Showing posts sorted by date for query Salena zito. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query Salena zito. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

RETURN OF THE WHITE WORKING CLASS WHISPERER!

I've unlocked a few recent issues of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, a wonderful newsletter to which all you good people should subscribe (especially at my low, low COVID-era prices, which conscience compels me to state are the same as pre-COVID prices but still damn low). Today's freebie is loosely about a recent column by White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito. I confess I haven't been following her lately; there's low-hanging fruit, and then there's rotten apples lying in the tall grass, and after a spot of controversy about the, how shall I say, integrity of her sources back in 2018, she seemed to be making an effort to hack in a more traditional rightwing journalistic manner, which made her less interesting to me.

More the fool I; there are no small subjects in the view of the mature satirist, and I was alerted to a great new Zito column by the intercession of longtime Zito advocate and rightwing buffoon Bethany Mandel, who in a recent, increasingly deranged stream shook her Twitter fist at unnamed "doxxers" who felt "entitled to destroy the life, reputation and career of a good woman from behind a keyboard... while remaining anonymous," and suggested Jim Swift of the Bulwark was the Soros behind it. (Mandel gets so worked up she even does the "[Zito's] not a Trump supporter BUT she gives voice to those who are" bit, as if anyone who didn't know any better would be paying attention.)

The Bulwark is hilarious, like all NeverTrump integrity shtick, but to me the really interesting thing is Mandel not being more specific -- what doxxers did she mean? And what Zito column had set all this off? It's difficult to tell and I'm practically a Kremlinologist when it comes to these guys. Following the bread crumbs, however, I ascertained that they probably meant this thing, which is hilarious from jump:
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania—Charlie Gerow has lived and worked in Pennsylvania’s state capitol for a very long time. “I've seen a lot of rallies and protests over the decades, and generally they're relatively small.” On Monday, when he walked up to the state capitol steps to observe the demonstration, urging Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, to reopen the economy, Gerow was blown away at the number of people in attendance.' 
For a man who has long given up on being blown away by anything in politics, that says a lot. 
“The parade of cars alone was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed..."
Bliss it was to be alive then, but to be the Republican media consultant/single source in a Salena Zito column was very heaven! Anyway enjoy my trenchant analysis.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

MILKING IT.

The latest This Is Good News for Trump story from White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito is "Why America’s tariff-hit farmers still support Trump." The farmers she quotes are eloquent about how hard they work, but not so great at explaining why they love the President ("I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with a lot of the policies and a lot of the actions that he’s taken" is typical). And it's not even clear from Zito's stats that dairy farmers really are hanging in with MAGA:
In 2016, rural Americans, a category that includes all of America’s farmers and ranchers, overwhelmingly voted for Trump; he earned 62 percent of the vote compared to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 34 percent, according to Pew Research analysis... 
Yet, despite a flurry of national stories warning that farmers are moving away from Trump because of his trade policies, a recent Gallup survey showed that 53 percent of rural residents approve of the job the president is doing.
Not sure exactly how 62 percent of "farmers and ranchers" supporting Trump in 2016 correlates to 53 percent of "rural residents" supporting Trump in 2020, but it looks like a drop to me.

That's not even the weirdest part. Zito writes:
The 32-year-old [dairy farmer] also manages the crew of 40 to 50 employees who make sure those of us at home can pick up a bottle of fresh milk, aged cheese or tangy yogurt at our local grocery. 
That is, of course, unless you have bought into the latest dietary fad and don’t consume dairy — a shift that has hit farmers’ bottom line with as much force as weather patterns and President Trump’s trade war with China.
A fad -- like avocado toast! Maybe Millennials are killing the dairy industry, as they have so much else.

Where's Zito getting this idea of fad diets killing the dairy industry from? Not from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, which shows that between 2016 and 2017, the last two years for which it has data, dairy product consumption went down a mere two pounds per capita -- from 645 to 643 pounds -- while over a ten-year period (2007-2017) consumption of dairy products actually went up 30 pounds per person, 613 to 643 pounds.

Zito may be thinking of fluid milk consumption (no cheese, no yogurt, etc.). Sales of fluid milk are down year-on-year, and down over ten years -- and in fact down since the 1980s, which would be a weird definition of "the latest dietary fad."

Zito may have been relying on a 2018 Fox News story which talked about the drop in milk sales ("Just three decades ago, America was a milk guzzling nation") and cited "more milk substitutes on the market offering less fat and more flavor" and "the medical debate over milk's health value" as factors. I could see how someone might look at that and say, "sure, fad diets are killing the dairy industry, not verkakte trade policies" -- though I can't imagine that same person thinking for more than a few seconds after that, remembering Mexico's recent 10 percent retaliatory hike in its tariff on American cheese, and not thinking better of the idea. But then, maybe that person would have a reason for portraying a big hit to a major American business as the fault of silly almond-milk-slurping hippies.

UPDATE. A reader suggests that William Tabb -- one of Zito's simple sons of the sod in the story  ("Mississippi has been slammed with wet weather since last fall and William Tabb and his wife, Cala, have certainly felt the brunt of it on the 3,000 acres they farm") -- might also be the current Republican farmer-candidate for the state legislature William "Billy" Tabb. But why wouldn't she mention that relevant detail?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

SHE'S STILL GOT IT!

Haven't looked in on White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito for a while, let's scan her recent titles: "Beto O'Rourke: Late-term abortions are 'about women making their own decisions about their own body,'" "Can any 2020 Democrats speak Yinzer?" -- welp, sounds like the grift hasn't changed much. Let's look at her latest, entitled:
After Mueller, nobody has changed their views on Trump
Well, his poll numbers have dropped some, but not so much, so this is an arguable proposition at least. Let's see what she has to say:
If you voted for him, you are still thrilled and optimistic about the future. I outlined in the book I co-authored with Brad Todd, The Great Revolt, that election was never quite about Trump. Many of his voters saw with eyes wide open the man’s flaws and were voting heavily on concern for their communities and not necessary for themselves. 
Many who did not vote for Trump loathe him with the intensity of a white-hot rod poker prodding at their souls. Their hair is still on fire, and nothing in the world can extinguish it until he is out of the White House, preferably in handcuffs.
So if you voted for Trump you're not only still happy but also still have your "eyes wide open" and are the kind of Yinzer who'd vote for a flawed (i.e. scumbag) candidate because you put the needs of your community above your own (sounds like she's talking about all the JustTheTipTrump people); whereas if you didn't vote for Trump your hair is on fire and a white hot poker is prodding at your soul, which is appropriate because you're damned. Then she goes on about journalists, who are even more depraved:
Reporters marvel at [Trump] voters’ unwillingness to give up on a struggling town to move to a larger city or region, never understanding that these voters often happily trade a higher paying salary or a career with bonuses in another city to stay in a community where they have deep roots.
You city slickers may have soap and toothpaste, but my meth dealer and me went to kindergarten together! In case you were wondering what this tirade against the effete ways of people who live in big tall buildin's has to do with Mueller, Zito explains:
Which brings us back to this: Nothing has changed since Election Day 2016, because everything had changed for the C-suite influencers that control our culture, politics, entertainment, big tech, and news consumption. They chose to ignore the signs — or, in their arrogance, just missed what was in plain sight for decades. 
The fusion of conservatives and populists who make up the Trump coalition that placed Trump in the White House will continue long after whatever date the president leaves office. And despite the efforts of the press, and despite Trump’s own actions, the Trump coalition is unlikely to change their minds, because the only alternative is an elite that paints them as a villainous segment of our society.
In other words, us happy Trumpkins would vote for him if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, or sold America out to the Russians, because you sissies think yer sumpin' better'n us! I marvel there are enough people who would identify with this stuff who can also read it, but I suppose between her colleagues in the propaganda industry and hate-readers such as myself, she manages to make her quota. Once again Trump is putting Americans back to work!

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, August 29, 2018

THE WHITE WORKING CLASS WHISPERER HITS A SNAG.

I recently noticed that one of my 2017 tweets -- about a fanciful story by one of my favorite subjects, White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito -- was suddenly getting a lot of play. Then I saw new Twitter threads and old stories suggesting Zito is, how you say, full of shit. People began making fun of her now-infamous gas station anecdotes. Also she's being defended by Bethany Mandel, which, like the appearance of a famous mob mouthpiece at a gangland trial, is not probative but certainly suggestive.

Let me state for the record that, in my coverage of Zito's writing, I've never accused her of fabrication. I have observed that many pronouncements she attributes to her allegedly salt-of-the-earth subjects sound a mite canned ("It took me a while to realize those words weren’t theirs, but skillfully crafted sentences that had been massaged and focus-group tested by a full staff of speechwriters and strategists..."); in fact even her paraphrases sound too good to be true. Also, I noticed her referring to Republicans as Democrats for apparent conversion-narrative purposes back in 2016, a tendency for which the new jacks have found more examples.

Which is hilarious, but kind of beside the point. When I'm not regaling you good people here and at the Voice I work on trade publications ("It's a living" -- bird on The Flintstones), and I can assure you that, in that homely branch of journalism, attributions are taken very seriously. But I know pundits like Zito get a lot more slack -- hence the Alan Bromleys and Friedman cab drivers of the world, dispensing unverifiable swear-to-Gods in the service of verisimilitude. I can't imagine any reader of even normal intelligence will fail to hear the clang of poorly-written dialogue any time one of these writers' simulacra speaks. They'll believe if their need to do so is great enough, in which case no Twitter expose is going to change their minds.

So Zito's alleged journalistic crimes I take in stride. If anything I've been much more amused by her sneakiness -- like using a rich surgeon's family as an example of down-to-earth Trumpiness ("On the wall, she was adamant: 'Build it'") by referring to them as "upper-middle-class suburban voters who live in a blue-collar, upper-middle-class exurb," which is almost adorable, like seeing a melting ice cream cone dripping behind the back of a kid who's trying to pretend he didn't steal it. I'm also impressed by how committed Zito is to her Trumpkin shtick-- even allowing herself to look dumb and incoherent in defense of The Leader's gibberish (and, when the jig is up, she knows how to diminish expectations on his behalf -- this act can travel!). Not to mention the (to me) most important fact: that, even by the slithering standards of rightwing propaganda, she's a God-awful writer. But I'm a terrible cynic; your mileage, and that of the nation's editors, may vary.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

THE EASIEST JOB IN JOURNALISM.

It's been a while since I looked in on the White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito. I didn't expect her to have changed her shtick -- confirming the WWC's Trump love via quotes from unrevealed Republican operatives and millionaires, and with gibberish -- and I can report she hasn't, but she has gotten lazier.

The headline is -- who could have predicted? --"Why Trump’s supporters won’t care about Cohen and Manafort’s convictions," and Zito gets right to it with quotes from "a woman in her mid-40s who lives in a tidy suburban enclave just outside of Columbus, Ohio," which I will reproduce in their entirety:
“For decades I have been inspired by aspiring politicians and elected officials who took to the podium or the camera and delivered poetic speeches to earn my trust and my support. They would sway me with expressive words and artfully delivered promises... 
“It took me a while to realize those words weren’t theirs, but skillfully crafted sentences that had been massaged and focus-group tested by a full staff of speechwriters and strategists.”
Sounds perfectly natural, don't it? Zito must have been short of quote marks this week, or exhausted her subject's capacity for complex sentences, because thereafter she mostly paraphrases:
Along comes Trump in 2016. She cannot abide anything he tweets, finds his speeches a stream of consciousness that is hard to unscramble and considers his morals in the gutter. She reluctantly voted for him and knows she will vote for him again, something she admits even surprises her. 
Why does he hold her support? 
He delivers results. 
“It’s just that simple.”
She mentions the tax reform bill, the remaking of the judiciary, how he has repealed regulations that have improved the economic conditions in the state, both of his picks for the Supreme Court and his unflinching manner in taking on the establishment wings of both political parties as her reasons.
This tidy Ohio suburbanite sounds fascinating, unusually erudite and very up on her politics! One hopes to hear more about her, but alas:
The woman shudders as she imagines what kind of problems she would encounter if she gave her name, so she declines.
The wrath of her tidy Ohio suburb would descend on her, I guess -- maybe she'd get a bad table at the church bazaar. So we'll just have to take Zito's word for it that she exists as something other than a flak from the local GOP or figment of her imagination. And why wouldn't we? (Hmm, "just outside of Columbus, Ohio" -- maybe it's J.D. Vance in a dress?)

UPDATE: LOL -- "Facebook Censors Articles From Salena Zito, Jenna Lynn Ellis, Saying They 'Look Like Spam.'" Spam is polite word for it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

SOWHAT.

No, I didn't watch it. The Leader's alleged charms, which so enamor the yokels, have always been lost on me; were I paid like the glossier pundits to put up presentation scores on TV, America would be dismayed by my lack of generosity. Hadn't I seen The Leader coolly, confidently avoid eating a rat? Never mind TV, I see the New York Times giving him championship scores:
Trump’s First State of the Union Address: A Call for Unity That Wasn’t Always Heard That Way
Opinions vary! Are immigrants filth, or merely filthy? The Times goes on:
The president promised an optimistic, bipartisan speech, and he largely avoided some of the negative imagery of past speeches. Gone was the “American carnage.”
A look at the transcript shows that American carnage is only "gone" because The Leader has done us the favor of being in charge and suddenly trends that were denounced in 2016 are, though unchanged (like black unemployment) or even weakened (like the rise of the stock market), signs of a "roaring" economy. "Mr. Trump is at heart a salesman," chortles the Times, "and he rarely lets details get in the way of a good story."

And anyway, who needs American carnage when you have MS-13, which became The Leader's stand-in for all immigrants on a certain end of the paper-bag scale (except maybe that nice Messican soldier)? He made clear that he was letting Democrats bring in a few of their foreign riffraff (compromise!) so long as they show "good moral character," which will be affirmed or denied as Republicans require to soothe or rile the white masses at any given moment.

Apart from the vital racism, it was the usual rah-rah ("We heard about Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg. He is here with us too..."), and the dopes are sucking it up. At the crest of the expected wave of conservatives starbursts I find most remarkable one that doesn't mention the SOTU but was obviously planned to coincide with it -- a National Review column by Ben Shapiro (the fighting wingnut who can talk to the young!) about how great everything is (literally called "2018 Is a Great Time to Be Alive") because of the blessings of the free market: he actually cites that traditional conservative conversation-stopper the iPhone, but also increased longevity ("We’re living longer: In 1980, our life expectancy was 73.6 years, but as of 2010, it was 78.7"). Remember all that garment-rending over news that white people were actually living shorter lives, like David French blubbering "D.C. can’t fix problems of the heart" and Shapiro's Daily Wire colleagues asking "If Obamacare Was So Great, Why Did Life Expectancy Drop Last Year?" You won't hear that, or anything else bad about our virtually unchanged economy, from these guys for a while -- as long as the Trumpkins are free to loot the Treasury, befoul the environment, and suppress the vote, it's again Morning in America, with a slightly more downscale con artist in charge.

UPDATE. Look, the original White Working Class whisperer is back among the Pennsyltucky Trumpenvolk, as Salena Zito takes the SOTU pulse of the Ripepi family of Venetia, Pa. These are not quite shot-and-beer salt-of-the-earth Trumpkins -- pops is "chief of surgery at a suburban Pittsburgh hospital" -- but, Zito assures us, they are of "the upper-middle-class suburban voters who live in a blue-collar, upper-middle-class exurb..." So I guess that makes them Honorary Blue Collar, as does their butch rightwing politics (see 15-year-old daughter Lillie: "On the wall, she was adamant: 'Build it.'" Bet at school she's president of Model Identity Evropa!). I though father Tony Ripepi looked familiar, so I checked and sure enough -- Zito used him before, right after the 2016 election. Her lede then:
Dr. Anthony Ripepi wants the cosmopolitan class — who so misread everything about this election cycle — to know the first thing they might want to shed is their constant mocking of those who live in flyover country.
The chief of surgery had a thing or two to say back then to them cosmopolitans from flyover country, or a very comfy "upper-middle-class exurb" of it, and apparently still does. (And here’s Ripepi in another Zito column from January 2017, this time portrayed [for added WWCW points] as one of those Trump voters who "grew up Democrat voters in blue-collar manufacturing towns," back before his first million.) Well, hunting down real proles is a lot of work -- the WWCW gig is easier when the subjects come pre-vetted.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

MARINE TODD UND DAS MÄDCHEN.

I get a kick out of Salena Zito, America's foremost White Working Class Whisperer who made her bones reporting that the talking points of Pennsylvania Republicans were Why Trump Won. But lately her columns have been a little off -- because, I'm guessing, even in Pennsyltucky people are discontented with So Much Winning and she's had trouble finding an alternative to her usual "Here in Konigsboro local entrepreneur Ima G.O.P. Operative tells us why plain folks like her love Trump" shtick.

Witness a recent Zito column about a Bulgarian immigrant who when he came to America "only knew two words in the English language: 'Pepsi' and 'pizza,'" yet thrives and is one of "the folks who help make Chicago Chicago... builders and construction workers, artisans, business owners, and professionals." That was my first tip-off -- a conservative writing abut Chicago as something other than a black-on-black crime scene? Then she says, "Every immigrant in this country is an echo of all of us" and I'm like, okay, what's going on here? True, like nearly everyone Zito ever talks to, "Yoni" is a Republican ("When I first came to this country, I thought the Democratic Party was the party of the people..."), but if you want to keep your cred as the Head WWCW in Charge, praising immigrants seems like a weird move. Plus Trump is never mentioned! Finally we get to her closing:
The next time we complain about the Metro or the barista or how offended we are by the outrage of the moment – think about the Yonis of our country and try to imagine what it is like to appreciate what we have instead of believing we are entitled to what we have.
Son of a gun -- she's telling native-born Americans to suck it up and be like this hard-working foreigner instead of demanding he be thrown out of the country! And earlier she did a column about how technology is shaking up the American workplace and...
...it's hard to imagine many people are ready for the impact that is going to have on their lives and their communities; industrial revolutions create and destroy, if we are better prepared for the one we are experiencing now, our country's temperament will stabilize.
Am I getting this right -- we're supposed to learn new job skills instead of just mining more coal and making Mexico give back our jobs? This populist victory isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Maybe someone talked to Zito, because in her latest column she's back on Trump ("the majority of his voters were inspired by his aspirational message, Make America Great Again. I’m With Her? Not so much") and back to bashing the elites ("most of the decision-and image-makers in this country — in culture, politics and power — live in the 10 wealthiest counties in the country"). But she clearly felt a big gesture was needed right off the bat to let the people know Salena is back, baby! So she starts off with an anecdote about an international firefighters union event in D.C. in 2015. Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and Jim Webb were there, testing the Presidential waters. Zito was in the press gallery:
There was a fraternity of connection among the big-city journalists. They traveled together, socialized together at cocktail parties and shared the same cultural touch-tones.
Cocktail parties! Drink! ("Cultural tone-tones," though? Maybe their phones played hardcore rap, as elitist devices will.)
I, on the other hand, was from the Paris of Appalachia.
Poor little coal country mouse! She nervously smoothed her gingham dress and took notes on a coal scuttle with a piece of charcoal when suddenly --
About halfway through Cruz’s speech, one of the reporters sneezed. Out of courtesy and habit I said, “God bless you.” I instantly felt a chill in the room as everyone looked toward what seemed to be my direction. I looked behind me to see if something terrible had happened. It was clear that nothing had. 
A few minutes later, after Cruz was done speaking, an aide to one of the candidates, whispered to me, “We don’t say that around here.” 
I wasn’t sure what he meant, so I asked what was the “that” that we don’t say around here. 
His answer: Blessing someone after they sneeze. 
While the young man was perfectly pleasant, it was clear I was being scolded.
Obviously I'm hanging out with the wrong liberals because "God bless you" when someone sneezes is not in my experience the least bit controversial. And ain't I a elitist? I've thought about this and can imagine only three scenarios where her story is remotely credible:

1. The aide was kidding.

2. A Cruz aide, tipped off to Zito's availability, ran up and whispered, "Listen: I'll tell you 'we don't say that around here,' and it'll make a great story for when Ted is President. Just leave my name out of it."

3. Zito screamed "God bless you" so loud it set off the sprinklers.

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.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

SORRY, HILLBILLY HEROIN ADDICTS, CONSERVATIVES ARE MOVING ON.

Remember how hillbilly OxyContin addicts and the lack of attention we callous urban sophisticates devoted to them was one of the big This Is Why Trump Won talking points? It brought all the White Working Class Whisperers to the yard. Recall the post-election Business Insider story called "The revenge of the 'Oxy electorate' helped fuel Trump's election upset" that quoted major WWCW Chris Arnade: "'Wherever I saw strong addiction and strong drug use,' Arnade told Business Insider, he saw support for Trump." "People are literally dying," a "rural sociologist" told Business Insider. "There was such a sense of hopelessness that it makes sense they would vote for massive change."

Arnade's fellow WWCW Salena Zito also chided sissy latte drinking urbanites underconcerned with their rural junkie brethren: "If rural America continues to diminish, all of America will diminish," she wept, "because the countryside is as much a part of American’s identity as New York City’s skyscrapers and Silicon Valley’s sprawling technology campuses." Her solution? Not "subsidies from Washington... they just neutralize that rugged, self-reliant, innovative rural spirit." These proud hayseeds don't want no socialist charity! Zito instead suggested somebody (she never said who -- couldn't be Big Gummint, that's for sure!) "provide incentives that attract entrepreneurs back to invest in their former hometowns..." You know, much in the manner Hillbilly Elegy WWCW J.D. Vance, another longtime weeper over the Trump voters' opioid habits ("Folks aren't going to church, their kids are addicted to drugs"), was lured back to the dinky little hometown about which he complained so profitably in his book -- well, not there exactly, but to hipster burg Columbus, from which maybe he'll take his dogs "Pippin and Casper" out to the boonies for a walk every once in a while.

So up till this week I was still of the impression that liberals were supposed to feel ashamed that our lack of sympathy for the poor, drug-addicted common clay in Oatmeal, Nebraska had driven them into the arms of Trump. But the situation seems to be shifting: Now the opioid problem is not really such a big deal, and to the extent that it is, it's the fault of Obamacare.

Lo, here is Jeffrey Singer at TownHall to command us "Stop the Hysterical Rhetoric About the Opioid Crisis." Singer, who you can see sometimes at libertarian flagship Reason arguing against mandatory vaccination ("Forcibly injecting substances -- attenuated microbes or otherwise -- into someone else's body cannot be justified as an act of self-defense"), tells us here that while "deaths from opioid overdose have been steadily increasing," the majority of those victims "are not patients receiving opioids for pain." Hence they're criminal outliers, hence why should we care -- like all those black people who get shot by cops, it's their own fault.

Or is it? In another recent Singer column, this one at the Cato Institute, he asks, "Is Obamacare Fueling the Opioid Overdose Death Rate?" It's kind of Rube Goldberg reasoning so bear with me: the government does risk adjustment for policies on ACA beneficiaries who aren't cost effective (much as it also does on Medicare Advantage beneficiaries), so "the program systematically underpays," causing insurers to provide as little coverage as they can get away with (a problem for which there is no solution, especially not one called Single Payer) and, finally, worse treatment for addicts, hence death.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) also believes the opioid curse is the fault of Obamacare. “Medicaid expansion may be fueling the opioid epidemic in communities across the country," he claims. So, hillbilly heroin addicts, Trump will help you by overturning Obamacare -- which he hasn't managed to do yet, but that's because the sun was in his eyes -- and returning American to the old Pay or Die model, where some lucky people get Hazelden treatment for their addictions and the rest get Joe Clark bootstraps or an early grave.

Why's this happening now? I suspect it's this: though he's been lavishing monosyllabic praise on his herkimer-jerkimer supporters, with his policies Trump's actually been shitting on them -- his alleged big job "wins" at places like Carrier have turned out to be bullshit, and he's going to pay for their beloved Wall with their own tax dollars. And though he's been slinging boob bait as best he can,  cheering for Confederates and Nazis and yelling at the press, his poll numbers suggest even some of the gomers have ceased to buy it and are abandoning him.

So I believe Trump is cutting bait. His grand promises having come to naught, he's denying that they were ever needed in the first place -- if your sons and daughters are on drugs, that's Obama's fault, in any case don't come crying to me about it! He figures he can afford it -- he can always win them back by fanning some more racial flames -- or, if that fails, starting a war.

As for the White Working Class Whisperers, I predict they'll play along, especially since the alternative is finding a new shtick.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

COUP-COUP.

People (or at least memeorandum editors) keep directing my attention to Kurt Schlichter, a cartoon version of more skilled rightwing propagandists. I've fallen for his act before, because his writing is such overripe cheese that it's hard not to make fun of, as you can see from his latest offense and a typically reasonable section about how trying to make it easier for immigrants to become legal is like letting muggers go free:
Case in point – [Democrats'] bizarre embrace of illegal aliens. Democrats seem to think that foreigners who violate our laws have a greater right to determine what will be America's laws than actual Americans. After all, that's their argument when they whine because some illegal is getting shipped back to his Third World hellhole-of-origin. They seem to think that just because some uninvited, unwanted, unlegal trespasser (we’re not supposed to call them “illegal,” right?) has been violating our laws for an exceptionally long period of time makes his offense less offensive. Huh? That’s like saying getting slugged in the gut once is a no-no, but being pounded in the pancreas a couple dozen times is cool.
"Pounded in the pancreas," LOL. Sounds like he drilled alliteration in boot camp.  Like everything else he writes it's garbage, but I wanted to call attention to a section of the loony two-part fantasy he did earlier this week,  in which he imagines Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and other conservative boogiemen trying to take down Trump and ending up hanged for treason. It has all the hallmarks of an abuser's fantasy -- we might call it look-what-you-made-me-do fascism -- including an elaborately-constructed conspiracy of which the victim is guilty and a dryly indignant defense at the end ("Dissent had morphed into criminality, and it was now to be treated that way") explaining the regrettable necessity of you having to explain to people that you walked into a door.

Schlichter's current botch, interestingly, ends similarly -- "Donald Trump is a warning... If you somehow depose him via your smarmy shenanigans, what comes along next is really going to upset you," etc. Looking through Schlichter's oeuvre, we can detect a recent obsession with the theme of the libtard coup -- "This Is A Coup Against Our Right To Govern Ourselves," "If The Left Wins Their Soft Coup, Everyone Loses," "This Is A Coup Against Our Right To Govern Ourselves," et alia.

I can only imagine what he's cooking up in his literary meth lab now that Mueller's got a grand jury going. Consonants could collide and concatenate catastrophically!

He's not the only one -- not with the consonants, but with the coup coup ka joob. Some examples:
  • "'Silent Coup': Limbaugh Says DC Establishment Is 'Trying to Take Out' Trump" -- Fox News Insider
  • "The Slow-Motion Coup d’Etat picks up steam" -- William A. Jacobson, Legal Insurrection
  • "Dick Morris: The CIA ‘Silent Coup’ Against Donald Trump" -- National Enquirer (!!)
  • "Treasonous Generals Isolating Trump In Preparation For Coup" -- Alex Jones ("this is the most important broadcast I've ever done," LOL) 
They have a lot of support -- not among the hinterland patriots they like to pretend will rise up to defend their TV buffoon, I'm guessing, but among all the other internet tough guys who jump on any opportunity for Turner Diaries cosplay -- like Ole Perfesser Glenn Reynolds:
The anti-Trump folks are making clear that they hate Trump more than they love America. But if the rules don’t apply, then the rules don’t apply. They won’t like it when the rules don’t apply.
Ooooh, scary! I love the idea of the Perfesser trying to muster his posse comitatus at the local gastropub: "Festus, you take your men up the post road to Washington. Seize what you need from the local gentry -- except for the names on this list, they're premium subscribers -- and don't worry, the Second Amendment trumps the Third, hehindeed. What's that? No, I agreed to a keg for your men, not craft beers! And bar snacks only, no entrees. Okay, everyone gets stuffed mushrooms but -- hey, what happened to my laptop?"

Can't wait to see Salena Zito and Chris Arnade comin' over that hill. Saddle my Schwinn!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

FROM A WHISPER TO A SCHEME.

Everyone's pissed at the shitty Obamacare replacement Trump's minions rammed through the House, and the damage control isn't looking good. This looks like a job for the White Working Class Whisperer!

At the Washington Examiner, WWCW Salena Zito starts out by telling us that Hillary Clinton deserved to lose in 2016. Proof point: instead of going there herself, Hillary sent her stupid Hollyweird friends Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson to Rosedale, Michigan, where they "scolded voters about climate change." She seems to be talking about this event, which the Detroit News says the celebs attended to "thank Clinton volunteers and staff members for their campaign work and give them a pep talk" -- not to go down to Ye Olde Mill-Worker Tavern, look around snootily, remove their white gloves and wag their manicured fingers at the Salt of The Earth WWC hunched over their frosty mugs. I bet the Clinton crew didn't mind hearing about global warming.

But never mind; Zito's got hot quotes from a WWC source -- a "petite blonde" named Dawn Wilson whom we meet at "a strip mall with a Walmart, a Dollar Tree, a jewelry pawn shop..." Plus which she just lost her job of 17 years! Can you even get any more WWC! And boy has Dawn Wilson got something to say about Hillary and her Hollyweird friends:
Your message and your optics are everything when you are trying to persuade people to buy something from you or vote for you. Does this look like somewhere that needs to be schooled on climate change? she asks.
No quote marks in the original, BTW. Is it a paraphrase? If someone asks, maybe!

Zito also harshes on Clinton because "she conceded to mistakes during the campaign... and then blamed it all on FBI Director James Comey." This she offers as a contrast to Trump, who always takes responsibility for his mistakes... ha ha, kidding! Zito's idea of a relevant contrast is this:
Last week two politicians made news for the ways they communicated to Americans: Clinton's words were crafted, deliberate and dishonest; President Trump's words were a string of thoughts bouncing everywhere — with no craft, no massaging and they contained great gaps of context.

The press reacted wistfully to the former; to the latter, it went into full meltdown. Again...

Now, that doesn't mean Trump is always accurate in what he says, but he says (or tweets) what he truly thinks at that moment.

We in the press are just not accustomed to this type of honesty.
To recap, Hillary's great sin, beyond dishonest self-assessment, was that she was coherent, a sure sign of duplicity, while Trump talks like a developmentally-disabled princeling who blurts whatever richochets into his frontal lobe.

But at least he's honest, right? Actually, not; as James Poniewozik notes, Trump has a habit of saying what he thinks his audience wants to hear, which sometimes requires a quick switcheroo, like he's had to do on jailing women for abortions and funding for historically black colleges and universities.

Anyway, who needs Trump to be coherent, or Wilson to have quote marks, when Zito has "Bruce Haynes, founding partner of the bipartisan Purple Strategies consulting firm," to fill several grafs on the record, telling us why Trump rules and Hillary drools. Haynes is a longtime Republican functionary working for a typical D.C. hired-gun nightmare; like Zito he mystically communes with the WWC and divines that they hate the media weenies who insist on characterizing Trump's emissions on the basis of elite standards of truthfulness and dignity, when what they should be reporting is what the WWC wants to hear:
"Meanwhile, most voters just roll their eyes and wonder why they are not hearing about whether their sons will be in military conflict because of North Korea, or whether tax reform will give them a shot at a better job, or what's in the health-care bill on preexisting conditions because their cousin has cancer."
Nearly everything Trumps says on these subjects is either gibberish or obvious bullshit, and it's made freely available by the press at all times; but Haynes finds it unsatisfactory, and it can't be Trump's fault because he polls better than the media so it's theirs.

I don't think even this expert whispering is going to do it for the White Working Class -- who, by the way, are observably well-represented at the town halls where Republicans are getting their new assholes torn. Maybe whispering time is over.

Monday, May 01, 2017

GUILTY WITH A (REALLY BAD) EXPLANATION.

You may have seen White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito’s obsequious interview with Donald Trump, and perhaps learned about the bizarre part of the interview, which does not appear in the print version, in which Trump wondered aloud what the Civil War had been about. Zito was interviewed about this in a podcast with the Washington Examiner’s own Michael Graham, and to spare you good people I have transcribed a large chunk of it.

The preliminary logrolling is pretty terrible. “When I read your piece and saw his schedule and how much he had — I was exhausted!” enthuses Graham. “I was exhausted,” agrees Zito. “It was about 3:30, 4 in the afternoon — he had already been up for 12 hours.” True, some fast-food workers get up before dawn, too, but look what Trump had accomplished with his waking hours: He “had met with the President of Argentina along with his wife, along with the first lady Melania, he had signed two executive orders, he had had dozens of children in the White House for Take Your Child to Work Day, and then he was doing a series of interviews that began with me, and there was a line of journalists out the door waiting to get in.” “Incredible, particularly the kids part!” says Graham. Whew! All that signing, talking, and staring at young life forms wondering how much their parents would sell them for. Whatever Trump's getting in grift, it’s not enough.

Then Zito gets into the history lesson:
Before the tapes were rolling, he and I were discussing the portraits that hung behind him, which was of Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was to his right as he’s sitting at the Resolute Desk, and Jackson to his left. And, in very vintage Trump style, he bounced back to that, apropos of nothing, and that’s sort of how those quotes were inserted in the conversation — now, if you were in the earlier conversation it makes sense --
At that point I was really interested to hear how some earlier conversation made Trump’s ravings coherent, but alas, that's where Zito falters (there’s no video, so you can’t tell whether Jared Kushner was holding a gun on her family):
— but you know — if you’re following — I mean — let’s face it, he just bounces around when he talks. He is very much a businessman in his display of language —
Huh? Who thinks businessmen talk like that? If you were arranging a large wholesale order with a guy and he started talking that way, wouldn’t you maybe say you had to go to the bathroom and then skip out the back?
It’s very different than your typical politician or journalist who use very crafted, very vetted words and sentences and that’s not who he is. He’s not a politician. That’s largely why he was elected president. But it doesn’t always serve him well in interviews because he’s all over the place.
You littlebrains are expecting him to make quote-unquote sense, like a schoolteacher or something, but supermen like Trump are beyond your puny sequential thought and sentence structure!

Graham asks Zito what Trump was trying to say.
He was projecting strength.
Holy Mary mother of God.
He was talking about Andrew Jackson’s strength as a leader, you know, as first a general, he referred to him as a swashbuckler, and then as a leader. And he felt confident that had Jackson been in office later in the 19th Century — I think he left off as, no, he was elected in 1828 — he may have been able to thwart the Civil War.
Jackson was as strong a Union man as ever lived and even threatened to hang John C. Calhoun over the threat of secession. So it’s just possible that, had he served later, he might have kept the slave power alive a little longer to preserve that Union. But, if you take Lincoln’s analysis of the situation more seriously than Trump’s or Zito’s, you know he could not have held it off indefinitely. And of course that alternate history would have meant more slaves, but with this crew I figure that's more a feature than a bug; in fact, maybe that's the message Trump was trying to get out to his hardcore supporters.

Last word to Zito:
Y’know, as I always say, context is everything. Anything outside of context is a lie.
Well, glad I was able to help, then.

Monday, March 27, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the crash and burn of the American Health Care Act, which obliged the brethren to explain what went wrong without speaking ill of their own deformed and unpopular policies.

Nonetheless they had a go, and some refused to acknowledge defeat at all. At the Washington Examiner (picked up from a garbage website with many popups), Brian Brinker says, "while many are quick to label this as a Trump failure, I can't help but wonder if it's instead a moment of business savvy." How's he figure? Because polls show people don't actually want what Trump and Congress are selling -- which means a Trump loss is retroactively a stroke of Trump genius. See:
Ultimately, the repeal failure fits with Trump’s business style. Throughout his career Trump relied on contractors, in this case GOP members of Congress, to perform work. Trump has always been known for being tough on these contractors...
 (that is, he regularly stiffs them)
...and that appears to be the case in the currently unfolding scenario. Further, Trump has made it clear that when it comes to deals he is pragmatic and flexible. Congressional failures likely means that Trump will be shifting gears, with blame for the current failure falling on Congress rather than Trump.
In other words, Trump screwed Congress just like he screws everybody who trusts him! There, Trump voters -- don't you feel better?

If you can stand it, you can also go see WWC Whisperer Salena Zito explain why Pennsyltucky will never forsake The Leader: "their beliefs and their intellects — which they imagine [Frank] Rich and his ilk chuckling over while sipping chardonnay — are what pushed them away from an increasingly elitist Democratic Party in the first place," blah blah. (Steve M. from NMMNB notices that Zito has gone back to calling Westmoreland County "Democrat" even though they haven't voted for a Democrat for President in 20 years.) But maybe go read my column instead, which is at least as funny.

Friday, March 17, 2017

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.




The kids are alright.

• Though Salena Zito is alicublog's favorite White Working Class Whisperer, we don't sleep on J.D. Vance, the Hillbilly Elegy guy who, though he went to Yale and became a rich investment capital executive and a National Review writer, still feels for his kinfolk back in Skunk Holler (actually, according to his official bio he "grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky" -- a WWC twofer!) and really understands why they went for Trump (which, of course, is very different from supporting Trump himself, though he never gets around to saying what the difference is). The other day Vance told his many rustic fans (at least those who read the New York Times) that he was "moving home" with the noble goal of "founding an organization to combat Ohio’s opioid epidemic." Thus he will do his bit to reverse the "brain drain" that Charles Murray worries about, and bring jobs and purpose to Rust Belt Middletown and --

Hang on -- you say he's not moving to Middletown? He's moving to Columbus? Or, as the hipsterrific ads call it, Cbus?

Columbus Monthly explains:
Though Cincinnati is closer to his hometown, Vance chose Columbus for its more convenient airport, central location and availability of promising job opportunities for his wife, Usha, a lawyer and fellow Yale Law School graduate. Speaking before an event hosted for him at Miranova by Columbus power couple Larry and Donna James, Vance, an Ohio State graduate, said he and his wife plan to move to German Village with their two dogs, Pippin and Casper.
Somehow I dount Pippin and Casper are coonhounds.


• Back in 2009, The Editors of National Review blasted the DNC for referring to obstreperous attendees of Obamacare Town Brawls as a "mob," and Democratic officials for avoiding such events:
The DNC’s ad, “Enough of the Mob,” abominates those Americans who show up to address their congressmen and to exercise their constitutional rights to speak freely, to assemble, and to petition their government for redress of grievances. You know, that old pre-hope-and-change, hopelessly retro, pre-messianic democratic stuff...

The most mockery-inviting aspect of all this is that Obamacare-supporting Democrats are now ducking constituent meetings back in their home districts, afraid to face questions from the people they are paid to represent. Given the Obama team’s contempt for these people, and its utterly dismissive attitude toward their concerns, is it any wonder “the mob” doesn’t want Obama in charge of their health care? Obamacare will constitute an injury to Americans’ well-being — and the president now adds insult to it.
Today, with the disastrous Trumpcare bill being muscled through Congress, and Republicans ducking their own Town Brawls, The Editors haven't got the nerve, so they've hauled in some poor lady from Acculturated, rightwingdom's single-A farm team. Her headline:
Stop Trolling Politicians at Town-Hall Meetings
There follow several grafs from a History of Town Halls term paper, then:
This is the new political coliseum, and while there aren’t lions, chariots, and sparring with swords, there is the aura of the melee rather than deliberative debate...

The best town halls will always be places to gather and debate, sometimes heatedly. But if this crucial democratic tradition is to survive our fractured age, we should embrace civility during town-hall meetings, and save the angry trolling for Twitter.
NR performs its duh diligence, the Acculturated lady gets a top-drawer writing credit, and no normal people ever see the column. Everybody wins!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

THE WHITE WORKING CLASS WHISPERER FLIPS THE SCRIPT.

White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito won fame by predicting that Republicans would go for Trump, and holds it with her rare gift for finding ordinary WWC people who just naturally speak in fluent Republican Party Talking Points. In her latest column, her subjects retain their traditional, suspicious eloquence, but the Talking Points themselves have changed, as announced by the headline:
Trump’s voters have high hopes – even if they don’t expect miracles
Sounds like somebody got a memo about lowering expectations. Zito lays it out in a preamble:
MINGO JUNCTION, OHIO — Many people living in this town of used-to-be’s don’t expect their community will ever return to its glory days. 
They don’t anticipate the return to a downtown of bustling businesses patronized by a well-paid middle class working at the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel plant. They want a little fresh paint on the vacant buildings, to cover up the sorrows lining the main business district’s ironically named Commerce Street. 
And they’re not expecting magic from President Trump.
Weird. I recall Trump was very explicit about bringing back steel and coal jobs. I recall also that swing state gomers were hooting and hollering over such jobs during the campaign -- "After asserting he's 'going to fight for steel businesses that have been taken away,' [Trump] said he wants to make Pennsylvania and Ohio 'the manufacturing hub of the world again.' The comments brought cheers from supporters inside a crowded gymnasium," etc. Yet listen to Zito's specimens now:
“All we need is to invest in ourselves with some small businesses up and down the street, and we’ll be fine,” said Rich Grimm, a retired steel worker. Grimm is aspirational, pragmatic about the return of steel or coal jobs, and determined.
They don't need heavy industry -- they just need to invest in themselves, and they will, soon's as they work up the nerve to dig up Grandpappy's corpse, pry out the gold teeth, and take them to some big-city pawnshop for a grubstake in a nail salon! And a little fresh paint!

Even more than that, what Zito's WWC folk need is the GOP platform, dumbed down for credulous newspaper readers:
They’re happy with what Trump has done so far — limiting US entry from certain countries; plans for a wall along the US-Mexico border; taking the ObamaCare bull by the horns — but it’s tax and regulation reform that they all believe will truly help their community. 
“Look, we all know the steel jobs aren’t coming back to the degree they once were, nor the coal jobs,” said Grimm. “Honestly, we never expected that."
You city slickers have got the salt-of-the-earth guys all wrong -- they don't want (ugh) steel and coal jobs, they just want to get rid of immigrants, immiserate the poor, and give rich people a big, sloppy tax cut.

What happened? My guess is, with Trump "taking the ObamaCare bull by the horns" -- i.e., letting Paul Ryan fuck it up in exchange for Ryan letting him use his office for grifts -- things are going to start collapsing pretty soon, and the MAGA dream is going to look pretty stupid, so advance men and women like Zito have been sent to get the gaslights going full blast. Hell, in a few months they'll be telling us The Leader has always said coal and steel mills are an environmental menace!

UPDATE. Comments are terrific. Example: "Mingo Junction ain't exactly a backwater," says Worriedman. "...It's an hour outside of Pittsburgh. The steel plant, which closed in 2009 after 8 years of Democratic malfeasance and incompetence, will start producing steel this month. Trump works fast! Ungrateful fucks." And do check out keta's September 2017 story datelined BENDOVER, PA:
Local painter Jess Splurtz agrees. “Obama never gave us a drop,” he says. “With Trump I feel like the the hose is directed at us and we’re gettin’ it good, enough to really bask in. Sure, the jobs ain’t come back, and the health care looks to be cut off for most of us, and the mental health and opioid addiction services my family uses a lot look to be cut off completely, but you know what? There ain’t been a dark-skinned loafer seen in Bendover for over a month now, not since them ICE fellers took ‘em all away.”

Sunday, February 19, 2017

SNOWFLAKES.

Nothing I like better after a long week of reading rightwing idiots than to curl up with some libtard hivemind received opinion at the New York Times! Say, what's this?
[Jerry] Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Mr. Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way. Every time Mr. Medford dips into the political debate — either with strangers on Facebook or friends in New York and Los Angeles — he comes away feeling battered by contempt and an attitude of moral superiority. 
“We’re backed into a corner,” said Mr. Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “There are at least some things about Trump I find to be defensible. But they are saying: ‘Agree with us 100 percent or you are morally bankrupt. You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’ ” 
He added: “I didn’t choose a side. They put me on one.”
Sigh. There's no getting away from it: From downmarket White Working Class Whisperers like Salena Zito to the Good Grey Lady (incarnated here by Sabrina Tabernise), seems everyone who's anyone agrees liberals are to blame for Trump voters. For one thing, as above, we viciously refuse to agree with them. Who does that? For another...
Late last year, [Medford] hit it off with a woman in New York he met online. They spent hours on the phone. They made plans for him to visit. But when he mentioned he had voted for Mr. Trump, she said she was embarrassed and didn’t know if she wanted him to come. (He eventually did, but she lied to her friends about his visiting.) 
“It invalidated anything that’s good about me, just because of how I voted. Poof, it’s gone.”
...liberals will only have sex with them on the downlow. This bitch wouldn't take Jerry to meet her snooty New York friends just because he insists on wearing his MAGA cap and his FUCK YOUR FEELINGS shirt! Well, at least we can be reasonably sure he didn't give her an orgasm. That'll show her!

He's not the only one who suffers. Pity Ann O'Connell, "a retired administrative assistant in Syracuse who voted for Mr. Trump":
Mrs. O’Connell feels hopeless. She has deleted all her news feeds on Facebook and she tries to watch less TV. But politics keeps seeping in. 
“I love Meryl Streep, but you know, she robbed me of that wonderful feeling when I go to the movies to be entertained,” she said. 
Even Hollywood stars won't kiss their ass! What kind of  topsy-turvy world is this?

Oddly enough, there is nothing in the story, nor anywhere else in the Times, suggesting that Trump voters should in turn reach out to the other side. They seem to assume Trump voters are too fragile to take this kind of initiative themselves, and that the very people these voters are constantly calling traitors should be rushing to their assistance like home health aides.

That's an incredibly condescending attitude, but since these folks play along with it I guess it's justified. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Conservatism is not a political philosophy but a last resort -- something you turn to when you can no longer bear to take responsibility for your own actions.

Friday, December 23, 2016

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Dan Hicks died this year, too, in case you needed 
another reason to hate 2016.

•  WWC whisperer Salena Zito has done very well for herself by going amongst The Common People, and reporting back to readers why they think Trump Rulez. Now at the New York Post Zito reports her conversations with jes' plain Trumpkins on an Amtrak train (a proletarian non-Acela one, for only elites take Acela), specifically "Audrey and Robert, a Virginia couple... heading to Montana to visit their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren," and "Edward of Lancaster, Pa... traveling to see his mother and brothers and sisters in Fort Wayne, Ind." She doesn't say what they do for a living, but from the way they talk I'd say they're in public relations, possibly for the Republican Party:
“On Nov. 8 I went from a responsible, hard-working, upstanding citizen to an uninformed bigot who gleefully supports Russian interference in our elections and the destruction of our republic,” Robert said. “At least that’s what I have read in the newspaper or seen on television, so it must be true, right?” 
Edward smiled, paused, and then said, “It is refreshing to hear your candor, it’s gotten to the point where you are afraid to not only express your opinion, but to stand by your opinion. Yes, I supported him and yes, I would do it again.”
It is refreshing to hear your candor, too, citizen! Zito also talks to a Clinton supporter and guess what, she eloquently regrets her vote and that her party is/are blaming things:
“It astounds me that the press still doesn’t get it, that my party (Democrats) are blaming everyone but themselves for a poor message, poor messenger and the responsibility she bears for placing her email security in jeopardy . . . it’s not Comey’s fault. It’s hers,” said Elizabeth who was sitting in the booth across the aisle.
Elizabeth voted for Clinton, but wasn’t sure she’d do so again. “The way everyone is acting now post-election shows that no one, no one, has learned anything. She is just proving she deserved to lose"...
Zito concludes that "people, even those who supported Clinton, are tired of Trump’s win being blamed on fake news, the Comey letter and the Russians," so stop talking about the so-called popular vote and Trump's insane post-election behavior because the Voice of America (all four of them) has/have spoken. Give Zito credit -- at least none of these Real People were cab drivers.

•  At National Review, Christian Toto finds a new category of Your Article is Very Bias journalism:
If you think liberal media bias is strictly an issue for the New York Times and the Washington Post, you haven’t looked at your average entertainment site lately. 
Nearly every major Hollywood news site leans left. It has been that way for some time, but in recent years it has gotten worse. The improbable rise of Donald Trump is hastening that shift. And, in an age when pop culture plays an increasing role in our body politic, that matters.
People in the arts don't like Trump -- why, that's as big a shock as Guns & Ammo not liking Obama. What examples ya got, Chris?
[The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg] also referred to former Daily Show host Jon Stewart as “the most trusted man in comedy news.” Trusted? Sure, liberals trust he’ll echo their worldview. What about the other half of the country? Doesn’t Fienberg have a duty to consider them?

And then there’s the recent news that Adam McKay signed up to shoot a movie based on former vice president Dick Cheney. Deadline.com broke the story but failed to mention McKay’s political leanings.
Well, stop my presses! Toto never gets around to explaining why this "matters," except for the already-classic You-Elites-Must-Now-Be-Nice-To-Tumpkins routine ("try to learn something from the election results"). But I suspect Toto's article isn't really meant as an exposé anyway so much as a long-copy Position Wanted ad.  I've written several times about Toto's shit, and discovered him a true child of Zhdanov, specializing in attacks on movies that don't flatter his political prejudices. He bylines himself here as a "conservative movie critic," so despite his whinging about bias in arts journalism you know "balance" is not his shtick -- but he's probably praying it's what some stupid publisher thinks is needed in the back of the book, and that will get Toto on a major pub as Counterpoint for your Very Bias. Till then he traipses the same sad circuit as Mark Gauvreau Judge and other culture warriors. That Rupert Murdoch can't loosen his pursestrings and buy these guys some columns in his publications is a pity -- or maybe the tricksiest Bias of all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

THE LITTLE PEOPLE.

Salena Zito has a habit of going among Pennsylvania Republicans and delivering the big news that they're for Trump. In this September 26 article she claimed Trump was convincing "undecideds and Democrats" in Westmoreland County, which she characterized as "formerly or traditionally Democrat-blue" even though it's been voting Republican for President since 2000.

Since Trump took Pennsylvania she's been certified by the credulous as a White-Working-Class Whisperer. Today she's here to tell us that "Trump’s voters love his Twitter rants against popular culture." To this end she spoke to four Pennsyltuckians, who say things like "but he did the right thing, and the media and the elite still keep making the same mistakes" and "“Trump is standing up for the so-called deplorables, intolerables and irredeemables excoriated by Hillary and the left,” which totally don't sound like they came out of a talking point factory.

Just for grins I looked up one of her sources on Facebook and found him (or, to be fair, maybe someone else with the same name in the same town who's FB friends with Zito) talking about how most of the anti-Trump protests are paid "orchestrations of the left," and that he saw this one lady protesting and asked her "exactly she was protesting as the election had already taken place on Tuesday. She refused to answer and just repeated 'I'm a woman.' She spoke with an accent (can't tell if it was real or not)..."

Can't you just feel the economic anxiety? The best part is Zito's explanation of this phenomenon:
Here is what the cosmopolitan class still does not get: It’s not just Donald Trump you are making fun of, it is people outside your circle, the voters whose sentiments and values that have been the punch line of Hollywood’s jokes for their entire lives.
I do in fact get it: I am indeed making fun of the handful of people she quotes, mainly because they're doing a hilariously piss-poor job of pretending to be the Common Clay.