Wednesday, December 28, 2022


I haven’t been too attentive to recent developments at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down because I’m doing my usual year-end review series, in keeping with the Auld Lang Syne spirit. But there are two things I want to address right quick:

First, George “Catch Me If You Can” Santos. Before his grift blew completely wide open I had a bit of fun with the idea of the guy at House Freshman orientation:

[KEVIN] McCARTHY: Well, Walter, we may have to finesse that one a little bit. For one thing, we want to be absolutely clear that while the Party is against the corruption of children it is not against gay people. In fact I see we have a gay freshman here today — George Santos from New York. Stand up, George. [Pause] George, stand up please.

[Necks crane toward GEORGE SANTOS, who looks bewildered.]

SANTOS: There must be some mistake. My name is Henry White.

McCARTHY: George, I met you at the Vanderbilt Room last week, come on.

ANOTHER FRESHMAN: Hey, George, I saw you at S.O.B’s last week! Eu sou Brasileiro, dude!

SANTOS: What is that? Is that some Brazilian thing? Because I’m not Brazilian and I’m certainly not gay! And I don’t represent New York, I represent the 2nd District in Oklahoma as a proud Cherokee! My parents were in the Trail of Tears —

McCARTHY: Alright, alright, all that to one side, let’s see what else we can think of that will capture the imagination of ordinary Americans…

But that was before more details on the scope of his fraud became known, elevating the situation from “haw haw” to “damn.” One thing the prestige press ain’t saying much about, even when they express mystification by Santos’ unexplained (given his work status) wealth, is Santos’ Russian oligarch connections, as described by Daily Beast reporter William Bredderman on November 30:

But unreported until now is that by the time Devolder-Santos [as he was then known] made these statements, his congressional ambitions had already received a $32,800 boost from a controversial figure linked to the uppermost echelons of the Russian regime—and that support would more than double in size during the months ahead.

The cash came from Andrew Intrater and his wife, who variously listed her occupation as “homemaker” and “analyst” for Falcon AI, one of her husband’s subsidiary firms.

Intrater’s main venture is today called Sparrow Capital, but it previously used the name Columbus Nova—and its primary function has long been to manage the investments of Intrater’s cousin, Viktor Vekselberg, one of Putin’s wealthiest and most influential courtiers.

So tightly intertwined is Intrater’s business with that of his relative, who snatched up swaths of Russia’s aluminum and fuel industries during the post-Soviet period…

Etc. The “statements” to which Bredderman refers are Santos’ pimping for Putin as the injured party in the Ukraine war, which as you know is one of the hallmarks of the MAGA new breed and which makes his Russkie cash connection even more piquant – as it does the well-covered Tulsi Gabbard throwdown against Santos. Could it be that Gabbard, who went full feral wingnut a ways back and has her own unseemly Russian connections and affiliations, was dispatched to take down a former asset who had become a liability? Or was it a throwback to her anti-gay past (and, I should add, present)?

Anyway, like I always say: Your Republican Party, ladies and gentlemen! (I should also note the attempt by many conservatives to whatabout this by referring to Elizabeth Warren as Hashtag Pocahontas, the stupidity of which should be apparent even before you consider that while our Native American tribes also have good reason to want to overthrow the U.S. government, they have not the means that Vladimir Putin and his many not-even-sleeper agents have.)

Second: Rod Dreher’s latest stinkbomb. Having learned (or simply being unable to ignore any longer) that his father was a Klansman – which adds an interesting sidelight on Dreher’s obvious racism – Holy Rod has unleashed another instant TL;DR (exhaustion of the critic is part of his arsenal). It’s all awful, but two things are especially noteworthy. First, Dreher admits his old man was racist but also says he got along better with black people than he did. I know, when you put it like that it’s very funny, but it also sets up Dreher’s shtick about how being a conscious anti-racist white person is worse than being a racist because it ain’t natural:

Specifically, as much as I hated to admit it, my dad, who had grown up in rural Louisiana, and who had spent his career as the chief public health officer for our parish, knew more about actual existing black people and their culture than I did -- because he had lived among them all his life! For me, black people were mostly an abstraction. I had allowed the living, breathing human beings to be assimilated into an idea of Blackness -- specifically, of black people as the eternal victims of white people.

Then he talks about reading a Flannery O’Connor story about some jacked-up young Southerner who turns his back of his patrimony, which brings a blush to his cheeks. 

I also knew from reading that story that my dad understood things about black folks -- at least in the rural South -- that I did not, despite the fact that he was blinded by his own unconscious prejudice. The point is that I too was blind, but my blindness carried with it the taint of moral superiority. O'Connor showed me that both my father and I were guilty of making abstractions of black people to suit our own conflicting senses of moral order. She also showed me that this is the way it is with us human creatures. We are all at risk of assimilating our fellow creatures into ideas.

So, you see, Daddy was a Klansman, but his son had erred, too, by trying to be something he wasn’t (namely an anti-racist). Both sides! It appears to have never occurred to Dreher that trying to overcome a negative. indeed damaging, heritage might involve some work, some mistakes, and some embarrassment – or maybe the embarrassment was just more painful to him than the racism.

Further down Dreher gets into how “the Left” has turned his back on Martin Luther King (unlike Daddy, who’d never let one o’ them get the drop on him like that), and the obligatory Dreher Black Crime Chronicle:

This past summer, I met a young South African white man, a Christian, who told me the story of how his grandmother and his younger brother back home had been stripped, beaten, and held hostage by black robbers who were sure they knew the combination to the safe (they did not). This young man was under no illusions about the evil of apartheid. But he was also under no illusions that black South Africans were somehow collectively innocent, and free from sin, because his white ancestors had collectively benefited from an evil system.

But then, the world today, which correctly paid so much attention when it was white South Africans brutalizing black ones, prefers not to know what is being done to white South Africans in the post-apartheid period…

His father’s son, alright. Also obligatory is a cameo from Dreher’s exorcist – but it comes with a wrinkle that, so far as I know, is new to Dreher: a warning on the deviltry of Freemasons! 

There's something eerie here too. Just last week, in conversation with an Orthodox priest back in America, a cleric who is also an exorcist, the priest told me how he had discovered in his exorcism work how wicked Freemasonry is. He has seen people become possessed through it. I told him about my Catholic friend in New York whose grandfather was a high-level Freemason in Italy, and who had become possessed through the curse he brought onto the family (which destroyed her father and his generation within the family, and had wreaked havoc on hers). In this conversation, I mentioned to the exorcist my belief that my late father, a 32nd-degree Mason, had been involved with the Klan in the Sixties, and how I suspected that had a lot to do with his prior involvement with Freemasonry. The exorcist told me that I must pray for my father's soul every day for the rest of my life. I agreed to do this.

The problem isn't racism, it’s masonism! Time for Dreher to storm the Vatican to petition his former religion to bestow sainthood on William Wirt.

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