Friday, June 11, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I'm so past & out of it I didn't even know this was briefly popular, sort of.
Well, I
still like it!

•   I only unleashed one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down joint (the one mentioned last post) out of five this week on the GP.  Come on and sign up for the full subscription -- it's cheap! And I'll still be filling in the blanks over here. For instance, I just did an issue digging through what was at the time the latest offense to reason by ham-faced pundit Erick Erickson, and no sooner did it publish than he posted something at least as dumb. It is facially inspired by Hunter Biden saying "nigga" (aka the soft n-word) to his lawyer.

Erickson claims that a country musician and a high school student (Wallen and Groves, I guess their names are) got in trouble for using that word (which version of the word, alas, is not made clear), but “the major media outlets across the country that condemned Mr. Wallen and Ms. Groves are silent” about Biden fils

First of all, I never heard of the musician or the student before Erickson mentioned them. (I should add that Erickson claims “the New York Times wrote approvingly of Mr. Galligan ruin[in]g Groves’ scholarship,” which is a reductive-to-the-point-of-bullshit characterization of the Times’ actual coverage.)  

Second, at this moment if you look up “hunter biden n-word” on Google News you get, no lie, 91,300 hits. The majority of them seem to be from rightwing news sites yelling WHY WON’T LIB MEDIA HUNTER N-WORD BLARGH, true, but that just goes to show that rightwing media is "major media," and indeed the only source of “news” tens of millions of Americans choose to read or watch, notwithstanding that it’s mostly outrageously shoddy propaganda wearing a filmy g-string of journalism. I'm sure vastly more people have heard about Hunter Biden’s n-word than know, for example, that Trump’s AG seized Democratic Congressmen Adam Schiff’s  and Eric Swalwell’s records from Apple for reasons anyone who spent more than a few seconds downwind of the Trump Administration can guess. 

Also, this bears repeating: Who the fuck cares about Hunter Biden? These guys always talk as if he’s a Democratic Senator or something liberals have to defend. (Conversely, Trump’s nitwit, charity-defrauding sons constantly vaunt themselves into the political spotlight by helping their dad lie about the 2020 election.)

But then Erickson gets philosophical about the N-word itself:
The N-word has become the one word, the use of which, can destroy a person’s career. But it is routinely used in popular music that is listened to and enjoyed across racial lines. The word has become weaponized beyond the power any word should have if it can be used to selectively target and destroy.
“How come they can say n***** and we can’t” is a junior-high trope that we must expect, alas, even at the highest levels of conservatism. But it gets worse:
If the double standard cancelations continue, people will begin to use the word more, supposing the double standard is faux outrage at a word so common in parts of popular culture. Put another way, if the press will ignore Hunter Biden for the same sins of Wallen and Groves, many will presume the use of the word is not really a cultural sin and they will be bolder in use of it.
OK, gotta admit: “Liberals are making us say n*****” is a new one. 

•   Late add here but: There's a lot of good in this year's Pulitzers (besides, of course, my not getting one) but the decision to give no editorial cartooning award despite having three genuinely world-class nominees -- Ruben Bolling (Ken Fisher), Sammy Two Bulls, and Lalo Alcaraz -- stinks to high heaven. The Pulitzer committee has been dickish on drama in years past, usually because some old fart couldn't stand the newfangled young turks like Robert Wilson or Edward Albee, and Tom Tomorrow suggests on his Twitter account this year's fiasco could be even worse than that. Anyway, boo to whoever fucked this up. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

"THERE'S ROSS PEROT. DR. LAURA. MEGAN McARDLE. WAIT A MINUTE -- THEY'RE NOT SO GREAT."

Here’s a link to a free installment of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down (Subscribe! Cheap!) about how conservatives rushed to the defense of hypergazillionaires like Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett when their taxes were subjected to scrutiny in that ProPublica exposé. Their main argument seems to be that someone leaking the tycoons’ impossibly low tax rates is the Real Scandal, and that you paupers should worry that some evil journalism non-profit will publish your tax rate and forget all about soaking the increasingly soakworthy rich.  

When I wrote it I hadn’t seen Megan McArdle’s entry at the Washington Post. I haven’t been paying much attention to her since she explained why stimulus payments were pointless a few months back, and I should have known better because if anyone can be counted on to fly to the defense of the super-rich it’s her. 

McArdle starts by noticing that both Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are engaged in a literal space race of the sort only national governments could afford to engage in once upon a time, and she understands, really, why you littlebrains would “suspect they’re not paying enough taxes and reporters are eager to prove it,” sigh. But she’ll have you know that the “deductions they were taking seem to be largely legitimate ones you’ve heard of — think charitable donations, not hidden offshore accounts.” You’re not against charity, are you? 

Also, you’re not against fairness, are you? Because taxing the rich more would be unfair, because it’s more. You have to admit Bezos keeping all but <1% of the 99 billion in wealth he accumulated over four years is only fair -- how’d you like to have to pay more than that? Huh? What’s that? You do, in fact, pay a great deal more? Well, how about this: 

Ordinary Americans don’t pay income tax every time our stock portfolios go up or our homes appreciate a bit. We pay the tax when we sell. Why should American billionaires be different?

What do you mean you don’t have a stock portfolio? What do you mean you don’t have a house? Why then is Megan McArdle even talking to you? Actually she’s not – she’s just facing you while her true audience applauds from the Royal Box. But she can’t relax: Anyone can explain why soaking the rich is unfair – to prove her worth McArdle must also tug at the heartstrings with grim pictures of life under a more progressive tax structure:

…while the ultrawealthy wouldn’t be forced out of their family homes, they might be forced to sell off stock of a business they spent decades building. 

Gasp! One pictures Elon Musk, in his ratty fingerless gloves, peeling off shares to hand over to his Socialist Masters while consoling a tearful Grimes, “if things get very bad be can always pawn the blood emeralds.” 

The toffs no doubt are loving it, but McArdle still hasn’t got to her big finish: A show of contempt for the portfolio-less bums who don’t understand the ultrarich must be able to do big things like scout extraterrestrial locations for their post-climate-collapse HQ, and if you hoboes can’t see that maybe you just don’t have enough soul: 

“People should pay taxes on untaxed capital gains” is what you come up with if you just don’t think anyone should have enough money to be able to shoot themselves into space, and you think that the government should tax that money even if it doesn’t benefit anyone else — heck, even if it costs the rest of us something.

By some definitions of fairness, that’s a defensible position. But given a choice between letting billionaires spend fortunes reaching for the stars, or destroying those fortunes so that the rest of us don’t have to look at them, then personally, I’ll take the rockets.

Maybe she means that last bit literally, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the rich refugees from our destroyed planet left her at the launchpad – by then they’ll have created robots that can flatter them just as well at an even lower maintenance cost. 

Friday, June 04, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Local radio was playing a bunch of power-to-the-people tunes.
I know this one's cheese, but I love it.

•   OK, kids, here are the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for the week -- this scene at Mar-a-Lago, in which Tubby talks turkey with his least favorite in-law; and today's fresh-as-daisies ripped-from-today's-headlines item on how the wingnut handling of the Lab Leak story fits with their Rigged Election fantasy -- and the part played in it by éminence Grey Goose Peggy Noonan. Yes, it's not just the Brown Shirts and the von Papens anymore -- even the little von Hindenburgs are getting into the act now. Exciting times!

Precisely why you should subscribe. I actually withdrew one story that had been made public because I'm through being Mr. Goodbar, people. It's not like I'm making Andrew Sullivan money, because unlike Captain Caliper's Substack mine does not flatter the imaginary grievances of honky douchebags, but tells the hard truth to a uncomprehending and contemptuous world with the satire and exegesis it, alas, is too depraved to know it needs. Get in on the ground floor of my lost cause and subscribe!

•   Couldn't we all use a little good news? Of course, that any one of these gruesome specimens will probably be Ohio governor is not good news, but it's nice to see that even Buckeye Republicans can apparently smell the fraudulence of Thiel-backed fascist J.D. Vance:


I've had this guy's number from jump (a Rod Dreher endorsement is usually as much warning as you need). And while I can sort of understand the appeal of some GOP assholes -- I've read enough Nick Fury comics to get why a certain kind of guy would like the insufferable Dan Crenshaw, for example -- so many of the media's favorite rightwing grifters are so obviously repulsive that I can't imagine normal people cottoning to them, whatever their politics. Ron DeSantis, for instance, seems to me a replacement-level 50s B-movie goon whom Lee J. Cobb told to get a manicure and a nice suit and try and look gubernatorial. Mike Pence is a wet sack of nothing and Greg Abbott is a pig-eyed creep. If any of these people tried to sell you an encyclopedia, tell me you wouldn't shut the door in his face! So it's encouraging to know that people see through at least one of these wet noodles.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

THE SIMS 2021: FAUCI AND THE LAB LEAK EDITION.

So -- your hero totally fucked up a pandemic, telling people to take unauthorized treatments and maybe try "disinfectant," and massively lost reelection, and his successor is dishing out the vaccine at a good clip and scoring higher approval ratings than Tubby could ever dream of. 

What do you do? Relitigate on your own terms, pasting a story together from shards of news and your own bitter resentments. 

The COVID "lab leak" theory's a good bet -- it dovetails with the China Menace theme of contemporary conservatism, and there's a great new Vanity Fair article suggesting that authorities were not as thorough in exploring the possibility that COVID-19 spring from a Chinese lab rather than bats as they should have been (in part, reporter Katerhine Eban suggests, because Trump's "crackpots or political hacks hoping to wield COVID-19 as a cudgel against China" made the truth harder to pursue).

The Biden Administration is investigating, but if you're rightwing you know that's just part of the liberal cover-up. So, as Bannon bade, you flood the zone with shit. Jim Geraghty at National Review is on the case, declaring the Vanity Fair story is "evidence that the seemingly hyperbolic conspiracy theories" -- that is, the kind Eban mentioned as an impediment to the search for truth in her article --  "are true." They investigate, we instigate!

Thence follows a round of "You Liberals are the Real [Fill In The Blank]" -- in this case, your vaunted Democratic "follow-the-science" approach is all a lie, and our unconfirmed suspicions prove it! William McGurn at the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Biden has made many such statements (“we are letting science speak again”), but they have little to do with science. They are meant as continued digs at Mr. Trump. All are offered with a confidence, apparently fully justified, that a largely pliant press will run with them, no hard questions asked, unless you count asking the president about the flavor of his ice cream.

Ha ha, you reporters are all propagandists -- whom we're now quoting to prove the Chinese shot us with bug-bombs. (The Liberal Media gets a magic pass from customary conservative contempt the second it intersects with their talking points.)

R ightwing shitposters pick up the message -- the story means the Lab Leak (which I remind you is being investigated, not settled) is proven, and any explanation other than that is a fraud, just like climate change.  Thus your average Republican gets the message: China attacked Trump and America with the Wuhan Flu Bioweapon and the lying MSM (which, as is always the case, has actually provided such evidence as exists) refused to tell us until it was too late.

Also, what about that Fauci, who refused to kiss Tubby's ass and now works for Biden? Thousands of pages of Fauci's COVID-era emails have been published, and contain "at least one alert from a genomic researcher" suggesting “'some of the features look (potentially) engineered,'" says the New York Post, which the Murdoch paper says is "all the more reason for US to get to bottom of COVID origins":

For a year, we’ve been told to “trust the science” — but Fauci, our leading scientist, made declarations that certain theories were “debunked” when they weren’t. Why did he back up Daszak’s self-serving dismissal of the lab theory with no real evidence — when, in fact, he was getting e-mail evidence to the contrary? 

These revelations don’t ease the growing concern that US taxpayer cash might have helped unleash this plague.

Growing unease? Who gives a shit? Like most sane people, I'm much more uneasy about the slow rate of COVID vaccinations in red states (though the tendency of Republican governments to keep their subjects poor and unable to travel may mitigate their effect on the rest of us somewhat). But in wingnut world, a nod's as good as a wink, and the few mentions of possible virus weaponization among the emails to Fauci are now being portrayed as his active cover-up of the Wuhan Flu Bioweapon, inspiring some Q-flavored lunacy in a rash of #FauciLiedPeopleDied Twitter posts, including some calling for the good doctor to be executed

And so the alt-reality in which conservatives live is further developed: The election was stolen by Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters – with the help of the Red Chinese and Anthony Fauci -- so Biden could queer Mr. Potato Head and cancelculture all white people. Not my idea of paradise -- more like my idea of a madhouse, to be honest -- but apparently a third of the nation finds it cozy, and therein dwell dreaming of revenge, perhaps with another march up Capitol Hill. 

Monday, May 31, 2021

HAPPY PRIDE WITH ROD DREHER!

alicublog's favorite Jesus freak Rod Dreher has been in Hungary as a disguised or possibly unwitting Orbán operative for six weeks, and it has mainly just made him more like himself than ever. Here's a recent lulu, in which Dreher looks at this anodyne Kohl's Department Stores Pride Month ad...


...and sees this:

Now you have the biggest department store chain in America doing its part to normalize polygamy as the next step in Love Wins™.

Now, being a simple soul, I looked at the photo and thought, oh what a lot of nice gay-or-possibly-ally models! I didn't realize all the adults were not only fucking but married

One wonders why Dreher didn't assume the little kid was part of the tetrad because Kohl's is into pedophilia. Or would QAnon pedo stuff be a little too déclassé for Dreher -- at least for the moment?  

There's more, including some wonderfully Dreheresque Pennsylvania Dutch sampler copy, e.g.:

We got gay marriage because the Supreme Court ruled that it’s a fundamental right of people to marry those they love. Fundamental rights don’t depend on whether or not it’s good for a society if people have them.

The First Amendment doesn't mean you can say "fuck my ass dry!" in a crowded theater.  And Dreher's investigation of a gay-friendly Blue's Clues episode is -- well, look:

Happy Pride, guys, and remember: If you think Pride's tired and not worth celebrating, remember that it's still capable of raising a fine froth among the Bigot-American community. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I had this soundtrack as a teenager and loved it -- not just because of the movie 
but also because the eclecticism was very cool to me 
(even though I didn't know what "eclecticism" was.)

•   I am titrating the free access to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down in hopes some of you free-riders will take the hint and subscribe. Today's freebie is an account of my trip back to the homeland last weekend and the deep thoughts it stirred. Go on, live it up. If you want more of my prose stylings, I've started doing short bits on the front of my homepage -- updated at random, not even saved, in a spirit of wanton generosity and as an offering (as Kia liked to say) of cheese and crackers on the altar of the gods. 

•  I can either drink or I can weep, as Art Carney says in that great Twilight Zone episode. No fewer than 24 Republican-run states have blocked the extra federal unemployment payments the Biden administration had extended to their constituents.  And they'll probably suffer no ill electoral effects from it either, because while polls show voters of all kinds approve of stimulus payments, they also show that a lot of voters simply don't know that the Democrats support such payments and that Republicans don't -- per a Rural Objective PAC survey:

Americans have so far received three direct payments from the federal government in response to the coronavirus. The first two were distributed under President Donald Trump’s watch, but while not a single Republican voted in favor of the third round, only half of rural voters in a new poll gave Democrats any credit.

Oh, and remember those power outages in Texas that had residents freezing in the dark because the semi-privatized (that is, private profit/public risk) power companies didn't bother to plow their receipts into winterization? Texas is going to fix it by letting the power cos raise rates:

Most Texans will likely have higher charges on their power bills for years to come to cover gas utilities', electric cooperatives' and electric companies’ financial losses from the storm and prevent customers from having to pay huge bills in a short time.

Lawmakers are close to passing bills that would allow companies to seek billions of dollars in state-approved bonds backed by charges on customers’ bills to stabilize the state’s distressed energy market.  

See, this was a big reason why I always voted for Bernie Sanders -- at least when people listened to him, they weren't confused about whether he wanted to soak the rich or not. 

I keep thinking eventually the honkies in at least a few of these GOP states will figure out that the cheap thrills they get from the GOP's racism-and-culture-war sideshows aren't worth their every-increasing immiseration, but the 2020 Georgia results suggest the only reliable clapback is to get more black people to the polls, which is why the Republican-run states are also trying to stop that

And now the Republicans are also blocking the January 6 commission with the filibuster, that sacred institution Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are too dainty to touch. I tell ya, if Democrats don't start acting like Democrats, even I'm gonna forget what they're supposed to be in favor of. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

STREET HASSLE.

I see that conservatives are having one of their periodic "crime wave" waves, claiming that, in the words of James W. Antle III at the Washington Examiner, "Surging crime rate spells trouble for Democrats in 2022 elections" (with neolibs like Ezra Klein saying pretty much the same thing) and, in the words of the Manhattan Institute's Jason L. Riley, "Shrinking Blue States Have ‘Defund the Police’ to Blame." (Blue states haven't really lost much population, but Riley thinks "lackluster population growth" is just as bad.)

Crime rates are up, but that can hardly be laid to "defunding," since recent big-city PD cuts have been small and sometimes, as with Minneapolis, resulted in zero force reductions. And many other things besides crime are out of whack now, considering we're coming out of a historic pandemic with its various dislocations. Also the increases are -- you will be unsurprised to learn -- not as dire as the professional panic merchants put them -- from my most recent Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter issue*:

From the most recent CompStat crime statistics report, for the week of May 10-16, from the New York Police Department: Murders in New York City are up in 2021 from this time last year by 22%; rapes are up 2%; and felonious assaults are up 5.9%.

Chaos! Death Wish! Etc. But the actual number of murders year-to-date 2021 vs. 2020 are 155 and 127 — meaning there have been 28 more than this time last year. Rapes went from 491 to 501 — 20 more. And there are 7,182 assault in 2021 vs. 6,782 in 2020, or 400 more.

The population of New York is about 8.4 million. Meaning, even if we leave out the tourists and other outlanders, the percentage of the city’s population that has been murdered so far this year is 0.00184%. The raped population is 0.006% and the feloniously assaulted population is 0.08%.

We won’t even speak of the decline in robberies (-9.9%), burglaries (16.1%), and grand larcenies (-9.3%) in the same period...

Nonetheless you'll see the usual suspects at City Journal and elsewhere talking about it like the return of Death Wish. It's been such a long time since those rates actually rose that I'm not sure if the old Ooga-Booga is going to work like it used to -- especially since there are more voters in the system now who have other things to worry about, and conservatives are basically talking about crime the same way they used to scare your grandma with it back in the old days. But it'll be interesting to see.

* I'm not making this issue available to non-subscribers because I'm trying to cut back on the freebies and get more paying customers in the door, hint hint. But here's yesterday's, about the future of Texas education laws -- still fresh, possibly evergreen!