Showing posts sorted by date for query david french. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query david french. Sort by relevance Show all posts

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.  

Monday, October 15, 2018

WHITE MAN SPEAK WITH FORKED TONGUE.

So now she's not Indian enough:


In the immortal words of Jay Silverheels, ugh. I wrote way back in 2012 about rightwingers' woo-woo-woo jokes about Pocahontas Warren (“You Won’t Have Elizabeth Warren To Kick Around By Indian Summer,” said Dan Riehl shortly before she was elected Senator) and today was the first day they even slightly altered their shtick. Warren could split open and Sitting Bull himself emerge from the husk, and conservatives would say, "hyuk, she was pretending to be a chick all along to get that sweet affirmative action!"

There is no reasoning with these people, nor any point in taking them seriously.

UPDATE. I see the credentialed and formerly respectable conservatives are playing the same stupid game. National Review's David French, who recently completed his turn to Trumpkinism by telling the world  Trump calling for his opponents to be jailed was nothing compared to liberals being mean to Ted Cruz, is now pretending to be outraged by what he calls Warren's "resume fraud." French talks as if her criminality were obvious to all True Sons of Liberty, which is what these putzes do when they're nervous that no one is listening to them. Finally, the last refuge of a NeverTrumper turned Tip-InTrumper -- he says Warren's the real Trump!  Can you imagine Tom Cruise once made people think JAG officers were cool?

UPDATE 2. In my newsletter today (Subscribe! Cheap!) I explain, among other things, why this is Bad News for Donald Trump:
Trump uses insults like this to neutralize his enemies, but by showing she had some Native American blood — not 1/32nd or three generations back, as her family had told her, but between 1/64th to 1/1,024th, or six to ten generations — Warren showed her good-faith claim was based on reality, and good faith and reality are to Trump as garlic and crucifixes to a vampire, as shown by his even more petulant than usual response: claiming "who cares" — a weird response to something he normally goes out of his way to make a big deal of — and that he never made a promise to pay a million dollars if Warren's Indian heritage were proven even though his promise is on tape. ("It was in the context of a future hypothetical debate and wasn’t actually a promise to give one million to her charity if she actually did a DNA test," homina-homina'd the ball-washers at The Right Scoop.) 
In other words, Trump couldn't even act like he was on top in this situation —he just blustered, something he's actually always doing but, in this instance, was so clearly doing it that even the redhat dummies might notice.
I would also add that, as with French and this Breitbart schnook, the fallback position among conservatives is that the Lame Stream Media, though malice or stupidity, missed the real story, which is that Warren and not Trump is the real crook. Not only is this message not a compelling one,  but they're delivering it to a small audience that already despises Warren and could not despise her more; normal people with memories of the schoolyard will appreciate her fighting back.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

THE LADYKILLERS.

As I've said, and keep saying in my latest newsletter (subscribe! It don't cost much), it seems all conservatives are now solidly on board with Brett Kavanaugh and the Tit and Clit Club and, when it comes to their arguments in defense of the accused attempted rapist, the sober mainstream types are more or less indistinguishable from the crazy he-man woman-haters club types on the fringe. Dig professional harrumph machine David French, for example, arguing in the allegedly legit National Review that the real problem is not Georgetown Prep Republicans who think they own women, but liberal jazzbos who "stripped away moral prohibitions against extramarital sex, celebrated youthful experimentation, combined it with similar celebrations of drug and alcohol use — even at early ages — and then have been shocked — no, stunned — at the sheer amount of groping, grabbing, coercion, and assault." Yeah, elite males getting drink and rapey are the fault of Hugh Hefner; before the 60s, they only raped low-status females who were easily paid off and no one was the wiser.

But give the low-class conservatives credit; while guys like French are matching them in misogyny, they can't keep up with their expertise in plain old insanity.

Take Robert Stacy McCain, who I last noticed attacking Sarah Jeong for racism against whites -- "No one at Harvard or at the New York Times will speak a word in favor of white people, Christians, heterosexuals, or police officers" -- which was pretty ballsy of him, considering McCain is a neo-Confederate.

Well, sure enough, the American Spectator enlisted McCain to tell this mouthy Christine Blasey Ford a thing or two. A large part of his rap, you will not be surprised to hear, involves the Rolling Stone/UVA case -- when Men's Rights types can't get it up for normal porn anymore, they can always get a stiffy over that.

But the meat, as it were, of McCain's argument is that Kavanaugh's accuser has no right to be in a position to make such an accusation -- and the fact that she is in such a position suggests that she's lying:
It is perhaps not a coincidence that Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser is a university professor. The former prep-school girl Christine Blasey went on to obtain two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in psychology, marry an engineer named Russell Ford, and thus become Professor Ford of California’s Palo Alto University. 
That's how women get doctorates and professorates: Marrying titled men!
Having spent her entire adult life working in academia, Professor Ford is eminently qualified as a representative of the mentality that currently prevails on our nation’s university campuses, where male students are presumed guilty of rape as soon as any female student accuses them.
Interesting. And what mentality is represented by Kavanaugh, who has spent his entire adult life as a factotum to Republican Party bosses? Why should his predictable careerist rise be any less suspicious than hers? It would seem the main difference between Kavanaugh's and Ford's position among the "elite," in McCain's view, is that hers is absurd because she lacks a penis.
This mentality was what led to the debacle at the University of Virginia in 2014, when a Rolling Stone reporter destroyed her career...
Let us draw the curtain, or close the men's room door, on McCain, and look in on Dennis Prager at National Review. Prager is a total idiot who has in the past argued that wives owe their husbands sex ("Why do we assume that it is terribly irresponsible for a man to refuse to go to work because he is not in the mood, but a woman can -- indeed, ought to -- refuse sex because she is not in the mood?"). I wouldn't say he's topped that in his pissy column "The Charges against Judge Kavanaugh Should Be Ignored," but he comes close. First he pretty much accepts that Kavanaugh tried to rape Ford but shrugs it off because he's been such a good boy since ("No matter how good and moral a life one has led for ten, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years, it is nullified by a sin committed as teenager"), and that anyone should think otherwise is just "another example of the moral chaos sown by secularism and the Left." But here's the money part, and by "money" I mean nuts:
When my wife was a waitress in her mid teens, the manager of her restaurant grabbed her breasts and squeezed them on numerous occasions. She told him to buzz off, figured out how to avoid being in places where they were alone, and continued going about her job. That’s empowerment.
If only gals would learn to dodge their bosses' advances like Andy dodged butt-rape in The Shawshank Redemption, then come home and gave their husbands the blowjobs they deserve, we'd have the little gender thing fixed up PDQ.


Thursday, September 06, 2018

CAN KAVANAUGH.

I wrote earlier about the Kavanaugh SCOTUS hearings for my newsletter. (Ooh! says I, ostentatiously dropping my handkerchief, did I say my newsletter? Yes, that's right, I mean my brand new, $7 a month/$70 a year newsletter, and in the words of Brendan Behan, damn well good enough for you.) I still pray that the Senators wise up about this piece of shit -- or, if they don't, the voters will, and show that they do in November.

In my (available for a very cheap subscription price!) newsletter story, I addressed a post by National Review's David French, in which he brushes off any concerns about restriction of reproductive freedom owing to Kavanaugh's appointment, despite Kavanaugh's transparent animus against abortion, including his recent reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs." French offers this as proof that Trump doesn't want to restrict women's rights:
The president is a libertine philanderer who pays off porn stars and playmates, but somehow we’re about two steps from Gilead. 
In 2016 Trump proposed legal punishments for women who had abortions. The Republican Party made him back off because it was too on the nose. Trump's "libertine" morals obviously apply only to himself. If you wonder why wingnut fundamentalists still support Trump, remember: There's still a lot of money in supporting the most vicious and corrupt Republicans, so long as you keep a few Party officials around who can be counted on to say, "Why that's outrageous, we would never" whenever someone points out how full of shit they are.

We are told that the judicial operatives Republicans have been sending to the court for decades now are just impartial lawgivers devoted only to the Constitution and the secrets of its intent that it whispers to them from its ark at the Federalist Society; but it hasn't worked out that way in practice. Here's just one piece of evidence from Linda Greenhouse's review of the record of that earlier, similarly obvious wingnut plant Clarence Thomas, at the New York Times:
I have saved my favorite Thomas opinion for last: the concurrence in the chief justice’s opinion in the case that upheld Trump’s “Muslim Ban,” Trump v. Hawaii. “Merits aside,” he wrote, “I write separately to address the remedy that the plaintiffs sought and obtained in this case.” The Federal District Court in Hawaii, in an opinion upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, had imposed a nationwide injunction against the ban’s enforcement. “I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions,” Justice Thomas wrote. “These injunctions did not emerge until a century and a half after the founding.” They were once rare, he said, “but recently, they have exploded in popularity.” He concluded: “In sum, universal injunctions are legally and historically dubious. If federal courts continue to issue them, this court is duty bound to adjudicate their authority to do so.” 
Why do I call this opinion my favorite? Justice Thomas, I’m willing to assume — as I do of all members of the Supreme Court — is a man of high principle. Yet I searched his concurring opinion in vain for a citation to a nationwide injunction issued three years ago by a federal district judge in Texas and upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2016 on a 4-to-4 tie vote. The case was United States v. Texas. The subject was President Barack Obama’s proposed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, known as DAPA, granting temporary deferral of deportation to the parents of the young “Dreamers” who had received protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA. The district court not only found in favor of the states that had challenged DAPA but, over the Obama administration’s objections, gave the injunction nationwide scope. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the injunction on a 2-to-1 vote. 
In the spring of 2016, Justice Scalia had died and had not yet been replaced. A 4-to-4 tie at the Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s judgment without an opinion and without identifying which justices are on which side. There is no doubt which side Justice Thomas was on. If he had any problem with a nationwide injunction then, he kept that to himself, rather than join the four liberal justices to make a 5-to-3 decision overturning the injunction.
To sum up: Kavanaugh, like Thomas, is an apparatchik, and is being promoted by the conservative establishment not only to overturn Roe but also to reverse any liberal decisions made since the advent of the Warren Court. Brush it off if you will -- but check back in two years and see if I'm wrong. 

UPDATE. Cleaned up some typos, brainfarts and repetitions, including the original citation of my weekly newsletter price as seven dollars; that is actually the monthly price. Seven dollars a week is what I charge Soros and it comes with a backrub. Anyway, seven bucks a month for a minimum of 20 weeknightly issues is a bargain you won't get anywhere else, and the seventy dollar yearly price is a goddamn steal.

Oh also, speaking of supporters who don't reflect well on their subject, here's a peppy Twitter video from Susan B. Anthony List which basically tells members to work to get Kavanaugh in because he'll overturn Roe v. Wade. They're not confused about what he's been hired for -- and neither are the people in the media who pretend to be.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

FRENCH FRAUD.

David French is always awful but lately he's really been outdoing himself. First there was his article in The Atlantic (har) about how both the right and the left were giving him and his wife a hard time about the little black girl they picked up in Ethiopia. On the right, there was the kind of neo-Nazi viciousness that we've all come to expect from the conservative avant-garde -- racial slurs, gas chamber imagery, the works.

On the left? Under Obama the IRS audited people like French who took the adoption tax credit -- never mind that the IRS had legitimate fraud concerns with it (refundable tax credits are a particular risk, something conservatives like to point out when the refundable credit is, say, the Earned Income Tax Credit), and French apparently kept his deduction. But that's not all: French also heard what he perceived as unkind words from lefties -- not racial slurs, but scholarship! Kathryn Joyce wrote a "blistering attack on the evangelical adoption movement, claiming that the adoption industry was rife with corruption," which to those of us who've gotten a load of evangelicals lately is like, yeah that makes sense, but to French it just means more persecution: "We quickly discovered that if you’re the white parents of an adopted black child, and you’re in the public eye at all, men and women will viciously criticize you for having the audacity to believe that you can raise your kid."

Joyce has kicked French's ass pretty good on this, but no one will care, as French is taking his The Left Was Mean To My Little Black Child act on the road:


If you want to know what the hell BLM has to do with any of this, you too are being mean to his widdle girl.

Also, French has leapt onto the Impeach Pope Francis bandwagon. (He even demands that the Pope "cooperate fully with impartial investigators," at which anyone with even a glancing acquaintance with the history of the One Holy Catholic & Apostolic will LOL.) Rod Dreher has of late been devoting the full flow of his logorrhea to this cause, obviously because he perceives Francis as insufficiently gay-hating to lead the Church of which he was briefly a member; also I expect Dreher dreams of one day being named both Grand Patriarch of his current religion and Pope, in a sort of SCTV Man Who Would Be King Of The Popes scenario. As for French, his shtick is to compare Francis to Donald Trump. I shit you not:
If a person becomes more powerful, does his character matter less? Or more? Increasingly, it seems, the answer from partisans is resounding and unmistakeable.
It’s less. It’s so much less that it’s doubtful character matters at all. 
You think I’m talking about Donald Trump, don’t you?... 
For more than two years now, progressives have been screaming to conservatives that the truth matters. Character matters. You cannot — must not — turn a blind eye to real wrongdoing, even when the stakes seem high. In other words, after selling out to protect Bill Clinton in 1998...
Oh yeah. Francis is like Bill Clinton, too, because of liberal hypocrisy. (French even uses the line, "Is that the progressive Christian version of 'But Gorsuch'?")

The upshot is, one of the made men of the Church has accused Francis of shielding one of the big pedo Cardinals, and French and all the wingnuts are beating pots and pans for Francis' ouster. Because the big liberal units like the New York Times have not joined them in beating said pots and pans, they are pedo-Pope Francis' enablers ("They’ll even overlook sex abuse — until the cry of the victims is too great to be ignored").

Me, I left the Church long ago, and we who have free souls, it touches us not. Still I marvel that these non-Catholics are so exercised. The clergy were fucking altar boys 24/7 throughout the reigns of Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and back then wingnuts were content to mutter about This Fallen World etc.; now they demand to impeach the Pope. It reminds me that conservatives see everything as a means to their own power; hell, that's why Steve Bannon is waddling around Europe, trying to rev up every local Bund he can get to, and sweetening the deal for credulous reporters with dirt on celebrities. It's also why they oppose doing anything about climate change -- rather than admit any advantage to scientists (who, being intellectuals, they associate with cursed intellectuals and thus with cursed liberals), they'd rather see the Earth fry and rule the cinder. Well, humanity had a good run; I'm nearly out of the game, but leave my sympathies for your poor kids.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

IN NO POSITION TO MAKE DEMANDS.

Some social media companies have finally decided to tell Alex Jones to get stuffed and, wouldn't you know it, prominent conservatives are demanding a mistrial on the grounds of You Didn't Say Simon Says. National Review's David French, in the gaw-damn New York Times:
Apple said it “does not tolerate hate speech.” Facebook accused Mr. Jones of violating policies against “glorifying violence” or using “dehumanizing language..." 
These policies sound good on first reading, but they are extraordinarily vague. We live in times when the slightest deviation from the latest and ever-changing social justice style guide is deemed bigoted and, yes, “dehumanizing"...
French is speaking on behalf of his own buddies who get thrown off other people's internet property from time to time -- like Muslim-hating scream queen Pamela Geller and her Jihad Watch. French's defense of Pammycakes' hate-site: "It’s controversial, to be sure, but it is miles from The Daily Stormer." Oh well then.

Then French runs through the innamalectual dork web's greatest woe-is-me-I'm-a-victim hits ("Just ask Evergreen State College’s Bret Weinstein"), and, get this, tells Facebook et alia to use his own chosen standard when deciding whom to throw out:
The good news is that tech companies don’t have to rely on vague, malleable and hotly contested definitions of hate speech to deal with conspiracy theorists like Mr. Jones. The far better option would be to prohibit libel or slander on their platforms. 
To be sure, this would tie their hands more: Unlike “hate speech,” libel and slander have legal meanings. There is a long history of using libel and slander laws to protect especially private figures from false claims. It’s properly more difficult to use those laws to punish allegations directed at public figures, but even then there are limits on intentionally false factual claims.
This reminds me of a TV variety show sketch I saw as a kid, in which Paul Lynde and Martha Raye played show-biz types. "I'm only willing to do a nude scene," Raye said with her nose in the air, "if it has redeeming artistic qualities." After looking her up and down, Lynde replied, "Who asked ya?"

I mean, this is like if some asshole starts tearing up your house and, as you're pitching him out the door, he starts naming conditions under which he'd be willing to leave quietly. At that point you only hope that when you throw him off the stoop he lands on his head.

Douchebags like French, Glenn Reynolds ("This is absolutely the first stage in a coordinated plan to deplatform everyone on the right") and Ben Shapiro ("Suggest that Caitlyn Jenner is a man, and you might be violating crucial social-media 'hate speech' taboos") come swaggering up making demands like this because they're so accustomed to bullying cowards like the New York Times editorial board that they think, in any situation, all they have to do is yell YOU'RE DEPLATFORMING ME like Rudd yelling "Diplomatic immunity" in Lethal Weapon 2 and they'll get what they want. Guess what, guys: Revoked.


Friday, July 20, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I missed this when it came out in 2014. I heard it sucked. Not so!

• The Federalist having done its part for the "New York, with its record low crime rate and record high population, is collapsing thanks to libs" shtick, National Review sees and raises with Deroy Murdock's and Brett Joshpe's "De Blasio’s Dystopia" -- subtitled, LOL, "This is what a socialist New York looks like." Cue sinister 70s saxophone music! The one thing everyone I know back in the old town is bitching about is the state of the subway, but Murdock and Joshpe don't mention it -- their major concerns are ancient wingnut wouldn't-wanna-live-there tropes from the Lindsay era. For instance, homelessness -- not that the authors are concerned for the welfare of the unhoused, mind; they refer to temporary housing for these poor souls as "homeless-hotel staycations," har har. No, they're worried the bums "can be prone to violence," unlike domiciled criminals, who gently ask to mug you. Then, I swear to God, they complain that they (or somebody -- the authors do not identify a witness; maybe a cab driver told them about it) saw someone shooting up on the street. In broad daylight! I know Murdock's lived in New York a long time, so I assume he lost a bet. As for Joshpe, he appears to be a baby lawyer who doesn't get why his Ivy League education and condo deposit doesn't buy him a blight-free passage down these mean streets. Mamaroneck's calling, buddy!

• Also at National Review, David French has a thing about how Ben Shapiro is the victim of an "online mob" because a lot of people said they don't like him. Regular readers know this is par for the conservative-victimology course, but two things about it are noteworthy. For one thing, in the incident French is describing, the "online mob" yelled at a guy who promoted Shapiro, not Shapiro himself -- apparently conservatives can be Twitter-mobbed in absentia! But more interesting still is the way French kicks off this bad-faith-fest about how progressives are mean to him and his buddies:
I’ve got some questions for my progressive readers. When you think of Colin Kaepernick, do you define him by his quiet kneeling and many thoughtful interviews? Or do you define him by the socks he wore once, dehumanizing cops as pigs
When you think of writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, do you define him by his hundreds of thousands of eloquent and meticulously researched words? Or do you define him by his call for violence in Baltimore, or his dehumanizing statements about the heroic cops and firefighters who rushed into the World Trade Center on 9/11? 
Is Samantha Bee defined by the time she accused a cancer patient of having “Nazi hair”? Or when she used a vile epithet to describe Ivanka Trump?
The idea is supposed to be that, just as these alleged offenses should not limit our understanding of these liberal icons, so Ben Shapiro "is the sum total of his work. He is not the isolated hot take or tweet" and should not be judged solely by these gotchas. But wait -- all the stories French links to that beat up on Kaepernick, Coates, and Bee are from National Review -- and three of them are written by French. And they're all ridiculous cavils -- like Kaepernick's pig socks -- that led to wingnut shit-fits online. Where's the National Review story -- or even brief blogpost -- by French telling us we shouldn't judge these liberals by these isolated incidents?

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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I'M A NAZI, BABY, SO WHY DON'T YOU KILL ME.

I see that, since the world is showing its disapproval of Trump's brown-baby-stealing racket and conservatives' initial belligerent and hella dumb responses haven't been turning the tide, the new rightwing comeback is, oooh so you think this is Nazi stuff huh, well then why don't you go all White Rose and get executed to prove it?

No seriously -- look at this guy from the Daily Wire:


I would tell him, #1, there are plenty of Holocaust survivors saying, actually, this is how it started for them, too; and #2, we are doing everything in our power, and in proportionate measure -- for example, the ACLU is fighting the Republicans' attempts to steal the next election. We aren't at the direct-action stage and I hope we never are, but if we do get there, buddy, you better hope nobody remembers who you are.

More low-key but on the same tip is David French at National Review:
If the family-separation policy is so toxic that it leads serious people to tweet images of concentration camps and reduces a television host to tears, shouldn’t you respond to the emergency by tying the president’s hands?
Don't get excited -- he only means figuratively tying them, by... agreeing to the Republican plan, which basically puts the families in jail together (and the President's version puts them in jail together forever). But at least they're not separated -- French actually says "we ought to at least agree that families should stay together, right?" -- so he figures if we won't go for that, we must not think it's so bad then, and we might as well admit it's no big deal

Common sense tells me that the only people who would be fooled by this kind of obvious bullshit are people who want to be fooled. I still make that as less than a majority, and getting lesser all the time.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

NO RACIST, NO RACIST, YOU'RE THE REAL RACIST!

How far has National Review come since its days as an explicitly segregationist magazine? Well, they have no fewer than three columns on Starbucks' admirable decision to hold a day of diversity training in response to a well-publicized racist incident in one of its stores. Want to guess how they feel about it? Here's David French:
There is near-universal consensus that the Starbucks employee’s actions were racially motivated. Starbucks apparently agrees, and given that the company knows more about its employees than I do, I’m not going to question its conclusion.
Sounds pretty sulky, doesn't he? Can't blame him -- everyone's bought into this racism-exists madness, even the big corporation -- and they're supposed to be on his side! French is pissed that Starbucks is "forcing more than 175,000 employees to undergo 'racial bias' training" (yeah, I bet those baristas are real upset they have to sit on their ass and get trained for a day) but especially that their training will address "so-called unconscious bias," which French calls "Orwellian junk science." Imagine -- thinking people might be prejudiced without even knowing it! Next you'll be telling him about all that stuff the eggheads say we do without knowing about it, like Freudian shits.
Starbucks is a private company and as such it has a right to make this mistake. It can shutter its stores for a day and re-educate its employees. But to the extent it’s teaching them about unconscious bias, it’s teaching nonsense, and when it comes to the fraught issue of American race relations, nonsense always inflicts a measure of harm.
French doesn't explain, but from his previous writings I guess he means if you try to make people less racist, they just naturally get more bigoted and vote for Trump, so you see it's really your fault for hassling them, you Orwellian junk scientists.

Let's see what NR's Kyle Smith has to say:
At a glance, what happened at that Philadelphia coffee shop last Thursday looks like racism. But there’s little context. Does the manager also routinely call the police on white people who loiter in the shop? If a white manager called the police on two white guys hanging around a coffee shop, it wouldn’t make the news, much less become a national obsession.
This guys are really suspicious about the incident that everyone involved agrees happened. Maybe Starbucks and the liberals are in cahoots to make people think racism exists!
The incident is making people unhinged. When the “racism” circuits in our brain get activated, we stop thinking clearly. We go out looking for someone to chastise, and one low-level staffer isn’t enough. We want a larger target suited to the strength of the frenzy. It affects our judgment the way being drunk does. This is your brain. This is your brain on race.
And you sheeple thought racism was bad! Nothing's as bad as anti-racism, except maybe drinking.

Now, Jim Geraghty:
I suspect you can trace the country’s unexpected path to this mindset on racial controversies by following the twists and turns in the career of Al Sharpton.
Shorter version: This Starbucks thing reminds me of some famous black guy I don't like.

Not content with this trifecta, National Review has chosen also to run this:
Enoch Powell’s Immigration Speech, 50 Years Later
I shit you not -- they do indeed mean the "Rivers of Blood" speech, which I believe was last celebrated in NR's pages by John Derbyshire, not long thereafter defenestrated for Making It Too Obvious. If you're guessing this new review is less obvious but highly sympathetic, collect your prize at the door. There are some mealy-mouthed qualifiers, but nothing the typical NR reader can't see through -- when author Douglas Murray says "some portions of [the speech] cannot but induce an intake of breath and a considerable wince or gulp" -- referring to the more overtly ooga-booga passages about "pickaninnies" and so forth -- you know conservatives for whom "politically incorrect" is the highest possible accolade will take it as a recommendation (and so, I assume, does Murray). And anyway, says Murray, none of these PC drags talk about the good parts -- why, "some of the questions [Powell] addressed are questions that understandably gnaw away at us still" -- f'rinstance:
...some of the issues he raised — however well or poorly — remain so pregnant. 
As I wrote in my latest book, imagine you had been a speechwriter for Enoch Powell in 1968, or an adviser or friend. And imagine if you had said to him then, “I have an idea, Enoch. Why not use your speech to say that if immigration into the U.K. goes on at these rates, then in 2011 the official census will reveal that people who identify as ‘white British’ will be a minority in their capital city of London.” Had this been said, Powell would most likely have dismissed the person as an inflammatory madman. Yet that was indeed one of the things that the 2011 census showed. And the news came and went as though it was just another detail on just another day.
London's full of sooties and wogs; the man was a prophet! Ahem, I mean "questions remain."

Welp, looks like National Review's capitulation to Trumpism and its corollary -- that conservatives can be elected with zero support from black people, so why even bother -- is complete. But then, they never really had that far to go.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

KEVIN, WE HARDLY KNEW YE.

In my most recent Voice column I mentioned the beef over Kevin D. Williamson, would-be executioner of abortion ladies who was recently hired by The Atlantic. Well, it looks like EIC Jefrey Goldberg changed his mind about that:
Williamson’s hiring last month had already drawn scrutiny over past tweets in which he stated that “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide” and “I have hanging more in mind” for a punishment. Those tweets have since been deleted. 
"The language he used in this podcast — and in my conversations with him in recent days — made it clear that the original tweet did, in fact, represent his carefully considered views,” Goldberg wrote in the memo. 
"The tweet was not merely an impulsive, decontextualized, heat-of-the-moment post, as Kevin had explained it. Furthermore, the language used in the podcast was callous and violent. This runs contrary to The Atlantic’s tradition of respectful, well-reasoned debate, and to the values of our workplace."
To which all I can say is: LOL. There's no way Goldberg didn't know Williamson meant what he said. If it were such a deal-breaker for him, he might have suggested Williamson start his Atlantic tenure with a column explaining why he didn't really believe it. (Instead Williamson wrote about how Trumpkin Republicans were betraying the conservative movement and -- lest anyone think he was sucking up too much -- how Democrats are just as much an "authoritarian populist" party because they want to "sue or jail people for their views on climate change," which you may remember was a key part of Conor Lamb's and Doug Jones' winning campaigns ha I'm kidding Williamson's full of shit.)

Instead, Goldberg would have us believe Williamson misled him, and the scales fell from his eyes only when a piece of corroborating evidence (inevitably) appeared. If this is really what happened, that would mean Goldberg found all the other nonsense Williamson has published acceptable, but his belief that abortion is murder -- a belief shared by many good, solid American morons -- and that women should be punished for it -- a belief once held, or pretended to be held, by the current President of the United States, if briefly -- beyond the pale.

No doubt as I write this rightwing world is exploding with charges of liberal fascism, but if anyone is protected by Goldberg's curious selectiveness, it's not pro-choice people -- it's anti-abortion people who are, as they were when Trump relented, insulated from the logical conclusion of their beliefs by this anathema. They're just morally serious people who think abortion is the kind of murder for which only accessories should be punished!

Goldberg said he was hiring Williamson because he considered him "an excellent reporter who covers parts of the country, and aspects of American life, that we don’t yet cover comprehensively," which lol wut -- I don't recall any newhounds saying, "say, that caped fellow really made me understand the plight of landlords who evict their tenants." I rather think Goldberg hired Williamson because he's a bomb-thrower and thereby bound to draw clicks -- hate-clicks, perhaps, but clicks nonetheless -- but found to his chagrin that the first bomb went off in his own offices.

As it happens, The Atlantic is the only party that does not see an upside here. People who wanted Williamson gone are celebrating. Williamson should be celebrating, too -- he's probably getting several months' pay, at least, for a single column, not to mention an enormous publicity boost which he can take anywhere else -- maybe to Fox, where he can host horror movies as the new Zacherle. And conservatives have a brand new reason to throw a shit-fit about how private businesses that choose not to work with them are practicing censorship. It's win-whine!

UPDATE. David French, who, like many of the wingnut outrage squadron, was unwilling to mention the specific insane idea Williamson was getting flak for last week, still can't, but alludes to it in -- well, feast your eyes:
Kevin is independent. He’s provocative. Sure, he can troll a little bit, and — no — I don’t agree with everything he says. I’m a moderate, you see. If abortion is ever criminalized in this nation, I think only the abortionist (and not the mother) should face murder charges for poisoning, crushing, or dismembering a living child. So we might differ about the laws in hypothetical-future-America.
He's a moderate, you see, and that's why only the doctor is the BABY KILLER RRRARAGH whom we will STONE MASH KILL JESUS ARRGH and the mother, poor benighted soul, will just live in the Handmaid's Tale hellscape we thus create for her.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

HOW DARE YOU PHILISTINES OBJECT TO MY MURDEROUS RAGE.

Last week I made my feelings known about Kevin D. Williamson, the latest wingnut hire in the not-exclusively-wingnut press, and so did lot of other liberals who were surprised (as I was not) that The Atlantic would hire a guy who said, in so many words, that women who have abortions should be executed.

Now I see conservatives are extremely butthurt that anyone would speak harshly of Williamson -- which, given Williamson's own viciousness, is pretty rich right off the bat. But the defenses -- oy. Get a load of Bill Kristol, an unrepentant Iraq Warmonger sometimes unaccountably celebrated by liberals for being anti-Trump:


I can't guess what he means by "reality-based," unless Kristol accepts as empirical truth that women who have abortions should be killed, or that in our rich land it's morally acceptable that white working class people must either move hundreds of miles to find subsistence-wage jobs like the Joad family or die, or that the Republican Party remains black Americans' best friends and the only reason they don't accept that is because they're stupid. And I wouldn't put it past him! As for "indomitable," I assume he means Williamson can't be moved off his ridiculous ideas for anything -- but why should he? He's one of the more successful professional assholes of our time.

But the weirdest thing is the reference to the "philistine progressive mob."  First, some mob -- they couldn't keep the New York Times from employing David Brooks, Bret Stephens, and Ross Douthat, nor the Washington Post from hiring Megan McArdle,  nor Williamson from joining a masthead once occupied by James Russell Lowell. Also, I don't know what he finds "philistine" about them, given that, compared to the advocates of welfare, universal healthcare, and public education, the epithet more closely fits Williamson; maybe Kristol is even dumber than I thought, and thinks Williamson's frequent forays in Roget's Thesaurus mean he's an intellectual.

But wait, there's more -- h/t @Trillburne for this:


And:


Nobody knows the trouble they've seen! And Reason's Cathy Young actually posted something called "The Kevin Williamson Two-Minute Hate," as if he were being driven from The Atlantic instead of publicized for joining it. Young criticized people who accurately reported Williamson's abortion comment as "outrage mobs"; then she offered this defense of Williamson:
About those “hang women who have abortions” tweets: I’m reasonably certain this was not a statement of Williamson’s actual views, especially since he has expressed qualms about the death penalty in general. 
How could someone possibly be hypocritical by being pro-life yet wanting to kill pro-choice adults?
Williamson is no Milo Yiannopoulos, but he can be a provocateur. 
What's especially funny about this is, Young was a big fan of Milo before things got too hot for her.
Assuming that he was trolling, it was definitely not one of his best moments... 
This, not to put too fine a point on it, is bullshit; Williamson doubled down on his statement when pressed. But at least it isn't as weak as when Young tweeted that what Williamson said wasn't so bad because he was only endorsing the execution of future abortion-having women, not women who'd had them in the past. 

Meanwhile at National Review David French does a whole argle-bargle-you-are-persecuting-this-fine-man shtick without once mentioning what Williamson said about women who had abortions -- he just says liberals persecute Williamson because he "holds a lot of bad opinions — opinions about abortion," but doesn't articulate the one homicidal opinion that people are complaining about, probably because moderates and bothsiders anxious to believe Buckleyite conservatives are just their brothers from another mother, and even some conservatives, might be dismayed to see it and have to pretend they hadn't when Williamson's column finally launches with, in the spirit of comity, a call to kill both women who have abortions and women who use cell phones in theaters. Look, he's meeting you halfway! Sheesh, you guys are such a mob.

It's very interesting that conservatives who would not themselves publicly call for the executions Williamson favors -- because that's a little too hot for the early-show crowd, I guess -- cheer on Williamson for doing so. It perfectly fits the Age of Trump, in which credentialed conservatives roll their eyes when the brute does something gauche, but cluck over their good fortune when he stuffs a reliable anti-Roe vote onto the Supreme Court and rub their hands at the probability that he'll give them the Iran invasion they've been dreaming about -- sure, he'll only do it to save his own electoral skin, but who cares so long as they get the conflagration and the contracts that go with? Williamson rolls his eyes at Trump, as well, but in his own way he too is a berserker, and his followers excitedly anticipate the creative destruction he may wreak on their behalf. And if anyone has the gall to say out loud how ridiculous this all is, they'll flop to the soccer pitch holding their dignity and scream that they've been fouled.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

WATERING THE TREE OF LUNACY WITH THE BLOOD OF CHILDREN, PART INFINITY.

Another day, another bunch of dead kids, and Republicans reliably rush to aid and comfort the NRA. At National Review we have yet to hear Charles C.W. Cooke's traditional post-slaughter sermon about how you cahn't ban assault weapons, it's in the cawn-stuh-tyu-shun, but we have had proposed alternative solutions from other staffers such as David French:
Rather than tweet impotently, I’ve armed myself to protect my family and my neighbors; in my past role as a member of a school board, I’ve worked to better secure my kids’ school; and I’ve vowed that if — God forbid — I ever see evidence or warning signs of the darkness of a killer’s heart, I’ll have the courage to seek the intervention that can save lives.
That is to say: He bought more guns, and fantasized about what he'd do if he ever saw someone suspicious. That's usually the beginning of a success story, alright.

French's colleague Robert VerBruggen has a simpler solution: "Arm Teachers." I don't recall him suggesting that we arm preachers after the church shoot-em-up in Sutherland Springs last November, but maybe his condition has only recently advanced to this stage. VerBruggen elaborates:
[Training is] something a teacher could easily accomplish during summer vacation, even if schools insisted on rigorous training.
And why would they? Clearly any gun-wielding amateur marksman will be able to quickly take out a heavily armed mass murderer, and avoid shooting the wrong people or themselves in a panic -- they must be superhuman or else why would we pay them so generously?

If this sounds more like a recipe for Roddy McDowall in Class of 1984 than a sane society, remember that a sane society is the opposite of what they want: This is why they were so enraged to see New York City's crime drop after years of strict gun control, and why they're so eager to inject guns into polities that have benefited from their exclusion -- they want to make every part of America as hair-trigger gun-crazy as Fritters, Alabama, because that's how you breed Republicans.

UPDATE. Regarding French's I'll-know-one-when-I-see-one, Patrick Blanchfield makes a good point:


I wonder who David French and guys like him are likely to pre-cognize as a poison-hearted potential killer?

Thursday, February 08, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



It's nice to find a newish band you kinda like

•   Last week Megan McArdle shared with the world her 12-point secret to happiness which somehow did not contain "get paid a lot to write terrible shit." Most of it was about being nice to people -- not peons, just those near and dear, and perhaps donors -- and one item was "save 25 percent of your income," which led to her being smacked around by people who understood that saving 25 percent of one's income may be easy for her, but hard for low earners who did not, as McArdle did, come from moneyed professionals. This led to a McArdle Twitter tirade about how she had to eat ramen for a while and how the left was mean to her. Later she wrote about how rent control would be very bad for rents, as if rents could get any goddamn worse. All this reminded me, not only of how terrible McArdle is, but how fucked out conservatism is in general -- that is, that sliver of conservatism not devoted to Trumpian nationalism, the kind that six-figure columnists have to push. Increasingly our citizens are taking a second look at socialism, rent control, single payer etc. because uncontrolled Reagan-style capitalism has obviously fucked us over, and all its handmaidens like McArdle can do is groan NOOOOO DOOON'T IT WILL BE VENEZUELLLAAA with a flashlight under their chins and talk bootstrap penny-saved-is-a-penny-earned gush. What market is there for that, besides New York Times managing editors? At least the full-on Trumpkins offer the pleasure of unreasoning hate. Yet still they heap money on her and I'm wearing a cardboard belt! Sigh, I am too childish-foolish for this world.

•   Further proof that conservatism is fucked out: Not one but two idiotic National Review columns on how it's great to pray to Jesus for your football team to win. "Yes, God Cares about Football" by -- who else? -- David French is excruciating; French starts by basically admitting that there's no reason to talk about this -- there's been no recent backlash against God-bothering footballers for him to defend against ("Perhaps event militant atheists were grateful to see the Patriots lose") -- but he figures he'll go ahead and homilize anyway, and oh how I'd like to know what great preachers like John Donne would make of this:
Moreover, there’s something specific about football — distinct from other sports — that can concentrate a person’s faith. Yes, football is more religious in part because of its southern strongholds (the South is more religious). Yes, football is more religious in part because it’s disproportionately black (African Americans are more religious). But I’d also posit that something else is in play: keen awareness of human fragility...
So football is God's Favorite Sport, as opposed to basketball -- which, French has previously told us, is too "clustered in progressive urban centers" (pushes in nose, pushes out lower lip and tongue) for His taste. What could be worse? Well, French actually inspired colleague Nicholas Frankovich to chime in, and Frankovich manages to work in the paranoia French was too embarrassed to affect:
The question [Is it appropriate to pray for victory in sports?] embarrasses believers who are anxious to be taken seriously in public and goes to the heart of why they feel that anxiety to begin with. In theory, they still enjoy freedom of religion in the public square, but the social reality is that what they enjoy is the freedom to worship in private. Under the law, they are free to speak as if those parts of their religion that clash with materialism were true, but they risk some loss of social stature and credibility among peers when they exercise that right. Their problem in this regard is not legal or political. It’s social, cultural, and intellectual...
The "freedom to worship in private" bit is actually related to a fundamentalist trope about how Godless liberals are trying to trick believers into being grateful they can go to the church of their choice when real freedom means raving and snake-handling in public. Only, in this case, the allegedly proscribed conduct is praying for Jesus to cover the spread. Man, why do these Christians even stay in this country if they don't like it here?

• I don't commend our comments section enough, so I will do so now, with special attention to commenter keta's own version of McArdle's 12 Steps. Sample: "If you're going to praise someone, lay it on thick. Nobody ever died thinking, 'geez, I wish I hadn't been such an obnoxious phony suck-up without an ounce of integrity in my entire being.' Get that nose up in there." But really, they're all winners.

• Aha, this again: "San Francisco Bay Area Experiences Mass Exodus Of Residents," reports a local CBS News outlet. The proof points are a study from the kind of think tank that has David Brooks do their keynote address; some lady from San Jose who's moving to Tennessee to escape SJ's "sanctuary city status"; and "Operators of a San Jose U-Haul business" who "say one of their biggest problems is getting its rental moving vans back because so many are on a one-way ticket out of town." This of course is being repeated credulously by wingnuts ("IT’S OFFICIAL: There’s a mass exodus happening in San Francisco"). But I've seen this sort of "Har everyone's leaving the blue cities" yak before -- sometimes even with moving company stats!-- yet San Francisco is still growing, as are other big cities, because nobody wants to live out in Bumfuck if they can help it. Part of the Trump strategy is to make sure fewer Americans can help it, of course, and also to strip wealth from the cities and make them less attractive, because keeping people stuck out in the great land of meth and assault weapons helps turn them angry and crazy enough to vote Republican. But that could take years to move the needle if it happens at all. Meantime they can just go on telling themselves that cities are expensive and crowded because no one wants to live in them -- which contradicts their alleged economic beliefs but, as we just saw with the budget bill, they don't really believe that shit anyway.

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.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

HOW THEY LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (TO SPITE THE LIBS)

Something weird I noticed: since that nerve-wracking Hawaii alert last weekend -- which brought back for this old duck-and-cover kid some old-fashioned end-of-the-world dread for which, it turns out, I was not really nostalgic -- conservatives have been talking about nuclear war as if it wouldn't be such a big deal.

“If a Missile Alert Sounds,” headlined David French of National Review, “Prepare to Live.” Hmm, I thought when I first saw that, some people are so jaded they need apocalypse porn to get excited; but it turns out French wants to convince readers that, despite what the nervous nellies say, they could happily survive a hail of H-bombs.
Prepare to live. As tempting as it may be, don’t spend the precious minutes between missile alert and missile impact texting family, sending tearful goodbyes on Snapchat, or attempting to reconcile old grudges. Don’t do it.
Your family will respect you more, knowing that in the final hours you didn't go all wobbly and tell them you loved them.
First, you have to understand that the odds are overwhelming that you’ll survive an initial blast. Nuclear weapons are devastating, but it’s a Hollywood myth that any individual strike will vaporize an entire American city, much less the suburbs and countryside…
Hollywood always exaggerates these things. For instance, they never show you the parts of Hiroshima that were open for business the next day.
Second, you also need to understand that you have far more control over your survival than you might think. Time and isolation are your friends…
No shock a conservative would argue for time and isolation — if living 80 lonely years in Gopher Hole, North Dakota makes you a loyal Republican in good standing, then being a nuclear attack survivor should make you a precinct captain!
Yesterday’s warning presents an opportunity to take stock. Do you have an emergency plan? Do you have a basic stock of emergency supplies? Do you know exactly where you’d go in your house? Have you gone to websites like ready.gov to understand the basics? There’s nothing weird or strange about being a basic “prepper.”
So stock up on Jim “Brother Love” Bakker’s Survival Chow!  And stock up on guns, ammo, crossbows, machetes (we calls ‘em “Mega-Bowies” so they sound less Messican), and quarterstaffs to fend off interlopers in your post-apocalyptic paradise! Remember, time and isolation are your friends.

French’s colleague Michael Brendan Dougherty chimes in: “a single, nuclear device exploding in a nearby city does not necessarily doom you and your loved ones to death.” He encourages readers to have “a little unpleasant discussion around the dinner table” with their families to prepare. Most memorable line: “If you ever received such a text warning, would you fill your bathtub with water, or with your family members?” Well, after they've been incinerated I guess your bathtub could accommodate quite a lot of them.

And Austin Bay — remember him? — complains that “the Clinton Administration slowed anti-ballistic missile development because hard left Democrats disdained Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative”; boy, some grudges really die hard. But his initial complaint is even weirder:
When told by government authorities that an attack was underway, Hawaiian residents felt vulnerable, even those who know the U.S. Navy deploys AEGIS ballistic missile defense warships in the area. Still, Hawaii's current missile defenses are quite thin, so many people panicked. 
Yeah, that’s why announcing a nuclear attack made them panic — they’d all been thumbing through Jane’s just the day before and had doubts about our missile defense system.

It's easy enough to conclude that they know a nuclear tantrum is a Trump possibility, and want to prep their people to roar approval rather than scream in terror when the mushroom clouds sprout. But as always I lean toward the psychological, and assume it's another form of culture war: Since back in the Cold War days liberals made all those movies about how bad nuclear war would be, for conservatives it stands to reason that nuclear war must actually be good. All it needs is the right publicity!

Friday, January 12, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



For obvious reasons.

•   You want to know why they're hopeless? At National Review David French is upset because America has seen its life expectancy decline yet again. The Washington Post reports:
The data a year ago set off alarms when they showed that in 2015 the United States experienced its first decline in life expectancy since that 1993 dip. Experts pointed then to the “diseases of despair” — drug overdoses, suicides and alcoholism — as well as small increases in deaths from heart disease, strokes and diabetes. 
The 2016 data shows that just three major causes of death are responsible: unintentional injuries, Alzheimer’s disease and suicides, with the bulk of the difference attributable to the 63,632 people who died of overdoses. That total was an increase of more than 11,000 over the 52,404 who died of the same cause in 2015.
Many of those "unintentional injuries" are drug overdoes. Now, you and I might look at this and think: Let's work harder on a cure for Alzheimer's, and on getting people more care for all those other diseases; above all let's make a society where everyone feels like valuable and cared for instead of just suckers whose only value is as prey in a vicious, winner-take-all society, because that's the kind of society from which people are inclined to seek an early exit. But French looks at this and thinks:
Government and the media are simply not up to the task. Think, for example, of the intensity of last month’s debate over the size of the child tax credit in the Republican tax bill. I shared the disappointment of a number of conservatives that the tax benefits for families weren’t larger, but I was under no illusion that even hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks would make a material difference in family outcomes. Yes, people respond to incentives, and positive tax changes help more than they hurt, but no reasonable person thinks that any single policy or series of policies in Washington will put the fractured family back together again.
French is a evangelical Christian (although -- and you'll love this -- he's talked about renouncing the term because his fellow holy rollers have gotten so depraved they're making him look bad). So it's a cinch that when he says government can't do anything for the vulnerable -- even though, in terms of child care policy, government has been effectively doing plenty for millions of children -- he expects Jesus to fill the gap, possibly through the reintroduction of the faith-based grifts of yore. In other words: pie in the sky and pass the collection plate. So I'm telling you: If you want a more just society, you can't just freeze out the obvious Trumpian crooks, you also have to get rid of the God-botherers who would tell you helping is futile and that the Lord will provide. In fact maybe get rid of them first.