Showing posts sorted by date for query Jonah goldberg. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query Jonah goldberg. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Friday, February 15, 2019

BEZOS AND FDR FINALLY UNITED IN RIGHTWING HISTORY.

I keep forgetting how dumb Jonah Goldberg is, merely because I don't read him as much as I used to (yes, I am still capable of growth and learning). But Jesus:
Amazon is taking its ball and going home, and New York Democrats are actually celebrating.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the deal New York and Amazon worked out. I don’t like corporate welfare, and the race among municipalities to bribe businesses to set up shop in their backyards has a lot of problems.
Followers of the Goldberg style will recognize the all-bases cover he uses when he knows taking a firm position will leave him exposed. (Around here we call it the pee-dance.) He can't just say, as have many wingnut morons doing If I Was Mayor of a City I Obviously Hate cosplay on the internet, that it was bad to reject Amazon's deal because Crony Capitalism is one of the THIMK-style signs in his office (the others include Liberal Fascism, You're the Real Racist, and My Mom Can Get You Fired). But he still has to bitch about it -- the big picture of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with whom the dummies are associating the deal, shows he's pretty much expected to -- so he has to fudge (without thinking about fudge, which would delay his filing by 30 minutes and 700 calories). Now let's look at the horrible mutant baby of logic in which this results:
...But what’s just astounding to me is how Democrats can (almost in one breath, figuratively speaking) champion a Green New Deal that would use the powers of the state — taxes, subsidies, regulatory bullying, etc. — to herd whole industries into alignment with their vision of a just and green society, and at the same time denounce these very tactics when actually put into practice.
Did you know large national projects such as the Space Race and crony capitalism are the same thing? Let's hear Goldberg explain:
...The most prominent architect of the GND is New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Under her proposal, cows might suffer, but humans will thrive thanks to all the wonderful new jobs and free health care her utopian scheme would provide.
LOL at the idea you can ever make anything better for non-billionaires!
...When Inskeep pointed out to her that deficit spending is “borrowing money that has to be paid back eventually through taxes,” AOC reversed herself with an impressive lack of embarrassment, saying that’s okay because this isn’t spending, it’s investing. Borrowing tens of trillions for her “investments” will pay for itself, “Because we’re creating jobs.”
The Amazon deal would have created some 25,000 jobs with an average annual salary of $150,000...
Quit laughing -- just because it would cost New York $3 billion in tax breaks, plus which these big corporate promises seldom pan out, doesn't mean it's impossible.
...but AOC was against it because the agreement amounted to “creeping overreach of one of the world’s biggest corporations.”
Maybe it did. But I have news for AOC and others trying to use the precedent of the original New Deal as an excuse to get the band back together: This is how New Deals work.
Yes, Goldberg thinks the profit motive of a rich oligarch is pretty much the same as FDR's reason for launching the Works Progress Administration. His hook, or rather his rusty hatpin, is that the New Deal was a "bonanza for big business":
In their effort to mobilize the U.S. economy to fight the Depression, the New Dealers favored big businesses and “associations” — cartels, guilds, syndicates, etc. — at every turn. The largest corporations individually or in association wrote the “codes” — i.e., regulations — of the National Recovery Administration and other agencies for their own benefit. It was all done in the name of efficiency and progress. 
For instance, the big chain movie houses of the 1930s — the Netflixes and Hulus of the time — wrote the codes in such a way that independents were nearly run out of business, even though 13,571 of the 18,321 movie theaters in America were independently owned.
The New Deal also, indeed primarily, fed, housed, and gave employment to a whole lot of starving, homeless, jobless citizens. Even if Amazon's promised jobs panned out they were not going to the needy, and might not even have gone to locals.

Goldberg thinks it was just a racket, though, the secret purpose of which was... I don't know, to make America Communist by consolidating the power of Big Movie Theater Chains, or to pay off FDR's donors.

The howler is that when Republicans do big-government big-money interventions -- even the one Republican president Goldberg allegedly disapproves of -- he's willing to accept their allegedly patriotic and utilitarian logic: e.g. "My hunch: The tax bill will help the economy," tweeted Goldberg about the amazingly transparent donor payoff Trump and Congressional Republicans pulled in 2017. But if Democrats propose a jobs program, it's a utopian fantasy. Even if it were a fantasy, I'd still take it over the dystopian reality Goldberg seems to think we deserve.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A NEW LOW, PART 1,254,090.

Charles Two Middle Initials Cooke at the conservative flagship magazine National Review:

I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the many responses to Tucker Carlson’s now-famous monologue. We’ve had contributions from David French, Kyle Smith, Kevin Williamson, Yuval Levin, David Bahnsen, Michael Brendan Dougherty, Mike Lee, Ben Shapiro, Mona Charen, Jonah Goldberg, David French again, Kevin Williamson again, David Bahnsen again, Jonah Goldberg again, and more. And that’s just on the website. The question has also been discussed at length on many of NR’s podcasts, and, of course, on Twitter....
Forget the rest of Cooke's post; forget anything else written about Carlson's allegedly inspirational speech -- except what I wrote about it in my newsletter (Subscribe! Cheap!) and quoted in a previous alicublog post. Instead contemplate that Cooke has cited the deep thoughts of no fewer than 11 major conservative thinkers on a dumb TV speech by a racist Fox News bowtie buffoon.

It seems like for the past week every conservative bigwig in the country has weighed in on what is essentially standard-issue You Snobs Care About Foreigners Well What About The Poor Hillbillies on Opioids gush as restated by the heir to the Swanson TV Dinners fortune. I knew Trump had gutted their movement, but this is like an Evelyn Waugh parody, like a sub-basement of a nadir of intellectual decay -- it's as if Cooke had an even lower opinion of his own karass than I do, and set out to make conservatism look stupid. It's too bad we can't have a reliable accounting of who finances this crap, because I really suspect it's mostly supported by rich wastrels as a joke to see how many among the dummies who still support this movement will catch on.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

ALL THE WAY DOWN.

As I've said before (and it's not just me and the leprechaun who tells me to burn things saying so, either, but also credentialed bigbrains at major publications) that the Kavanaugh nomination has basically blown the whole NeverTrump and KindaTrump and JustTheTipInTrump phenomenon, making it obvious that Trumpism is conservatism and vice-versa. And it's had the knock-on effect of making rightwing authors who were previously pitched as prim-and-proper True Conservatives into something more suitable to Trump Time -- that is, trolls.

Take David French, one-time NeverTrump Presidential contender, who has gone on since the dawn of Trump about how real conservatives like him were fighting for the True Cause despite, not enabled by, the vandal Trump; last year he was blubbering over "O’Reilly, Ailes, and the Toxic Conservative-Celebrity Culture," in which he lamented that conservatives' reflexive defense of Fox News "knifework" had "reached its apex in the person and personality of Donald Trump." 

But now French is juiced that Trump has with Kavanaugh brought America one step closer to Gilead, and hardly ever bothers to wring his hands anymore. Just recently he defended Trump calling for his opponents to be jailed. But as the example of his cabinet shows, you're not totally in the tank for Trump until you've humiliated yourself as French does here:
A Conservative’s Guide to the 2018–19 NBA Season
It’s the only sports guide in America that owns the libs.
That's right, French is doing a John Miller "50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs" thing, only for basketball. The thing is mostly dull analysis on the level of sportstalk radio call-ins, but punctuated with breakers like "The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Division. Cheerfully inept"; The Beto O’Rourke Division. Expensive busts"; "The Nikki Haley Division. The future’s so bright, they gotta wear shades"; and "The William F. Buckley Jr. Division. Intellectual juggernauts." 

That last one's about the Celtics because "this team was built from the ground up by basketball geniuses to contend for a decade." I would say this is not so much a reach as a reach-around, except I think that gets the positioning reversed. French has done dumb sports things before -- see "Yes, God Cares about Football" -- but this is the first time one can actually feel him straining and cracking his knees to get himself down to the level of the hoi polloi. Marco Rubio talking about Trump's dick was awkward, but this is just depressing.

Speaking of Buckley, with the re-enrollment of hypertroll Kevin D. Williamson, National Review is looking less and less like a classy-conservative operation and more like any other dumb wingnut site. Lately most of the donation pleas I've gotten from them seem to star the latest rightwing blonde-with-big-glasses, Kat Timpf. Here's the top of one such pitch:


Fox News couldn't have done it better. That leaves only a few NROniks still working an inta-mallectual grift anymore --  Jonah Goldberg has gotten too lazy to even laugh at, so I guess we're talking Ramesh Ponnuru and substitute Dreher Michael Brendan Dougherty. When they can be inveigled to don the clown suit, National Review will have completed its transformation into a Gateway Pundit for people who like a little heritage with their bullshit.  

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

STEPHEN MILLER, WELCOME TO THE RESISTANCE.

I am a stone skeptic when it comes to conservatives who claim to be anti-Trump. I mean, it's taken me more than a year to acknowledge that Max Boot, for example, is sincere about opposing the guy. Boot remains a war-mongering monster, of course, but he's not pretending to be anything else -- he even admits that he can't approve of Trump's saber-rattling, not because Boot has turned pacifist, but because he thinks Trump lacks the belly (figuratively speaking) to follow through with the civilizational slaughter Boot's approval would require.

So when Boot says he's hoping the Democrats take over to teach Republicans a lesson, I believe he means it, because he's not trying to snow me about why he wants it. Thus, if he and his comrades of convenience get rid of Trump and eventually install President Mattis, I won't be stuck with my thumb up my ass blubbering "B-b-b-but I thought we was pals" as American blows up half the Middle East and Boot orgasms voluptuously.

But this anonymous New York Times op-ed author is full of shit:
I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration
I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.
When I saw that I thought, okay, I just got back from lunch, maybe this is bigger than I thought -- maybe this person just blew up a Trump cabinet meeting, a la Operation Valkyrie. Alas, it was just this:
To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous. 
But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.
What does this resistance fighter think are Trump's -- excuse me, the Resistance's -- good policies? "Effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more." So: the destruction of the EPA, HUD, et alia; massive tax breaks for the rich; and a wasteful and dangerous increase in military spending. The resistance fighter doesn't say anything one way or the other about the administration's other controversial policies, such as the Muslim ban, the ongoing attempt to stack SCOTUS to kill Roe, or the ICE child-stealing atrocities. You think that's because this person doesn't have an opinion about them -- or because this person doesn't want you to know what it is?

As for what Trump's doing wrong, the resistance fighter does mention his "enemy of the people" attacks on the press -- which is smart if you're trying to get the New York Times to run a rare anonymous op-ed! And the resistance fighter notes Trump was "reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies" over the Skripal case as real conservatives wanted -- but wait, didn't he expel them anyway? Ah, the resistance fighter tells us, that wasn't Trump -- "his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable." And so they drugged Trump, and used a professional forger the resistance fighter knew in his or her previous life as a Navy SEAL to sign the order. Presumably. (Really, this thing is so bogus it's got me questioning even the entertaining Woodward book excerpts about Trump's staff hiding papers from him to prevent him from doing what he wants. Say, I wonder who the source was on that?)

And there's not much more of an anti-Trump brief than that, policy-wise; the resistance fighter says "President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic," but doesn't say how he or she feels about his policies, as opposed to his "impulses." In fact nearly all of the criticism of Trump is temperamental -- his "leadership style" is "impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective... his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions," which decisions are left unnamed. That is, they're the same sort of complaints you get from weaselly former NeverTrump doofuses like Jonah Goldberg -- though Trump is giving them nearly everything they want, he's, like, really gross and embarrassing.

This leaves the question of why this resistance fighter is telling us all this. Won't it tip off Trump, and make manipulation of him more difficult in the future? Perhaps the resistance fighter feels his or her fellow countrymen are frustrated and badly need a signal that all's well in the Resistance White House so they can have the courage to hold on. Or maybe it's a false flag -- the author is Stephen Miller, and he's trying to rouse the base by giving them more treachery to be mad at.

Or maybe it's as simple as this: When the Trump shitshow blows over, someone at the White House is gonna want a job on the outside. Maybe a lot of someones do. True, our "liberal media" being what it is, the more high-profile Trumpkins will, if they escape jail, haunt the Sunday morning talk shows and executive boards, but some of them may not be so well-connected. If one were in such a predicament, why not plant this op-ed and, when Americans are hunting Republicans down with dogs, reveal oneself to be the author -- or co-author -- of this self-exonerating document? And if Trump doesn't go down, they can always just keep their mouths shut.

I favor this theory because this person's prose positively screams snow job. Rather than tell us, as Max Boot did, what their competing conservative vision is, the resistance fighter tells us he or she and the others are "choosing to put country first... rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans." Did your hand instinctually check to see if your wallet was still on your person? Mine too. Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's resistance.

UPDATE. I have further thoughts of this at my newsletter. Did I tell you good people I have a newsletter? It just started and it is a paid newsletter, as you will find when you try to log in. But well worth it! Fresh content every day Mon-Fri! And maybe even some bonus content as soon as I work out the kinks.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Been in my head all week, is why.

•  The Pennsylvania Catholic Church abuse scandal is grim indeed, though when I read Rod Dreher on the subject, portraying it as a sort of Day The Music Died ("my friend, a tough-guy lawyer, wrote to tell me that he wept in his office. He said, 'I am at the end'"), I have to ask: In the brief time he spent as a Catholic, did he not read any Church history? The stateside sex abuse has been a live story for decades, but the One Holy & Apostolic has been corrupt as hell for centuries. If you believe in the Church, it must be because God called you to it, not because you think the depravity of Man ceases once he crosses the threshold of a cathedral. Anyway, the silver lining is some of the worst writing Megan McArdle has ever done. Here's a sample, and I hope you have your Bad Analogy filter on:
According to news reports, the church hierarchy in Pennsylvania and beyond has already denied Christ’s gospel three times: once when it sheltered predators in silence; once when it failed to remove everyone who was involved in covering up any crime; and again when two of the six dioceses involved tried to shut down the grand jury investigation that produced the report. Now they face the same choice Peter did.
I should say the comparison with child molesters is a bit hard on Peter, who only let a bit of social anxiety run away with him after a rough night.
They can offer the full record of faithlessness in abject penitence, witnessing for repentance and redemption even at risk of martyrdom. Or they can deny Him a fourth time by minimizing the past and protecting those who helped maintain that grisly silence. Which is to say, they can choose to be a millstone around the neck of the faithful — or the rock on which the church can be rebuilt.
Aaaagh! And people think folk masses are corny.

•  You may have already seen what I expect will become a legendary column by Matt K. Lewis, "Did I Join a Movement That Naturally Attracts Extremists and Kooks?" This soggier-than-most I've Made a Huge Mistake, Trump regrets dreamboard is funny for many reasons: First, because Lewis is a tool in general; second,  because up till recently Lewis was writing columns like "Amy Coney Barrett, the Trump Supreme Court Pick Who’ll Troll Liberals the Hardest" ("Jurisprudence, schmuriprudence. She’s under 50, devoutly Catholic, has seven kids, and she’ll make the libs crazy. Good enough for me"). He's like a dumb hood who, having been cheerfully knocking over liquor stores and joyriding in stolen cars for months, discovers immediately upon arrest that he's been misled by false friends.  But third and most hilariously, get this:
I grew up with (and signed on for) Reagan’s version of conservatism. In recent years, I have become disenchanted—not with the intellectual philosophy of Edmund Burke or the governing philosophy of Ronald Reagan—but with what passes for conservatism today.
I wonder what Lewis would say if you asked him what conservative principles Burke supported -- probably either "He didn't like the French Revolution" or "Jonah Goldberg says he's conservative." As for Reagan, it may be asking a lot of Lewis to connect the Gipper's trickle-down bullshit with the reign of the 1%, but if he's going to pretend to convert he might at least look at the prayerbook. As it stands, his act is like any other NeverTrumper's: to repurpose an aging joke, he and they say they never dreamed the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party would eat anyone's face, and it must be the fault of all the Face-Eating Leopards who inexplicably showed up.

•  Speaking of hot takes on the Church scandal, here's Michael Walsh at American Greatness:
I cannot say for certain when the rot set in, but I can say when my disillusionment first set in: with Vatican II and the papal reigns of John XXIII and Paul VI... some of the outward changes [John] and Paul instituted in the Church -- the abandonment of the Latin rite was one that most affected this altar boy -- seemed arbitrary and superfluous; we would have called them “virtue signaling” today.
The author of Humanae Vitae as a limousine liberal! I can imagine an ancestor of Walsh sighing that it all really went downhill when the Church stopped torturing heretics. Also:
...the French Revolution’s violent destruction of the ancient regime was as much directed against the Church as it was against the monarchy. To this day, laïcité is one of the French Republic’s guiding principles, and it’s no accident that into the Gallic spiritual void left by ostracized Christianity has rushed recrudescent Islam. Satan, like Nature, abhors a vacuum.
To help fight off the pervs and Satanic Muslims, Walsh calls for "a restoration of the Latin rite," which I'm sure goes down a treat with American Greatness' Throne and Altar readership, though I expect the younger set who are abandoning churchgoing in general will find it more evidence they've made the right choice.

Friday, August 03, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Put on Lenny Kaye's first "Nuggets" compilation yesterday and, well,
I've been there ever since.

•  More proof that libertarians are simply the worst: At Reason Jesse Walker has an essay about some books on the Hollywood Blacklist that is somewhat moored to reality -- he accepts it existed, for one thing, and that it was bad, which is more than assholes like Jonah Goldberg can do. But there's a lot of otherhanding -- did you know pro-blacklist Hollywood hands suffered, too? -- and when he talks about the messages screen artists like Dalton Trumbo conveyed in their films before (and, behind fronts, during) the blacklist, he emits lulus like this:
Communism that's been translated into Hollywood terms doesn't always look so red on the screen. As the independent historian Bill Kauffman once commented, when communist filmmakers had to work "within studio straightjackets," they often "channeled their work into 'populist' avenues (the small banker fighting the big banks, the lone man against the crowd) and wound up sounding libertarian." 
When was the last time you saw a libertarian attack a bank?
Take 1958's Terror in a Texas Town, a Western best known today for a gloriously weird showdown that pits a gunman against a man armed with a whaling harpoon. Here the blacklisted Trumbo (working behind a front) wrote a story in which a wealthy businessman used both private violence and a corrupt government to seize property from independent farmers. I can see why a Marxist would like the movie, but a Randian might appreciate it too. Who exactly was subverting whom?
Yeah, if Dalton Trumbo were alive today, he'd be calling for the end of Social Security and letting paupers sell their kidneys for money. Also, Walker's thesis is that the real message of the blacklist is censorship by"public-private partnership," and compares it, naturally enough, to the political muscling of social media companies today. I just wrote a bit about that -- Republicans and alt-rightists coming after Twitter and Facebook to get them to privilege conservatives, with Republicans holding actual hearings on Facebook. Guess what Walker uses as an example, though?
In the Trump era, the target of choice for people worried about foreign subversion—and other disfavored speech, from "fake news" to sex ads—is social media. "You created these platforms, and now they're being misused," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) told representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter during last year's hearings on Russian activities during the 2016 election. "And you have to be the ones who do something about it—or we will." 
As tech companies create ever-more-intrusive rules about what can and can't be said using their products, threats like Feinstein's clearly play a substantial role in their decision making.
Remember, kids: a libertarian is just a Republican with social anxieties.

•  So you go to the New York Times and see this hed and dek...
Need a Politics Cleanse? Go Ahead and Treat Yourself.
Overwhelmed by current events? You can skip a few weeks without losing track of the plot.
...and think, ah, more mush for the toffs and would-bes, okay how bad can it be?
Using “feeling thermometers” — ...
LOL
...the quantitative measure of how warmly people feel toward others — the researchers found that we don’t care much for rabid partisans, even if we agree with them. Why? In their words, “Although some Americans are politically polarized, more simply want to avoid talking about politics"...
So feel free to go on about politics all you want — to your cat. Forever.
You don't to elicit the wrong feeling-thermometer temperature and be unpopular, do you? So do the politics-cleanse this guy recommends "for two weeks — maybe over your August vacation" -- because everybody gets two weeks in August, don't they, Times fans? -- and "when you find yourself thinking about politics, distract yourself with something else. (I listen to  Bach cantatas, but that’s not for everybody.)" That's where I really begin to really mistrust this guy. More:
This is hard to do, of course, but not impossible. You just have to plan ahead and stand firm. Think of it as ideological veganism. On the one hand, your friends will think you’re a little wacky. On the other hand, you’ll feel superior to them. 
Haw! He shore knows his libtard audience alright! So filled with gratitude will the Times readers be for this latest life hack -- because, come to think of it, shutting out all that child-stealing and treasury-looting and democracy-destroying might give their skin a nice, healthy glow again -- they won't bother to look at the byline:
by Arthur C. Brooks
Mr. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute.
Well, I can imagine why he wants to get Times readers to give up on politics! The chutzpah high-point: Brooks tells us to focus on ideas rather than politics and adds, "They aren’t the same thing. Ideas are like the climate, whereas politics is like the weather." If you don't know why that's funny, take a look at the American Enterprise Institute's "climate change" page. Sample item: "On Earth Day, let’s appreciate fossil fuels." Thanks, pal!

•  Oh, and of course the twitter-sputter over Sarah Jeong is exactly the bad-faith bullshit that The Verge called it out as, and good for them. I am an elderly white man, and I find Jeong's allegedly monstrous tweets amusing, especially when waved as bloody shirts by idiots like Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher. How I wish I could be lionized for my toleration of Jeong, the way black conservatives are always celebrated for approving of white reactionaries! But no one on God's green earth -- including Sullivan, Dreher and the rest of them -- really considers her tweets a genuine threat to white folks. In fact you get the impression that what animates the haters is not Jeong but the white people who aren't going along with the gag by pretending to be offended -- here's Sullivan, agape at the race-traitors (or should I say race-fifth columnists):
Scroll through left-Twitter and you find utter incredulity that demonizing white people could in any way be offensive. That’s the extent to which loathing of and contempt for “white people” is now background noise on the left.
Nobody knows the trouble he's seen. But what is the trouble, really? Are mobs of Korean-Americans going to hunt down honkies for a knockout game? All Sullivan's got is this:
What many don’t seem to understand is that their view of racism isn’t shared by the public at large, and that the defense of it by institutions like the New York Times will only serve to deepen the kind of resentment that gave us Trump.
This Is What Gave Us Trump -- the last refuge of the neo-scoundrel!  The whole thing's got Sullivan retweeting #WalkAway tweets like some Trumpkin rageclown, a position to which he will certainly convert fully by 2020. Even worse (and that takes some doing) is Lord Saletan:
The problem with speaking coarsely about whites or men isn't that they're in danger. They aren't. The problem is that when you talk this way, you corrupt yourself.
You're only hurting yourselves! Somewhere Margaret Dumont is miffed Saletan stole her bit.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

THE LATEST CRAZE.

If you see less of me here than previously, overwork at my cott-damn job and sloth are only part of the reason. So many of the conservative tantrums I see in print or online these days are dull beyond imagining and it's often hard to get inspired. Trumpism has made many of the brethren lazy; remember when they felt obliged to construct elaborate fantasies to defend their stupid ideas -- for instance, that marriage makes you rich? I sort of miss those days. I recall they used to even promote actual policies that were almost as funny as their rages against Lena Dunham. but why bother to try and make it look good when the most overt rightwing grifting and racism are now national policy, and your comrades in the Q miasma are coming up with ever more outlandish conspiracy theories for you to believe in? In this environment even my usual punching bags like Jonah Goldberg have lost quite a bit of sawdust; I mean, look at this shit. You see my dilemma.

But there are some Trumpkins\ tropes that are worth recording if only for the historical record (though I suspect future generations will remember us mainly from Leibowitzian memorabilia). A major example is the I'm No Trump Voter But shtick. I normally refer to this in the context of Rod Dreher, who is constantly using it in "I'm no Trump fan, but"/ "I'm no Trump supporter, but"/ "I didn't vote for Trump, but" locutions. Here's a recent example:
Politically speaking, religious liberty is the most important issue to me. I wouldn’t rule out voting against Donald Trump in 2020, because some other issue was so urgent, and so important, that it justified voting against my religious liberty interests. But every time I start to think that, some progressive organizations will come out with statements that portray ordinary First Amendment backers like me as some sort of unique and horrible threat to decency.
Dreher's column starts out as a defense of Jeff Sessions' obviously anti-gay God Squad, which he starts defending by quoting sympathetic lefty milquetoasts. But when he runs out of those, he seems to realize all that's left for him is to defend it himself, which would make him look ridiculous; so he flips the table by talking about how libtards are making him, A Reasonable Conservative, vote for Trump, so there.

(For extra entertainment catch Dreher's update: "If your a liberal who can’t come up with anything more serious than, 'Christians are just mad that they can’t discriminate against blacks anymore' — seriously, this was one comment — then you shouldn’t waste your time commenting, because I’m not going to publish it." Sheesh, what a snowflake.)

Another fine example is John Kass' recent column at the Chicago Tribune, the news hook for which is Paul Manafort's trial. Kass takes Manafort's side, believe it or not ("Democrats are lathered up with the trial of this B-movie villain, this Manafort, whose alleged crimes took place long before he worked a few months for Trump"), and even quotes Mollie Hemningway, a hi-sign for Trump dead-enders. But, probably realizing (like Dreher) this tack will make him look stupid if he doesn't gussy it up somehow, Kass devotes most of his real estate to how the Media -- from which wingnut columnists always exempt themselves -- are dissing The Little People, and (everybody say it with me) This Is Why Trump Won. Kass declares himself Not A Trump Fan, of course -- "he wasn't my choice for president" -- but he kicks it up a notch by suggesting that even Trump's voters aren't Trump fans, either:
Many were shocked by Trump’s manner, by his bragging, his rude behavior, reference to his hand size, his boorishness, the way he treated women.

And still they voted for him. Why? Because they loathed the other side more. They loathed the establishment. They loathed the media. And their reservations about Trump were washed away by the laughter following Clinton’s “deplorables” line.
No wonder people seem so grumpy these days -- they all have a president that nobody wanted!

I've been trying to come up with a name for this line of guff. "Tsk-Tsk Trumpism" is one I like; @TelegramSam100 has offered "Trumpism Private Reserve (Not that yucky stuff the peasants drink)" ; @txoffender says "Trump Goggles." Any other ideas?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

JUDGE DREAD.

There are lots of law-smart people making great cases against putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court but to me, a simple lad, the best reason to oppose him is that the worst people on earth want him on there.

First, Donald Trump -- I could rest my case right there. Second, the Federalist Society, not only a creep cluster of committed world-ruiners run by an Opus Dei freak, but also applauded by Jonah Goldberg in his typically lazy late-Goldberg style. First, there's his now-traditional explanation of why as a Trump "skeptic" he applauds this as he does everything else Trump does:
One of the odd things about the triumphalism over the Kavanaugh pick — which is a great pick as far as I’m concerned — is that the wrong people are taking the most credit for it. People seem to forget that the list Trump committed to was a constraint on him.
Get the fuck out of here. Trump's deal with Republicans, as I have said repeatedly, is that he'll give them everything they want so long as they let him grift; they don't serve him as a snaffle and curb or screen and bank but as accomplices. Later Goldberg refers to the Fed Soc guys as "Conservative Legal Beagles" -- much as a 50s movie goon might refer to a priest as "padre" or an intellectual as "professor" -- and says there's "nothing nefarious" about them worming their way onto the court because "liberals have their own vetting process. It’s less formalized than the Right’s, but that’s probably because it can be." Goldberg certainly doesn't know how much he's admitting there, and there's nobody at National Review -- certainly not an editor! -- inclined to tell him.

Elsewhere we have Ross Douthat slo-mo ejaculating over the imminent end of Roe v. Wade; "abortion opponents will have [their] trust vindicated" with Kavanaugh, and the Court will "legislate freely on abortion once again," Douthat declares, stabbing his thigh with a penknife in hopes Jesus will call it square and his emissions will be, in the greater sense, wiped clean.

And leave it to Megan McArdle (* see update) to think of an angle I wasn't expecting -- the possibility that Kavanaugh will make colleges stop trying to bring in more black people, or, as McArdle and her colleagues still call it (in hopes of animating the Louise Day Hicks-era prejudices of their readers), "affirmative action." "The Constitution forbids discriminating by race," McArdle says, as if rehearsing for whatever test case the Becket Fund sends against Brown v. Board of Education;  besides, John McWhorter is black and he doesn't like it either, hmmph!

McArdle throws in just enough references to "trying to right past and present wrongs" and "rectifying the effects of past discrimination" to convince her dumber readers that she's sincere about that stuff, but nonetheless racial preferences have to go because we're living in a "more diverse United States where at least some groups outperform their privileged white neighbors in educational attainment" -- and if you're missing her point, she says, "racial balancing encourages anti-Asian discrimination" and "a broader racial-balancing regime... might put Asian American students at a disadvantage" and "pursuing racial balance zealously" will lead to "continued discrimination against Asian American students." Also, did she mention John McWhorter is black?

Anyway, McArdle says, all this "will leave our new justice with an uneasy choice as the court steers us into an America where race is no longer a simple matter of black and white," though from everything else we've heard about this vat-bred wingnut automaton there'll be nothing uneasy about his choice at all.

Oh, and then there's Kavanaugh's apparent conviction that Presidents (at least since Clinton) can't be indicted. The brethren are pretending he meant no such thing -- and for my money there's no clearer sign that he did than than David French insisting he didn't, and using words like "barmy" in his argument ("he was brainstorming policy proposals, not suggesting future legal rulings" -- can't you people take a joke?). These people see Trump as the promised land for their lunatic ideas, and the extraordinary feebleness of their arguments shows how little they care whether they make it look good.

*UPDATE. McArdle says she's in favor of affirmative action -- her explanation here. You tell me, guys.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

NORKS 'N' DORKS.

The North Korea thing is such an obvious con -- "I don't need to verify as I have one of the great memories of all time" being only the most spectacular of a series of blazing tells that Trump was bullshitting through this like he bullshits through everything -- that, to me, the most interesting thing about it is not anything that happened in Singapore, but the Twitter thread in which Dinesh D'Souza proposes to "take back Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize and give it to Trump." Better than the MAGA choad hell-yeahs are the guys who think the Nobel has been sullied by Obama's win, as the Golden Globes were by the victory of Pia Zadora. This guy's great...


...but I think this one's my favorite:


In the little theater of @samboyd664's imagination I expect the Chairman of the Olympic Committee, wearing a tux, tells Trump, "I'm a stupid moron with an ugly face and a big butt and my butt smells and I like to kiss my own butt."  (Funny, these guys never bring up Kissinger.) 

It's getting to the point that I'm mainly interested in stopping the flagrant election-stealing that Republicans both off and on the Supreme Court are trying to accomplish just because I want a clean headcount on what percentage of this country is actually brain-damaged. 

To be fair, many of the people who get paid to do presidential prostate massage embarrassed themselves too. Jonah Goldberg:
Still if Kim is actually sincere this time, then the summit will prove to be a huge success. That is a monumental “if,” but it’s one I think every sane person should hope for.
Diplomacy is a land of contrasts, farrrrrt. But -- and I never thought I'd say this -- at least he's concise; get a load of Byron York:
On North Korea, a president who tried something different...
So now the talks have happened, and North Korea has agreed — much like it has in years past — to denuclearize. Critics rightly point out that Kim and his predecessors never kept their promises before. On the other hand, these talks were the result of a series of events unlike those in the past. 
Maybe Trump's plan will work. Maybe it will work a little and not work a little. Or maybe it will fail altogether. But it's the result of a president re-thinking a problem that desperately needed a new approach.
Now that we've got an absolute moron doing it, maybe this time it'll work! Whatever problems you good people have got, be thankful that at least you're not obliged to pick corn out of Donald Trump's shit.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY.

Kanye West is jackassing like a motherfucker -- telling the world 400 years of black slavery was a choice, then issuing the inevitable of course I didn't mean what I clearly said, how could you think that response.

As a self-promotional strategy it makes sense: West has clearly analyzed the Trump phenomenon and deduced that many Americans wish to identify with winners no matter what -- that's how they got in the habit of denying their own economic problems until it's too late. So West is looking to flatter the guys who like to think that if the slavers had come for them, they'd be too smart and strong to be taken. Just like Kanye!

Attempting to find profit for his cause from this sad case is pint-sized pundit Ben Shapiro but, in order to make it work for his readers, even the least aware of whom will have noticed by now that West is nuts, he has to assure them that he, too, finds his subject a buffoon; and, for more than one reason, this is surely the most convincing part of his essay:
It's easy to dismiss him because he's nutty. This is a fellow who tweets about antique fish tanks and fur pillows. This is the guy who calls himself Yeezus (after Jesus) and suggested that then-President George W. Bush didn't care about black people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He isn't exactly known for his bouts of emotional stability.

And in our celebrity-driven culture, we shouldn't pay too much attention to those who haven't spent a lot of time studying policy. That's how we end up with celebrity politicians, emotion-driven policy and reality television substituting for news.
So, um, what exactly are we doing here?
With that said, Kanye West did something deeply important over the last two weeks: He opened up the debate.
Debate? Apart from the voluntary nature of the Middle Passage, I don't recall any political issues coming up at all.
Stung by the gratuitous censorship of the left, West began tweeting that Americans ought to think for themselves.
Ah, that's the propositon being debated: Can we sell our Liberals are the Real Fascists bullshit to black people? By "thinking for themselves" Shapiro means rejection of "those on the left who suggest that politics must innately follow immutable biological characteristics (i.e. black people have to be Democrats)," and... well, not much else, really:
It may just be that West, like a lot of Americans tired of being told what to think by their industry and racialists on all sides, is getting tired of being told what to do.
So: Having told us that West is a crackpot, Shapiro now tells us we should emulate his bravery. Don't let the Democrats tell you what to do! You want to play on the train tracks, or with downed power lines? Follow your bliss! BTW the Dragon Energy hats cost 49 dollars.

They're desperate to make something of it. National Review evens runs a pic of West over a Jonah Goldberg column and titles it "Vanity Fair’s Hilariously Bad Account of the ‘Red-Pilling’ of Kanye West" -- notwithstanding that West is only a minor part of Goldberg's essay (the major part is about how National Review is, too, relevant, despite the fact that conservatives are abandoning stodgy old Tory destinations like theirs for less carefully disguised wingnut garbage pits). But it's a fool's errand. Like any celebrity endorsement, it might draw a few new troops. But wait'll West finds out the Republicans won't indulge his stated goal of running for President — you’ll see the other side of the mood swing then. For, as good a fit for the Trump template of know-nothing belligerence as West may be, he's missing a credential: for the conservative base, some folks are fit for quarterbacks, and some only for mascots.

Monday, April 23, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...


...about the Starbucks bias incident, and the training the company ordered afterward -- which offended conservatives waaaay more than the bias incident.

Among the outtakes I wished I had room for was this bit from Jonah Goldberg's America's-not-that-racist essay:
In 1958, 44 percent of white Americans said they’d move if a black family moved in next door. Forty years later, that number had dropped to 1 percent… When the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, only 18 percent of white Americans said they had a black friend. By 1998, that number was 86 percent.
If you’re wondering why Goldberg picked 1998, twenty years ago, as his ebony 'n' ivory golden dawn (oddly, during the Clinton Administration), it may just be that this Brookings study was easy to find, but there may be more than one reason — for instance, maybe 86 percent of white Americans had a black friend in 1998, but a 2014 PPRI poll showed it was down to 75 percent. Also, the blacks-next-door number in 2017, according to the World Values Survey, was not 1 percent, but 6 percent. (In fact Goldberg actually cites the 6 percent figure later in his essay. Well, when you get really big in his world, you don’t need editors.)

Goldberg's on a tear lately -- his next column is about how people who pretend to be transgressive and whatnot aren’t the real rebels; “a real rebel talks out loud in an Ivy League classroom about how Jesus Christ is his or her personal savior.” If you saw the scene in Where Angels Go Troubles Follows where Rosalind Russell talked down the bikers, you pretty much got the gist.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

DEFINING DEVIANCY DOWN.

RedState jumped into Crisis Actor Storyland last night:
On Monday evening, conservative site RedState ran an article that initially implied Marjory Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg — who in recent weeks has become an outspoken advocate for gun control — wasn’t actually at school the day of the tragic Parkland shooting. Within hours, the site ended up issuing two major updates to the story and striking through the original text of the article.
Conseratives are mainly praising RedState writer Sarah Rumpf for correcting her story -- which in righting world is pretty remarkable, I guess. Usually they don't bother -- just as other conservative sites haven't bothered to correct this bullshit story either. (The brethren also blame CBS for confusing her. The damned MSM is even responsible for RedState's mistakes!)

The point isn't that she made a mistake -- I've made plenty. But it’s one thing to chase a story and stumble, and another to legitimize obvious conspiracy-theory chum because “CBS included a very confusing quote without context.” As the Stoneman Douglas kids drive the right crazier -- because they're focused and popular and the usual wingnut sputtering isn't bending the curve -- it's forcing loony Alex Jones gibberish like this further up their media chain, from haunts of coot and hern into the allegedly respectable outlets like RedState.

Expect National Review to report soon that the Stoneman Douglas kids should be discounted because they're suffering from PTSD -- not (as Jonah Goldberg has already farted) from the shooting, but from being raped in Pizzagate.

Monday, March 26, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the March For Our Lives and rightwing reaction thereunto. I wrote it last night and there's been a lot of froth since; Rod Dreher's post, mentioned briefly in the column, has metastasized with many updates since I first saw it into a full-body freakout, including supporting quotations from Jonah Goldberg (!), a reference to "Piss Christ," and more of that patented Dreher "I Don't Endorse Trump But Because of X I Endorse Trump" routine. But the real howler is this bit:
One more thing about all this. As longtime readers know, I lived in New York on 9/11. Stood on the Brooklyn Bridge and watched the first tower fall. Smelled the sweetness in the smoke for days, and learned from a friend who had lived through the war in Beirut that it was burning human flesh....

I cringe to think about some of the things that surely must have come out of my mouth in the year that followed. David Hogg-like stuff, no doubt. The hate felt good. It really did. It also felt good to hate those who cautioned me and others about our rhetoric. Fools and cowards, they were, as far as I was concerned.

I allowed that righteous anger to justify my cheerleading for the catastrophic Iraq War. I was the fool, and I was the coward, because I was afraid to interrogate my own rage. I regret bitterly being so eager to hate, and thinking of myself as someone who got a free pass on that, because hey, I lived a mile or two from Ground Zero, so who are you to tell me that my feelings are wrong, huh?!

That’s what’s happening here too.
So, to recap: in 2001 Dreher favored blowing up Ay-rabs because the 9/11 bombers were Ay-rab, and because he was in Brooklyn and smelled the WTC. (I myself lived in Brooklyn then and also smelled the WTC, yet never called to blow up Ay-rabs. My immunity is called "common sense.") Now Dreher repents, and compares his intemperate, racist foamings to David Hogg's rather tame and definitely not racist calls for gun control. This is, in form anyway, the sort of stop-and-think by means of which Christians are traditionally encouraged to "judge not, lest ye be judged" -- but even Jesus can't stop Dreher from judging, so he doesn't withdraw his judgment that Hogg is a "disgusting little creep," or anything else: Instead he just calls his younger self names, too, and bids his readers attend his current wisdom, which is sure to be infallible.

The punch line is that Dreher spends a lot of his time ragging on other religious conservatives for endorsing Trump. Those guys are certainly hypocrites, but at least they're not nuts.

UPDATE. Dreher just can't let go -- from a new damn-kids post:
Second, this movement is not going to stay focused on gun control. The passions of the left, and the media, won’t allow it. Emma Gonzalez gave a memorable speech at the rally. But the media can’t let the speech stand for itself. They’re already celebrating the intersectionality of Gonzalez, a self-defined bisexual who has shaved her head...
Dreher was, too, going to come out for gun control, really he was, but then the liberals had to turn him off with a bald lesbo.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

LIBERALS ARE THE REAL X: AN ENDLESS SERIES.

Hey, I've been neglecting Jonah Goldberg
Liberals Still Love Nationalist Ideas — Just Not the Label
We can skip most of the front matter, where Goldberg attempts to engage an argument from Elizabeth Bruenig, ha ha. (I think he does this so he can later claim to have bested Bruenig and take a "victory lap.") In classic Goldbergian fashion, he picks over a trifle -- the meaning of the word "nation-state" -- before lurching in an entirely different direction:
What I find interesting about Bruenig’s argument is the idea that the concept of America is incompatible with Trumpish nationalism. I agree! But she goes farther than that. She argues that nationalism itself is incompatible with Americanism rightly understood. And I am delighted to hear it!

But what’s intriguing to me is that this would be news to progressive or “liberal” politicians and thinkers for most of the last hundred years. Wilson, both Roosevelts, and JFK were all practitioners of the sort of nationalism Bruenig says is incompatible with America.
Well, FDR did complain when Pearl Harbor was overrun by foreigners.
Foreign policy, and the jargon that comes with it, can muddy this question, given how those presidents often championed American leadership in international institutions.
Not two sentences into his argument and he's already backtracking.
But domestically, from 100 Percent Americanism to the New Deal to the New Frontier, nationalism — economic and cultural — was central to domestic liberalism. Go look at some WPA art projects if you don’t believe me.
I guess he means that when the WPA had painters do public art, administrators asked for images of "the American scene." But what else were they going to commission for the side of a post office in Yakima? Vistas of Poland?
Indeed, I always wonder why Donald Trump doesn’t say, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country!” on the stump, since it both fits his worldview perfectly and would be a brilliant way to troll liberals.
The idea of Trump asking any of his voters to make any sacrifice whatever -- unless it were to Donald Trump -- is so idiotic that it refutes Goldberg all by itself, but let us allow him to embarrass himself further: he quotes the 2012 SOTU, in which Obama referred to Seal Team Six, which (Goldberg interestingly fails to mention) took out Osama Bin Laden --
At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within our reach.
Goldberg characterizes Obama's message thus:
Obama gushed over Seal Team Six as a model for domestic life.
He then quotes Obama further -- "This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other’s backs" -- and commentates:
As I wrote at the time, this is a disgusting inversion of what America is all about.
Yeah, teamwork and having your partner's back -- that's communism! Even worse:
An America that lives by the ethos of Seal Team Six isn’t America, it’s Sparta.
We sure dodged a bullet -- had Hillary won, our healthy male children would all be enrolled in state military training camps, as Obama dreamed. Well, I guess now that Trump has blown conservatives' cover as an allegedly intellectual movement, Goldberg's just left with old, half-remembered Buckley tropes such as Dangers of Collectivism to peddle. But I can't see who would still be worried about Americans being too unified at a time like this.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...of my Top 10 Stupid Rightblogger Tricks. Special double-length column, no extra charge!

Long as it is, I had a couple of outtakes:

Wingnut lawyer calls civil rights hero a “fraud.”

John Lewis, now a Democratic Representative in Congress from Georgia, marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 and got his skull cracked for it. Lewis also got attacked by new President Donald Trump around the weekend of MLK Day 2017, after Lewis criticized his repulsive civil rights record, and Power Line’s John Hinderaker backed Trump thus: “Lewis is invariably described as a ‘civil rights icon,’ but the man is an utter fraud.”

How a man cruelly beaten in the cause of civil rights might be considered a fraud - especially by a guy whose greatest sacrifice to his own cause might be working late on Friday — Hinderaker didn’t explain. “There is no reason to treat John Lewis with kid gloves,” he sniffed, “and Donald Trump doesn’t do so.” Or, to paraphrase: You may be a national hero, but I am a shameless and energetic hack in the service of a buffoon, and history shows that I have the advantage.

Liberal Fascism for Dummies.

Normally I’d leave this spot open for Jonah Goldberg, and God knows he has plenty of worthy entries this year — like this one, in which he mused that in the post-Lincoln era, “I’d like to think I’d have been in the Radical Republican camp myself.” Try to imagine the inventor of the “Marion Berry cocktail… equal parts Jaegermeister, Kaluha, Bourbon and Coke; ‘So black not even the man can keep it down!’” hanging out with Thaddeus Stevens.

But Goldberg has been outstripped by Dinesh D’Souza, longtime rightwing operative and convicted felon: While Goldberg got his most recent fame boost in 2008 with Liberal Fascism, a dumb book about how liberals are the Real You-Know-Whats, D’Souza has published The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of American Left, which, on the evidence of D’Souza’s August column, “THE SEX PERVERT AS ANTI-FASCIST,” appears to be similar in theme and even dumber.

I can hardly encapsulate it here, but the basic idea is that Frankfurt School Marxists tricked college kids into having orgies: “Marcuse’s celebration of outright perversion was a mantra that could not be more perfectly timed in the 1960s.” And getting all sexed up like this also made them liberal Nazis, because “while the rutting bohemians of the 1960s had no idea, Marcuse surely knew that the Nazis and the Italian fascists were themselves – almost to a man – bohemians.”

Hitler, for example, “was a painter and artiste before he went into politics,” wrote D’Souza; he listened to Wagner, and “was also a vegetarian.” And you stupid liberals think arts appreciation and tofu make you enlightened — if actually means you’re a Nazi!

Even being gay is part of the liberal Nazi nexus — did you know about Ernst Rohm? Indeed, “the Nazi atmosphere in those days… far more closely resembles that of the Village Voice or the Democratic National Convention than it does the National Review or the Trump White House.”

He’s got us dead to rights there. I just wonder why the guys marching around chanting “Jews will not replace us” don’t get in on the sex and bohemianism; I mean, I hear they can’t even beat off. Can merely hating Jews and pluralism really be enough of a payoff?





Monday, October 23, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE POST UP...

...about the La David Johnson case, the ferocious attacks on family advocate Rep. Frederica Wilson, and the stink of racism around it all.

For reasons of space I had to leave out Jonah Goldberg who, perhaps sensing that the Starship Troopers Gen. Kelly-worship the brethren were indulging wouldn't age well, tried another, still dumber approach: “What if Kelly was actually lecturing his boss?”  Sure, to you littlebrains, it appears Kelly was sucking up to Trump, but “if you can take off the partisan blinders and restrain your tribal instincts, it’s not all that hard to see” that Kelly was sending Trump coded messages, says Goldberg. Since most of us very clearly missed that, I'm surprised Kelly didn't give a second speech to clarify.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

PUT NOT THY FAITH IN PUTZES.

Remember the National Review "Against Trump" issue? I knew back then it was bullshit, but let us recall, indeed savor, the closing passage of their lead article from January 2016:
Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.
Flash forward with me now to this week, where we join brave Jonah Goldberg, who likes to advertise himself as tough on Trump (to the credulous applause of dummies: "So tough on Trump"!) in mid homina-homina:
But first I should explain something. As I’ve said before, I do not consider myself a “Never Trumper” any more for the simple reason that the label is inadequate to the times. Never Trump, as I saw it, was about the primaries and the election. Once elected and sworn in, Donald Trump was the president, and to whatever extent “Never Trump” was a movement, it had failed. I call myself a “Trump skeptic,” because, among other reasons, I don’t buy any of the hagiographic explanations and justifications for his behavior. Other former Never Trumpers hold onto the label. Others don’t. This just helps illuminate a point lost on many Trump supporters and left-wingers alike: Never Trump was never some coherent, unified thing. It started as a hashtag on Twitter as far as I can tell and included people of diverse opinions and tactics, some of which I never subscribed to.
Ironically, the people who cling to the term the most are actually Trump’s most ardent supporters...
Yeah, whatever, Tubby. Go change your pants and get back in line.

This is a reminder that these people are all as full of shit as it is possible to be without getting hauled away by Don's Johns. If you, like many good folks (not me, though!), were taken in by Chief of Staff John Kelly ("John Kelly, New Chief of Staff, Is Seen as Beacon of Discipline" -- NYT; "Why John Kelly is President Trump's Last Hope" -- Time), and considered him an Honest Conservative and a True Patriot, and were thus surprised to see him work a Trumpian con (it's all the black lady's fault!) at the behest of his boss today, well, take comfort that you were not alone, and that it's not only difficult to be as icily cynical as me but also probably not healthy. But please, try and take a lesson from the experience: There are no "good ones."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

THE DEATH OF THE PET ROCK.

Y'know, most of the time I occupy myself here by making fun of Jonah Goldberg and other mentally defective sinecure jockeys, and part of the reason for that is I don't want to just come to you good people with my opinions. I understand pure opinion, untainted by close reading or analysis or even evidence that the opinionator has walked a time or two around the block, is the real high-stakes game in today's media, and that's why Chris Cillizza is making, what, eleven million dollars to put out shit like "It took Hillary Clinton five days to issue this statement about Harvey Weinstein" (She has, so now we can go back to waiting for Greg Gutfeld to denounce Roger Ailes, I guess) and "Donald Trump is acting like a fifth-grade bully" -- boy, that'll twirl some tassels in the head office, huh fellas! Get a load:
Lyin' Ted. Lil' Marco. Low Energy Jeb. Crooked Hillary. Little Rocket Man. Pocahontas. 
It worked like a charm in the campaign. Trump's voters loved his lack of political correctness. They loved that he called politicians out. They loved that he refused to apologize for anything. 
The laughs Trump got from his name-calling masked a far darker -- and more toxic -- iteration of Trump's bullying.
"Far darker"! [yells into kitchen] Honey, did you know about this? GTFOOH. Trump has been like Pere Ubu meets Idi Amin for two years and suddenly Cillizza is playing Edward R. Murrow.

So I don't want to be that guy, in general and on principle, but you know what, it's been a long day and the last column was pretty good, so what the hell, I figure I can take five, stretch out and bloviate like the big boys a while. So here's what I think about this latest ooh-Trump-did-bad-this-time shit.

The hundred-dollar haircuts have been telling us for months that all the anger at Trump is coming from overeducated sissies like themselves and is therefore invalid -- that you millions-and-in-fact-majority of voters who hate Trump should just get with the Wisdom of the People and accept that squirrel-gun gomers rule America, lauded by their herald Salena Zito (let's see if she's still at it -- "who in D.C. or New York goes to a 'Gun Bash?' Plenty of people do in the West Newtons of the country..." ugh, guess she is). It may have seemed a lot to ask us, to read this defeatism week after week in their magazines and watch it on their newscasts, but the production values were excellent and besides, $100 Haircuts don't care -- they can afford to be self-abnegating, because their post-broadcast cocaine, hookers, and microneedling always lifts their self-esteem considerably. And anyway there were the funny news shows to indulge our alienation and outrage, so the serious newsies could stay all Questions Remain and This is When Trump Became President.

But all of a sudden now everyone is noticing Trump's approval isn't so hot anywhere -- not even in squirrel gun territory. Previous polls had a pall -- maybe those bad numbers were just all those educated, non-crazy majority voters, and we all know they don't count! Now even Bumfuck was standing down. Suddenly the White Working Class Whisperers aren't get the phone calls; J.D. Vance can't get his circus of star-spangled opioid addicts booked till Christmas.

Are the yokels coming around? I have a hunch on which I would so far lay only small money but, like I said, it's my day off so here goes: I don't think anybody has changed their minds. I think what they changed was the channel.

There have been plenty of people who would roar "hell yeah" every time Trump peed in the pool and a pollster asked about it. But it wasn't because they loved him. What America experienced last November was not so much a groundswell as a shrug: why not, at least it'll be fun. And it might even work.

I still believe a lot (not all!) of them are racist, sexist shitheels -- I believe this because I've seen them. But even shitheels have lives to live, just like the rest of us. And like the commercial fads that used to briefly animate the heartland in the dull years between conflagrations -- disco and boot-scootin' and C.B. radio -- Trump had his moment. I wouldn't say he jumped the shark, if only because "jumped the shark" has jumped the shark. But the numbers are running the wrong way. I mean, heartland Americans are acting sympathetic toward Puerto Ricans even though Trump specifically told them not to -- he even said "Puerto Rico" like it was black dialect at a Young Republican picnic to remind them that he was white and they weren't. Yet they sided with Chico against The Man. What's that tell you?

The thrill is gone. Women's marches and Trevor Noah didn't have much to do with it, and neither did common sense. The guy just wore out his welcome.

That doesn't mean he won't rise again in the polls. He'll kill some people, or applaud their killing, and that'll animate the base; he'll probably start a war, too, and some will always follow the bloody flag. But the cycles will be more normal, more responsive to the usual social and economic fluctuations than the testosterone surges of '16. Trump will golf and blab and tweet and roar just as Hammer had to haul out the parachute pants year after post-glory year. He'll still do a lot of damage, sure, but don't they all?

In short, the battle will be what it always has been, in reality -- against the rapacious, gun-crazed, life-hating, prion-diseased Republicans who need to be marched into the sea if we are to live. Probably a good thing we got the focus back on that.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

INTRODUCING THE PANTLOADOWN.

Don’t look now but Jonah Goldberg has a podcast. The debut is here and no, no fucking way guys; last November I actually listened to a Reason podcast with Nick Gillespie and I still wake up shaking in the middle of the night. But I did read Goldberg’s stupid “G-file” letter on it (no link — it’s for fans!), and I can report that it’s full of the shitty goofy-image-Mad-Libs Goldberg considers jokes, and some director’s-cut insights into his working method:
I’m the first to admit that, like Flamenco Dancing or buffalo taxidermy, solo podcasting doesn’t come naturally to me.
What’d I tell you.
I don’t want to be an “interviewer.” Conversation good, Q&A boring. So I went into this with no notes and nothing prepared.
What a shock. Goldberg is so lazy I’m told when he wants to eat, he has one intern pack his maw with Cheetos and another intern put the belt from an old-fashioned reducing machine under his chin and turn it on high.
…In my imagination, I want [the podcast] to be like being stuck in an airport bar with a relatively sober Hunter S. Thompson, a tipsy William F. Buckley and a few entertaining strangers in the mix.
Yeeeahh that sounds great. Anyway why listen to the actual atrocity when we can enter the World of Pure Imagination:

GOLDBERG: Heidi ho, National Review interns, American Enterprise Institute interns, Heritage Foundation interns, and friends of my mother, it’s the Jonah Goldberg Podcast. I want to thank 3 Doors Down for that righteous musical intro aaaand I’ve just been handed a note, whoa, really nice stationery, “Arent and Fox” it says on the letterhead… okay, that was the last time we’re going to play that particular tune and I just want to say one of the worst things Obama did to this country was make people uptight about copyright laws. I mean think what if National Review was copyrighted. Copywritten. Whatever. I mean, who would have ever heard of William F. Buckley Jr. Or me! Something to think about. But I’m being rude to my guest, Megan McArdle, a columnist for the, uh, Weekly Standard, and I understand she’s working on a book about Puerto Rico and Hurricane Whatshername, isn’t that so?

MCARDLE: Literally none of that is true.

GOLDBERG: Hey, lighten up there, Megan! I’m just flying by the seat of my pants here, no prep, no notes, cuz “facts” and “proper attribution,” I mean boring, right? [tries to do Homer Simpson voice] Bo-ring! Did you recognize that? That’s, that’s, that’s the guy on The Simpsons.

MCARDLE: I’m a proud Bloomberg View columnist and I’m not writing a book about Puerto Rico — though I suppose I could, because I was surrounded by those people growing up in New York, and the fact that they’re still there filling up perfectly good East Village property with their housing developments despite their lack of economic dynamism is one of the worst things about the de Blasio Administration —

GOLDBERG: De Blasio, he’s the worst! You folks can’t see it but I’m giving him a big thumbs-down. And that goes double for Ma-Mumia-something-something whatshername the Puerto Rican.

MCARDLE: I mean God, the Italians, Italian-Americans I should say, they gave us all this gorgeous food that I enjoyed so much when I went to Italy. And what have the Puerto Ricans ever given us, culinarily? I mean guacamole, right? And what else? Refried beans. Yuck. It’s poor people food.

GOLDBERG: Yeah. Pretty ghetto. Pret-ty ghet-to. It’s the internet, we don’t have to be politically correct.

MCARDLE: Is there a gas leak in here?

GOLDBERG: Cheese, that’s cheese. I had a cheese. Have a cheese sandwich. In my pants. Pants pocket. [squeaking noise] That was the wind, a mouse. [rustles papers] Homina, homina. Please go on.

MCARDLE: But anyway, what I am interested in is the inevitable, like it’s so predictable, all these people after Las Vegas, talking about and it’s of course a terrible tragedy but they want to just get rid of the guns, like you could do that, and it’s like, haven’t you been paying attention, I mean like Marine Todd, well I mean not Todd he’s fake okay [laughs], but this other Marine, I saw him on CNN, this man took out an armed robber in a store because the robber did. Not. Know. He was a Marine. And those people? In Las Vegas? I mean maybe they were brainwashed by all those gun-control movies like, I don’t know, tsk, I’m sure you know what I mean, like —

GOLDBERG: Like Stop-Loss and Lions for Lambs.

MCARDLE: Uhhh, pretty sure they’re about Iraq.

GOLDBERG: Uhhhh, pretty sure not.

MCARDLE: Whatever, but these people in Las Vegas who just did what was expected of them and just ran and ducked and died, what they didn’t realize was that the sniper — he didn’t know whether they were Marines or not. Right? I mean, people gave me a hard time after Sandy Hook when I said rush the shooter. But what they didn’t know, and what just occurred to me now, is if the shooter thinks you’re a Marine, and you run toward him, then that shooter is going to hesitate and that’s when you get him, when he’s off his guard! Or if you can’t get to him because, and omigod I just realized this [laughs], he’s like twenty stories up in a hotel window, then you can go [in a deep voice] “Ooo-rah!” Like really loud. “Ooo-rah!” And that gives the police time to get him, because he’s intimidated because he thinks you're all Marines. Now, would it work? Would people do it? How should I know? But it certainly makes more sense than gun control. [Pause] Hello?

GOLDBERG: YES! Got the high score, BITCH! [Sound of chair tilting back and falling, GOLDBERG hitting the ground; GOLDBERG’S voice, slightly off-mike] OWWW! OMIGOD! SHOOT! That’s all we have time for! Oww! I wanna thank whatshername for coming on the podcast. [Loud farting sound] Sorry guys, I said I wouldn't but I had to activate the “gas cushion.” I hurt my bummy-bum real bad! [Cries; Three Stooges closing music]

Monday, September 11, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about how the brethren reacted to Trump's deal with Pelosi and Schumer -- with a special guest appearance by the Lamestream Media!

I regret I didn't have more space for Jonah Goldberg, who in addition to the see-I-told-you-he-was-a-Democrat dumbness complained that the Republican Congress couldn't do anything because Trump was blocking them by being a bad leader: “Even under the best circumstances, major legislation cannot get out of Congress without robust presidential leadership,” he protested. “I wish it were otherwise, because Congress is the first branch of government and should take the lead. But in the modern era, you can’t outsource the big stuff to Congress.”

This is funny because, waaaay back in June of 2017, Goldberg saw things very differently: while “for decades, under Republican and Democratic presidents and Republican and Democratic majorities, Congress has been a feckless doormat for the president,” he said then, Trump’s being a bad leader meant McConnell and Ryan “have had to step up, filling a breach that began under Woodrow Wilson and became a chasm at the end of the Obama years,” and in consequence “the system isn't breaking down, it's finally starting to work as intended.”

Luckily for Goldberg, his readers can’t remember much further back than their last visit to the gerontologist.