacy will be debated for decades. But his legacy for the Republican Party will be tested far sooner than that. He has the power to leave the GOP and the conservative movement intact or disastrously divided. It will all depend on whether Trump runs for president in 2024.

For the good of the country, his party, and himself, he shouldn’t.
One can almost hear the crowd growing ugly and breaking off table legs. Mandel rushes to assure them that “It’s true and recognized by people with open minds that Trump catalyzed some overdue policy shifts in Washington while making inroads with crucial voter blocs” – an interesting way to describe a candidate who lost his last election by seven million votes. 

Having mollified the crowd, Mandel returns to his point:
But that doesn't mean the party needs Trump as its nominee in 2024. For the 2020 gains were the party’s as a whole, not his alone. He was running in 2020 as a candidate more clearly aligned with his party than he had been in 2016, when the conventional wisdom was that he would govern significantly less conservatively than would other Republican candidates. Four years later, he had nominated three conservative Supreme Court justices and energetically defended religious liberty and Second Amendment rights — long-standing conservative and GOP causes.

This shows the conservative policy program is not in need of drastic reform.
Really? It sounds like he doubled down on “long-standing conservative and GOP causes” and (I must repeat) lost. (Maybe Mandel is trying to signal in a coded way that, like most Republicans these days, he thinks Trump really won.) It’s hard to say that Republican policy is broadly popular when the most high-profile Republican policies right now are 1.) Biden stole the election and 2.) Vaccination is a communist plot.

But Mandel thinks Republicans can win in 2024 so long as they cut loose of Trump, who alienates voters and divides the party, and unite the GOPs’ “ideological and establishment wings” behind one of the non-Trump-but-Trump-influenced candidates who “don’t scare either wing.” His “possible consensus” candidates are – drumroll, please -- Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, the two biggest pig-eyed scumbags in the party that have not yet tried to murder Congress to steal an election, probably owing only to lack of opportunity. The governor selling “Don’t Fauci My Florida” hats while his constituents’ COVID rates are soaring, and the one who let his people freeze in the dark and signed the looniest anti-abortion law in the country. That’s what I call a derp bench! 

This is why I keep saying conservative intellectuals are so weak these days because they don’t even have to try to make sense anymore. Hell. Mandel and all the rest of them know it’s all about voter suppression – the rest is just vamping for paychecks. 

•   At National Review Michael Brendan Dougherty affects to advise his readers on how to go about “Convincing the Skeptics” to get vaccinated. He doesn’t really do that, though – he mainly tells us that our public health officials lie and big tech is Big Brother and that’s why anti-vaxxers don’t trust them so too bad for you needle Nazis.
Public-health messaging that is constant but doesn’t address your actual concerns will, quite understandably, feel sinister and propagandistic. That’s doubly true when public-health authorities and major corporations have become so much more interested in censoring “misinformation” about COVID-19. Skeptics could already point to the lame attempts to suppress conversation about the lab-leak hypothesis.

The most serious phenomenon feeding skepticism, among the skeptics in my life, is the ongoing and bizarre public-health treatment of children.
Then Dougherty puts up a tweet about Fauci advising parents to mask their toddlers. (Note I say “advising” because, thanks to a certain interpretation of our beloved freedoms, we are hardly able to force anyone to do anything to retard the spread of COVID.) “People can see with their own eyes that our public-health establishment is not only anxious to censor dissent,” says Dougherty, “but is also habituated to lying about the risks in order to justify unnecessary public-health interventions.” 

Dougherty then gives his own idea of how someone might try coaxing the vaxxless:
An ad might acknowledge that indeed there aren’t long-term studies and cannot be any when we are responding to a sudden pandemic, but it could offer medical reasoning to trust that long-term health complications due to these vaccines are unlikely, given how few short-term complications there have been.

Wow that sounds convincing. 

A public-health campaign would give context to the information about vaccine reactions reported on the government’s own websites — such as the VAERs system — and explain how the government assesses them.
Think about the “skeptics” you’ve met or seen on your Facebook feed or elsewhere. Does this sound like something that would make them more likely to get a shot? Or would they just scream THEY ADMIT IT FAUCI LIES and demand hydroxychloroquine?

Well, then, guess that’s that – not even kissing the anti-vaxxers’ asses will do much good now. Guess we just have to hope against hope those scientists are wrong, and maybe buy some magnets and crystals. 

If conservatives had the kind of power and brainworms in 1955 that they have now, we never would have eradicated polio. You know it and I know it. I am sick of these motherfucking wingnuts in this motherfucking polity. 

Friday, July 09, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Never heard of her before. How many more such undiscovered treasures are online?

•  Sorry for the light posting; busy busy days. Here are couple of freebies from the pay site: an extended consideration of that National Review story claiming liberals refusing to date Trump supporters is discriminatory, and why it figures conservatives would think so; and another scene of Trump-in-exile, this time in Bedminster and starring former Trump Dr. Liegood Ronny Jackson. Subscribe, why don’t you? 

•  Here is some excellent coverage in the Tennessean of “community members and local advocacy organizations” and their complaints about Williamson County schools teaching this awful racism-exists stuff to the kids:

One of the most vocal groups has been the Williamson County chapter of Moms for Liberty started earlier this year. The group includes members with children in and outside of Williamson County Schools.

Ha ha I bet it does.

The head of the Williamson County chapter of Moms for Liberty, Robin Steenman, brought several books included in the curriculum and presented excerpts to the Williamson County Commission's education committee in May…

One of the books she specifically referred to was "Ruby Bridges Goes to School," written by Ruby Bridges herself. Bridges, when she was age 6, was one of the first African American students to integrate New Orleans' all-white public school system. 

Steenman said that the mention of a "large crowd of angry white people who didn't want Black children in a white school" too harshly delineated between Black and white people, and that the book didn't offer "redemption" at its end.

Boy, wait’ll the kids hear about – well, the entire civil rights movement. That is, if they ever get the chance. 

I’ve been saying that the (you’ll forgive the expression) lynchpin of the anti-“CRT” movement will be what the Oklahoma legislation makes most explicit: That telling kids racism is not just some bad phase America unaccountably passed through and never has to worry about again, but a persistent and yes, systemic problem that some people are always trying to make worse out of self-interest, has to be outlawed because it will make some kid “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.” In other words, it’s typical rightwing snowflakery -- the conviction that anything that makes them feel bad must be bad, no matter what it does to or for anyone else -- attached to “won’t someone please think of the children” moral panic. And if the papers didn’t insist on covering these pressure groups as if they were operating in good faith rather than just working the same John Birch ooga-booga they were working in the 1960s, it would be obvious to most people. Which is why it helps to show them what these guys are actually trying to do.

Friday, July 02, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


What do you think of the new Garbage album? I like it.

•  OK, OK, here’s some free content from the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down daily newsletter (though really you should subscribe, fresh copy five [5] days a week from America’s most underrated writer for approximately 35 cents an issue is ludicrously cheap): First, some future National Guard deployments we can expect since Kristi Noem rented her troops out to some gazillionaire wingnut to play Border Patrol with -- real fall-of-Rome stuff, but I got some laughs out of it. And here’s a speech from a recently released sex offender! I’d say “trigger warning” but really, these days I’d say a TW is implicit in just about any national news coverage, straight or fanciful, wouldn’t you? 

•  Speaking of triggers, Pride Month has ended, which I hope will reduce some of the intense pressure Rod Dreher seems to have been under. You will recall he’s been in Hungary studying up on how to prepare Orb├ín fascism for export, and though Big Vik has been banning all the gay he can ban, the persistence of happy homos abroad seemed to bother Dreher all the more – as if living the dream of anti-gay persecution in Hungary made him all the more painfully cognizant of those corners of the globe where homosexuality was not suppressed. It’s been fun, but my favorite Moment of Dreher this past week is more racism-driven, as well as a classic example of his “reader mailbag” shtick:

I had a conference call on Sunday night with two guys back in the US. Both are young conservative Christian friends who worked for the same major American media company (one still does, but the other quit a few months back). They are white males. They reached out to me via a mutual friend after my book Live Not By Lies had an impact on them. They agreed to talk to me for the record if I consented to keeping their details private. What follows is my record of our conversation, revised to honor their concerns. I sent the draft version of this post to them both to make sure I had written down our conversation accurately, and that I had protected them both. The one who still works for this company (I’ll call it ACME) has a family to support, and can’t afford to lose his job.

I will call these men Rick and Charlie. Their real names aren’t even close to this. I hate that I have to write like this, but these are the stakes. People are scared to death for their careers – and they have reason to be.

Reminds me of this:


Anyway, these two Swear To God They’re Real guys had the devil’s own time at ACME, what with all the post-George-Floyd wokeness:

Rick says that in these endless strings of meetings, ACME executives would give black people an opportunity to voice their frustrations and anger, and to talk about their “lived experiences” with racism, or what they perceived to be racism.

“Some of these things really were racism,” says Rick. “Others weren’t specific to race, but were everybody’s lived experience. Everybody gets treated badly in the same way at some point. But you couldn’t say that out loud. I sat through countless hours of that kind of meeting.”

The intended effect is, no doubt, to get readers to envision some strapping young buck bitching that his dented fender was racism, and poor Rick Nothisrealname having to listen to it for hours with his head chained up like the kid in the old Radio Free Europe ads. Anyway ACME decides to hire black people and surprise, they’re a pain in the ass:

There was one case in which the team had the budget to make a hire, and considered taking on a freelancer who had done superb work for them in the past, under budget. The problem: he was a white male.

“Someone present in the hiring meeting said, ‘White people had it good for 400 years – it’s about time they felt the sting,’” says Rick. “None of the people leading the meeting said a word about that.”

I know, you folks in corporate life hear that sort of thing all the time! 

There was another case in which a team was carrying out an expensive shoot in an environment in which a black actor hired for the shoot decided on the set that they didn’t want to subject themself to a minor inconvenience that was part of the contract. After the shoot ended, ACME offices were filled with lamentations over how racially insensitive ACME was to expect a black person to do something they didn’t want to do — even though the request was extremely minor, and the actor had signed on for it. As Rick put it, expecting a black actor to honor a professional commitment was considered intolerably racist by ACME staff.

I guess the buck wanted Van Halen treatment. So touchy, these blahs -- excuse me, those blah-lovers! 

The White Whatstheirnames also suffered from the persecution of not being Free To Be MAGA Me:

Rick is also a conservative, and was a supporter of Donald Trump. “On set, I would hear people dogging Trump supporters and Christians. I didn’t say anything. This made friendships so hollow. You just knew that if these people knew this little thing about you [your politics or religion], they probably wouldn’t want to be friends anymore.”

Think for a minute of actually believing that if the people you spend all day with knew what you were really like, they would hate you. Would you say the problem was them or you? If you said “them,” yewwww miiight be whoever's feeding this stuff to Dreher.

It goes on like that – one Whatshisname quits ACME to stay true to his beliefs, which is a big deal because “his star was on the rise,” claims Dreher – “I looked him up online at the ACME website, and he seems to have been a rising start at the company.” Meaning I guess that his company bio was flattering, as opposed to all the company bios that make their subject look like duds. 

I wonder: Do even Dreher’s loyal readers believe this shit? Or is it all an unspoken conspiracy to keep going along with the gag, in the hope that some poor dopes will wander in and mistake it for the truth?