Tuesday, November 20, 2018

MORE LETTERS TO REPENTHOUSE.

Fans of Rod Dreher's "reader" "mail" (background here) will appreciate his latest:
A reader sent me the following e-mail, which I have edited a bit to protect her privacy, and the privacy of others mentioned here:
I wanted to bring this to your attention. My husband had a conversation with a young friend of ours who is a recent college grad. He has been working at [a major retailer] for the last year. I’m not sure what his title is, but we have encountered him at the store. He is a great worker and has earned a number of company awards for his performance. He related to my husband that he had had a conversation with a friend at work about the use or non-use of transgender pronouns. He took the position that he would not feel comfortable doing this.

He was later called into his manager’s office and reprimanded. The manager told him that someone had overheard his conversation (manager wouldn’t say who), and that he had made this person feel “unsafe”. Our friend was written up for this, transferred to another store a long distance away, and suffered other severe sanctions! He was a bit naive to have engaged in this conversation at work, but good grief!
What do you guys think really happened?
  1. Employee actually said "Trannies gross me out, what do you even call them, 'he' 'she' 'he-she' 'it,' I mean yuk, YEAH I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU 'SERENA'" or words to that effect.
  2. Reader ran into Employee who had been absent from the store for a long while and asked Employee what had happened; rather than admit he had been fired for stealing, and knowing from Reader's in-store rants that she was obsessed with trans people, Employee made up story that he knew would excite Reader, then hit her up for ten bucks.
  3. This story is bullshit from top to bottom.
The follow-up is also choice ("Yes, under communism, the slightest infraction was met with overwhelming punitive force... The reader goes on: 'I am currently reading “The Gulag Archipelago”, and there are some very obvious common threads..."), and ends on a very promising note:
I’m going to start a new category of blog posts: “The Woke Workplace”. Send me your accounts of political correctness run amok in your office. If you want me to edit any details out for privacy’s sake, say so
Start sharpening your pens, folks: "Dear Repenthouse, I never thought it would happen to me..."

Friday, November 16, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Been a long week, 
bring on the body stockings,
solarization, and psychedelic cheese!

In a recent edition of my newsletter (he said, plugging it relentlessly; $7/month cheap!) I went through Salena Zito's post-election columns, in one of which the White Working Class Whisperer actually placed part of the blame for the blue wave on Trump. Granted, her reasoning was hilarious (she thinks Trump misapprehended his own voters as racist), but the really interesting thing about it is that Zito has heretofore done nothing but praise the guy -- hell, normally she defends him from his own voters rather than vice-versa, as now. Along with the Federal Society Conscience Caucus I mentioned on Wednesday, this suggests that at least some conservatives who've been gratefully receiving the benefits of Trumpism are now trying to weasel out.

My favorite so far is National Review editor Rich Lowry who, after running the infamous "Against Trump" issue in 2016, became a thorough Trump suckup. Today he's telling his readers that "Trump's not populist enough" -- meaning, I guess, that his populism's not popular: "For every Trump voter that it lights up," says Lowry, "it reminds a suburban woman why she hates his guts." Actually that suggested one-for-one trade-off would be far better for conservatives than the massive repudiation polls show he got from the suburbs; as to other voter groups that aren't voting Trumpublican, like blacks and young people, I assume Lowry finds them so unwinnable he doesn't even bother.

So what will woo the smallholders back to the GOP? "The midterms suggest that President Donald Trump needs to double down on populism," counter-intuits Lowry, "just not the sort that’s been his signature to this point." It must be "less stylistic and more substantive" -- and get a load of Lowry's lead suggestion:
It’s easy to see a rough outline. One focus should be work. Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute has written a new book, The Once and Future Worker, that is a guide to new conservative thinking on how to support a healthy labor market. The Trump team should crib from it freely.
A rightwing think tank tome lauded by Mitt Romney and J.D. Vance! That'll set the suburbs aflame. I can just see Trump holding it up at the lectern, saying, "Lotta good stuff in this book, work and the future, so great, so here's what we'll do, we're gonna send every man, woman and child a copy and let you figure it out, now when's golf?"

Also, says Lowry, Trump should be "talking about E-Verify" instead of Mexican rapists, and "explore alternative means of training and accreditation besides four-year college," which I'm guessing means vocational school. Oh, and "although you wouldn’t know it from the midterm campaign, conservatives do have proposals to deal with pre-existing conditions." Sure they do -- by exempting insurers from covering them!

But let's be kind, Lowry isn't trying to solve Republicans' problems -- except for those of one particular Republican, himself, and he's doing it by leaving some markers that may confuse some people down the road into thinking he did "Against Trump," then went into a coma, and next thing anyone knew he was recoiling in horror from Trump and offering True Conservative remedies. Ya gotta know when to blow 'em, and know when to scold 'em!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

ANOTHER SINKING-SHIP CONVERSION

The rats are regarding the shore and starting to talk exit strategy:
The annual convention of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group, has long been a glittering and bustling affair. In the Trump era, though, the group has become more powerful than ever, supplying intellectual energy and judicial candidates to an assertive administration eager to reshape the legal landscape. 
But as the group prepares to gather on Thursday for the start of this year’s convention, more than a dozen prominent conservative lawyers have joined together to sound a note of caution. They are urging their fellow conservatives to speak up about what they say are the Trump administration’s betrayals of bedrock legal norms. 
“Conservative lawyers are not doing enough to protect constitutional principles that are being undermined by the statements and actions of this president,” said John B. Bellinger III, a top State Department and White House lawyer under President George W. Bush. 
The group, called Checks and Balances, was organized by George T. Conway III...
Smell a con yet? Conway, husband of Trump lie generator Kellyanne Conway, is best known for making anti-Trump statements, which makes everyone laugh (how embarrassing for the missus!)  too much to notice what a great ass-covering technique it is for when it all goes south -- see, they'll tell us in the aftermath, Kellyanne had to "do her job" for the sake of the country but George was conveying the Washington power couple's real feelings about that awful man!

And how would this enlightened new FedSoc faction -- "not a rump group... not a disavowal” of the Society,  another member is quick to assure New York Times reporter Adam Liptak -- do things differently than the organization that's been larding our judicial system for years with rightwing operatives who are hostile to legal civil rights protections and government regulation of business? Not at all, really: Like the original-flavor FedSoc, they "generally approved of Mr. Trump’s judicial choices," Liptak tells us, and they don't say boo about society doctrine.

No; like so much other political self-promotion these days, it's All About Trump; after several paragraphs about how much the C&B's love "the country’s commitment to the rule of law and the core values underlying it," we learn that they just don't like the way the President "attacks the Justice Department and the news media." Trump has "a fundamentally wrong and very dangerous view of the criminal justice system," one of the C&Bs tells Liptak, "and people from both parties and across the political spectrum should condemn it."

Well, people from one side of the political spectrum have been condemning it since Trump started muscling Sessions. What took these guys so long?

It should be obvious, but these people clearly hope it's not: One of them assures Liptak that "the timing of the announcement of the group’s formation... was not a coincidence," but suggests the animating event was the upcoming Federalist Society convention -- not the midterm elections that show Trump dragging the GOP down and -- perhaps more importantly -- a lot of reporting on the skunky voter suppression tactics Republicans have been using to stay in office, not to mention the prospect under the new Democratic House majority of Congressional investigation that might begin to stop it.

In other words, if you're of a cynical turn of mind, it seems less likely these conservative bench-stuffers suddenly saw the light on the damage one Republican was doing to the American Way, and more likely that they realized if they want to hold any power in the rapidly approaching post-Trump world they're gonna have to throw up a scrim of plausible deniability but pronto.

Are Times readers dumb enough to buy it? Well, they're dumb enough to subscribe!

Friday, November 09, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Let's get real, real gone for a change.

•  It's pretty clear that Florida Man Rick Scott and his cronies are trying to gank the vote and that the GOP has sent operatives to Broward County to create a Schnooks Brothers Riot and shut down the vote-counting. That the protesters are focusing on the Broward County Supervisor of Elections seems like a page out of the President's playbook of calling black people stupid (he did it to three black female reporters this week). Also, Trump pre-emptively accused Andrew Gillum of theft, which to his supporters probably counts as evidence. We all know how this will go down -- the "liberal media" will (as it already has) credulously give Scott the benefit of the doubt; the case will go to law; SCOTUS will do, as it did in 2000, what it was hired to do and give the Republicans everything. Notwithstanding, the Democrats are doing right and should stick with it to the end -- because if nothing else it will show the country what kind crooked shitheels we're dealing with. And if this country's worth a damn anymore (and I realize that's up for debate), it should have a positive impact down the road.

•  Every so often -- not often enough to dilute shareholder value! -- I'm going to briefly unlock one of my newsletter issues so you guys who aren't subscribers can see it. Here's this week's selection, on hiring decisions at the White House. Enjoy! (And subscribe, I hope! But definitely enjoy!)

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

VOTE! IT AIN'T ILLEGAL YET.


I got to the polls right after they opened and it was still a 40-minute deal -- longer than ever I'd seen in D.C. I hear it's that way all over. But there's no point in speculating -- it's in your hands now.

As a service to my fellow Ward 6 Washingtonians I've unlocked my newsletter issue on Michael Bekesha, a Judicial Watch wingnut who's running as a "progressive" for council. It's a specific warning to a specific voter base, but take it as a general warning on the trust- and voteworthiness of even "woke" Republicans. (Also take it as yet another invitation to subscribe!)

Now get them votes in. As Captain Shotover says, "Courage will not save you, but it will show that your souls are still alive."

Monday, November 05, 2018

AND THEN FIX ME A SANDWICH, BY ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE.

D.C. McAllister, one of The Federalist's awful writers, has decided to make a more overt play for the frustrated rightwing geezers in her audience, and comes out in support of "service sex," which is apparently about women having sex when they don't feel like it because that's just how it's supposed to be. Yes, Dennis Prager has done this bit in the past, but for a lady to do it might just titillate some Fox News producer looking for new on-air talent. (She can always dye her hair!)

McAllister takes off on a column by Wednesday Martin at CNN -- here's a representative Martin passage:
Plenty of us have sex once in a while to make our partners happy. But regular service sex is something else -- an arguably destructive habit fostered by specific social conditions, a symptom that something is amiss in not just our sex lives, but in our larger lives, and the culture more generally.
Later, Martin suggests a "sex strike" a la Lysistrata to level things out; whatever you think of that tactic, her notion that there's something fucked up about women having to make sexual sacrifices that aren't expected of men, and that the phenomenon is related to other sexist assumptions, would strike most of us as perfectly reasonable. I suspected that would be the case when McAllister buried the link to Martin's column deep in her own, and she and her editors offered readers several mendacious descriptions of Martin's POV as an alternative to checking it out themselves -- e.g., "Being Kind to Men Is Actually Evil," Martin is "painting men who want to make love to their wives as sexually entitled" and "instituting a matriarchy," "Men Want Sex, So Don’t Give It to Them," etc.

That sort of thing is par for the course for The Federalist, but it's McAllister's paean to Ugh Alright Can We Leave the TV On sex that stands out:
Service sex is when a woman has sex with her husband or long-term partner even though she’s not in the mood. She does it, not because she gets particular pleasure from it, but because she thinks it’s what she should do to be a good wife.
Most people who have been married more than a couple of years can relate to this.
We can? And here I thought we both had to be in the mood! Wait'll I tell the missus. "Honey, guess what."
The husband comes home from work tired, drained from a day of endless meetings, frustrating assignments, or just the monotony of existing among the gray cubicles of “Joe Versus the Volcano.”
Well, I guess I use a lot of obscure pop cultural references myself.
The wife has been working too. She’s tired. All she wants is a bath and a pillow, but her husband gets that twinkle in his eye.
If the twinkle's too subtle, "Suck my dick!" should do it. And you gotta admit, he's entitled:
He needs reconnection and the calming balm of his wife’s physical presence after a lonely day in his work zone.
And his wife needs to get to work on that hard-on, pronto! She can finish waxing the floor later.
Wanting her husband to be happy because she loves him, she complies. The husband is grateful even if he doesn’t say so.
LOL. "We got any leftover Chinese?"
After all, he loves her too, and having sex is his love language, as it is with many men.
"It's my dick in a box!"
Sometimes the wife fantasizes of more exciting moments—she’d like to be ravished once in a while like that girl in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” books—but the daily grind of life saps energy for such novelties.
So, ladies can't be too tired for sex, but their husbands can be too tired for role play. Or is it the wife who's too tired for the role play she desires but just can't summon the strength for -- probably because she's gonna be doing all the work. (Is this what they mean by topping from the bottom?).
She’s a little sad about that, but she has sex anyway.
This relationship sounds great. Be sure to stick around for the end, when McAllister finds support for her paradigm in the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville. No wonder conservatism's so popular, at least among a certain demographic.

Friday, November 02, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Is that Dr. Rhythm I hear? And heavily gated?

•  I mentioned Thursday's ridiculous Jacob Wohl-Mark Berkman press conference, in which they strung out their sexual assault accusation against Robert Mueller, in the latest issue of my newsletter. (Normally I just nag you to subscribe to the newsletter, but this time I've unlocked the issue so you non-subscribers can take a look!)  Part of my point in the newsletter is that these guys don't merit even the skeptical attention of reporters, because media attention is something they feed on even when they're making idiots of themselves and, as recent events have shown. that can get out of hand. I still think so, though the boys seem to be testing the limits of the old PR dictum that all publicity is good publicity. One thing I didn't mention was one particular statement by Berkman which gives the game away: When reporters pointed out that Wohl and Berkman were notorious rightwing operatives  and this made them unreliable sources, Berkman chastised "the media" for spreading "this terrible sense of anytime conservative are seeking the truth they're somehow evil." Guy, we have to play the percentages here -- rightwing "investigations" so often turn out to be Benghazi-hearing-level oppo ratfucks that there's literally no reason to take them seriously.

•  Republicans have been acting like even bigger assholes than usual this election cycle; Brian Kemp, the Georgia Secretary of State trying to become governor by keeping black voters from getting to the polls, is probably a cinch for Biggest Asshole, but spare some spittle for this guy:
U.S. Representative of Nebraska Jeff Fortenberry recently saw one of his ads vandalized. His face was covered with giant googly eyes, and the ‘o’ in his name was replaced with an ‘a.’ So it now says Jeff Fartenberry. The tagline was also edited to read: “Strong Families, Strong Communities, Strong Odor"... 
Per the Lincoln Journal Star, local professor Ari Kohen saw that same image on Facebook, chuckled, and gave it a like, along with 364 others. He was shocked when Fortenberry’s office called him. 
Fortenberry’s chief of staff, Dr. William Archer III, accused Kohen of endorsing political vandalism, based only on his like of the photo on Facebook. Kohen didn’t pick up, so Archer went over his head. He sent an email to Kohen’s department chair...
After ratting out Kohen for liking a Facebook post, Archer finally got on the phone with him and made threats:
“We have a First Amendment opportunity to put you out there in front of everybody,” Archer says. “We can do that publicly. Would you like that? That’s our First Amendment right.” 
Again, because someone (else!) made a rude joke about his boss, Archer went full Beria on a public employee for liking a Facebook post. Per a National Labor Relations Board ruling in 2014, Kohen would probably have standing to sue if this scumbag got him fired -- though Trump has since then installed most of the NLRB members including the chairman so who knows how they'll rule on such cases in the future. We really, really have to drive these people out of public life.