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

Monday, July 26, 2021


 I’m releasing today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, about how the polio vaccine rollout may have gone down if anti-vaxxers back then were like anti-vaxxers now (i.e., weaponized and in significant positions of power). Some things didn’t need much changing – Eisenhower’s HEW Secretary Ovetta Culp Hobby didn’t like socialized medicine nohow:  

Mrs. Oveta Culp Hobby branded a Democratic plan for free poliomyelitis vaccine to all children today as a possible "back-door" approach to socialized medicine…

Mrs. Hobby appeared at a noisy session of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee. Republicans accused the Democrats of trying to make a “political football” of the polio vaccination program. Democrats replied the Administration was foisting the “evil” of a means test on children before they could get the vaccine…

Senator Barry Goldwater, Republican of Arizona, questioned Mrs. Hobby on whether the adoption of the Democratic bill would mean a demand for federal participation in other public-health programs.

“I’m sure there would be a demand for it,” she said.

“Is there any other term for that than socialized medicine?” he asked. 

Mrs. Hobby paused. She said she wanted to form a careful answer. Finally, she replied: “That’s socialized medicine through the back door, not the front door.”

This is a reminder that the seeds of modern Republican lunacy were planted long ago. But circumstances do change: Now that red states are glowing with new COVID infections, Republicans are suddenly shifting from vaccine skepticism to vaccine boosterism, and propagandists are trying retro-spin – see Jim Geraghty at National Review: “America’s cities include a lot of unvaccinated Americans, and, defying the popular perception about the unvaccinated, the odds are good that most of those unvaccinated urbanites are Democrats…” You watch; in a few weeks they’ll be asking why Biden didn’t make vaccinations mandatory. 

Thursday, July 01, 2021


Jim Geraghty is a pretty down-the-middle rightwing propagandist, the unflashy kind of guy that will never get a Fox News or Sinclair spotlight but has done the devil’s work reliably enough to hold his position for decades. But sometimes someone like Geraghty, even more than obvious nutcakes like Rod Dreher and high-profile marquee grifters like Peggy Noonan, will, in the course of his normally tedious work of justifying whatever absurd and inhumane theme the conservative movement has latched onto at any given moment, get creative – perhaps out of boredom, or because he knows he’s good at his job and wants to show off by going the extra mile. Those episodes can be especially revealing. 

The MacGuffin in this case is the evergreen rightwing sentiment that the Media Is Always To Blame – indeed the title of Geraghty's latest is “The Media’s Warped Incentive Program.” There is something to the premise, borrowed from a strenuously bothsidery Jamie Kirchick piece at Tablet (which, among other weird stretches, blames Al Sharpton’s 2004 Democratic Presidential run for Trump, notwithstanding that Democrats failed to give Sharpton a single primary win), that the media rewards freakish figures like Trump “as if he were the ‘heel’ in a professional wrestling match” because it inflates their readerships (which, I would note, have dwindled in the Biden era, which suggests that Kirchick’s claim to a liberal equivalency in hysteria is itself inflated).

Geraghty gobbles this up, and goes further: another problem with the political media circus, he says, is it distracts from the menace of ordinary, successful government operations. “The work of government is often boring,” he says, not to mention Byzantine – “the Federal Register churns out pages of new regulations in incomprehensible bureaucratese every day.” And people are missing it because it isn’t sexy:

Boring does not attract attention or scrutiny. Appropriations bills are long and stuffed with all kinds of dubious expenditures because very few people read them. The vast majority of presidential executive orders are ignored by the public, as are almost all of the reports from the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Research service, the Defense Department, U.S. State Department, and the various federal inspectors general. Our government generates nearly endless documentation and yet so little accountability.

The more boring something seems to be, the more likely it is that someone is trying to sneak something past you without you noticing.

First, journalists actually do report on the doings of these departments, which are not for the most part opaque (though some have to be aggressively FOIA’d) – here’s a Bloomberg Law story from today, “Visa Backlog at State Department Hinders Biden’s Immigration Goals.” And in fact trade publications, some of which I've done work for, read and analyze federal regs all the time. 

Second, what’s stopping Geraghty and National Review? I realize rightwing media outlets always exempt themselves from their constant media complaints, but obviously these guys have the same wherewithal as any other news org. Yet National Review is much more prone to run stories like (from the current front page) “Wisconsin’s Governor Puts the Public-School Monopoly before Families” and “The Absurdly Misleading Attacks on Anti-CRT Rules" than to investigate federal agencies (unless of course those agencies are helping black people and operatives do the legwork for them).

But the real howler comes next: After warming up the crowd with some obligatory false equivalence between “Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert” and “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Squad,” Gergahty gets to Jim Walsh, the Washington Republican state rep who went around wearing a yellow Star of David as a protest against vaccine mandates. (“Walsh wrote in [a Facebook] comments section that, ‘[I]t's an echo from history. In the current context, we're all Jews.’”) This is similar to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s COVID-laws-are-The-Holocaust shtick, and like Greene, Walsh has apologized. (One expects the apology has become part of the shtick, to be taken by the punters as something the Deep State forced them to do.)

Here’s what Geraghty thinks about Walsh’s stunt:

We can scoff at Walsh, and we should. But keep in mind, if Walsh had just done his job and stood up for his beliefs in an impassioned and articulate manner and didn’t make ludicrously insane Holocaust comparisons, you and I would never have heard of him. Doing his job the way he’s supposed to do it doesn’t get him any attention. Competence and common sense are rewarded with obscurity and yawns. The social-media and mass-media worlds have created all of the incentives to act like a maniac. This doesn’t make Walsh right. But it does help explain why it seems like you’re always hearing about insane obscure lawmakers.

In other words, Walsh had a "common sense" point – sensible public health measures are fascist – but he was forced to act like a nut, not because he is a nut, but because no one would pay attention to him unless he acted like a nut. And it’s all the media’s fault. 

Now that it looks like we’re getting that House January 6 commission, I look forward to Geraghty’s “An attempted murder of Mike Pence is the voice of the unheard” column. 

Thursday, June 03, 2021


So -- your hero totally fucked up a pandemic, telling people to take unauthorized treatments and maybe try "disinfectant," and massively lost reelection, and his successor is dishing out the vaccine at a good clip and scoring higher approval ratings than Tubby could ever dream of. 

What do you do? Relitigate on your own terms, pasting a story together from shards of news and your own bitter resentments. 

The COVID "lab leak" theory's a good bet -- it dovetails with the China Menace theme of contemporary conservatism, and there's a great new Vanity Fair article suggesting that authorities were not as thorough in exploring the possibility that COVID-19 spring from a Chinese lab rather than bats as they should have been (in part, reporter Katerhine Eban suggests, because Trump's "crackpots or political hacks hoping to wield COVID-19 as a cudgel against China" made the truth harder to pursue).

The Biden Administration is investigating, but if you're rightwing you know that's just part of the liberal cover-up. So, as Bannon bade, you flood the zone with shit. Jim Geraghty at National Review is on the case, declaring the Vanity Fair story is "evidence that the seemingly hyperbolic conspiracy theories" -- that is, the kind Eban mentioned as an impediment to the search for truth in her article --  "are true." They investigate, we instigate!

Thence follows a round of "You Liberals are the Real [Fill In The Blank]" -- in this case, your vaunted Democratic "follow-the-science" approach is all a lie, and our unconfirmed suspicions prove it! William McGurn at the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Biden has made many such statements (“we are letting science speak again”), but they have little to do with science. They are meant as continued digs at Mr. Trump. All are offered with a confidence, apparently fully justified, that a largely pliant press will run with them, no hard questions asked, unless you count asking the president about the flavor of his ice cream.

Ha ha, you reporters are all propagandists -- whom we're now quoting to prove the Chinese shot us with bug-bombs. (The Liberal Media gets a magic pass from customary conservative contempt the second it intersects with their talking points.)

R ightwing shitposters pick up the message -- the story means the Lab Leak (which I remind you is being investigated, not settled) is proven, and any explanation other than that is a fraud, just like climate change.  Thus your average Republican gets the message: China attacked Trump and America with the Wuhan Flu Bioweapon and the lying MSM (which, as is always the case, has actually provided such evidence as exists) refused to tell us until it was too late.

Also, what about that Fauci, who refused to kiss Tubby's ass and now works for Biden? Thousands of pages of Fauci's COVID-era emails have been published, and contain "at least one alert from a genomic researcher" suggesting “'some of the features look (potentially) engineered,'" says the New York Post, which the Murdoch paper says is "all the more reason for US to get to bottom of COVID origins":

For a year, we’ve been told to “trust the science” — but Fauci, our leading scientist, made declarations that certain theories were “debunked” when they weren’t. Why did he back up Daszak’s self-serving dismissal of the lab theory with no real evidence — when, in fact, he was getting e-mail evidence to the contrary? 

These revelations don’t ease the growing concern that US taxpayer cash might have helped unleash this plague.

Growing unease? Who gives a shit? Like most sane people, I'm much more uneasy about the slow rate of COVID vaccinations in red states (though the tendency of Republican governments to keep their subjects poor and unable to travel may mitigate their effect on the rest of us somewhat). But in wingnut world, a nod's as good as a wink, and the few mentions of possible virus weaponization among the emails to Fauci are now being portrayed as his active cover-up of the Wuhan Flu Bioweapon, inspiring some Q-flavored lunacy in a rash of #FauciLiedPeopleDied Twitter posts, including some calling for the good doctor to be executed

And so the alt-reality in which conservatives live is further developed: The election was stolen by Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters – with the help of the Red Chinese and Anthony Fauci -- so Biden could queer Mr. Potato Head and cancelculture all white people. Not my idea of paradise -- more like my idea of a madhouse, to be honest -- but apparently a third of the nation finds it cozy, and therein dwell dreaming of revenge, perhaps with another march up Capitol Hill. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


You may have noticed that, after the the latest gun massacre in newly-assault-weapon-friendly Boulder,  conservatives held to their usual thoughts-and-prayers let's-ride-this-out quietude until they heard reports that the shooter is Muslim, at which point their glee became explosive. Rightwing operative Caleb Hull did a long thread on liberals who presumed, based on the cops taking him alive, that the shooter was white -- haw haw libtards, who's the mass-murder racist now? "The Left Politicized and Racialized the Boulder Shooting, Now Its Racism Is Exposed," gurgled Brandon Morse at RedState; "TWITTER LETS VERIFIED LEFTISTS SPREAD MISINFORMATION ABOUT ‘WHITE MAN’ COMMITTING CO SHOOTING" hollered Breitbart, etc.

This brings up one of the more toxic aspects of modern American conservatism that should be self-evident but apparently needs pointing out: They see racism not as a social problem but as a zero-sum game -- that is, they think if they can just pile up enough points for whiteness, they win. That's why you see so many rightwing essays about the need to defend "Dead White Males" from their imagined assault by liberals ("'White conservative/reactionary crowd'? W.E.B. Du Bois would take exception," lol), and racists both small- and big-time portraying their aim as a defense of "Western Civilization." And why, for all their blubbering over "cancel culture," they approve of laws banning the teaching of critical race theory. They identify whiteness with everything good and vice-versa; when, as with many if not most modern American mass murders, the targeting of out-groups is obvious, they either clam up or (as with Atlanta) try to muddle the issue, not out of shame so much as out of a desire to keep the non-whites from running up the score.  

Speaking of which, Jim Geraghty at National Review:

Senate Democrats’ Short-Lived Opposition to All White Biden Nominees

... [Senator Tammy] Duckworth and her colleague Mazie Hirono of Hawaii told reporters that they intended to vote against any Biden “nominees who aren’t minorities.”

Instead of judging those nominees by their merits, those senators pledged to judge them by the color of their skin. If only we had a word to describe that phenomenon.

In a country where you can see white racism just by walking around with your eyes open, it takes special effort to focus on the alleged racism of members of minority groups. But they apparently find it worth the effort. 

Friday, July 31, 2020


It was 1973 and they wanted Johnny Mathis to be Relevant, dig!
But he's still Johnny Mathis and he sounds great.

•   As a treat for non-subscribers to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, I'm unlocking two recent items: One that shows where the recent aggressive Trump donor solicitation emails are headed, and another that shows the President visiting a sick friend. Enjoy, if mordantly!

•   You have probably seen at least a few of the literally hundreds of videos of police kettling, beating, and generally shitting on the rights of protestors this summer. And of course what kicked off the protests were videos of cops doing extrajudicial torture and murders of black people. But Megan McArdle says appearances can be deceiving -- remember that dress on Twitter, where people disagreed what color it was? And what about optical illusions, "which simultaneously expose our brain’s hidden subsystems and their mistakes"? And a perceptual study that showed viewers two versions of a video and found -- get this -- "it didn’t matter which video you saw as much as whether your politics agreed with the protesters"? Bet that never occurred to you before.

No, McArdle's not saying the bad stuff didn't happen to the black people and the protestors -- LOL why would you think that, God, people are so negative, this is just, you know, in general -- like hey did you see the one where the cop got hit? After smacking down a protestor, yes, but maybe you didn't get the whole picture:
I saw it via GQ’s Julia Ioffe, who tweeted, “This isn’t the police keeping the peace. This is them treating their fellow citizens as enemy combatants.” Many replies echoed the sentiment. Others saw, with equal conviction, police responding with restraint after being physically attacked. 
Neither was wrong about what was in the video: A police officer was attacked, American citizens were manhandled. But all anyone saw was the element that had commanded their attention — and that was whatever fit the story they were already telling about violent protests or police brutality.
Similarly, the video of a cop smacking 75-year-old Martin Gugino to the pavement and cracking his skull -- was that police overreach, or some commie bastard getting what he deserved? It all depends on your POV.
But because video contains so much rich visual information, we tend to feel as if we’re there instead of receiving a highly selective retelling. That makes video seem more authoritative than other mediums... we still need to remember that what we’re seeing is in some sense an illusion, stripped of vital context by the narrow funnel of a camera lens — and that there can be giant holes in how we integrate what we do see into the rest of what we know.
McArdle clearly hopes you think about that the next time you see a controversial protest video -- which is probably going to be protestors getting beaten up by cops rather than vice-versa. Maybe this will join all the other similar videos you've seen in your consciousness to override, as it has for many Americans, a lifetime of conditioning that once had you reflexively siding with the cops -- but if you remind yourself "It could be a optical illusion, there was a study," maybe you'll return to your original, pre-video feelings about law and order.

•   At National Review, Jim Geraghty has a big pitch:
It’s Time for Conservatives to Take the New Coronavirus Outbreak Seriously
Normally Gergahty's COVID-19 shtick is trying to prove protesters caused the outbreaks. He does a bit of that here, too, but mainly, now that Republican states are starting to experience significant infection and death rates, he wants to get a pro-mask message across to the people his fellow conservatives have been telling for months not to worry because it's all a fraud that a little hydroxychloroquine will fix right up.

Geraghty settles on that now-common refuge of a wingnut, "reader" "mail." In this case a "reader who is the director of medical research for a top-ten hospital" is delivering the social distancing sermon with a conservative spin:
“Conservatives, we need to talk,” he begins. “I know you’re tired of masks; tired of the restrictions on going to bars, going to the gym, going to church. We’re all tired of it. You’re worried about whether your business will survive more months of restrictions. And above all, you’re furious at the double standards exhibited by Democratic politicians and their media allies; when they invoke holy ‘Science!’ to take away your liberty and then turn around and say ‘nothing to worry about here’ when crowds of thousands gather in cities protesting and rioting.” 
This research director is also irritated with his fellow scientists, “especially the ones who are eager to curry the favor of TV producers and Sunday-show pundits, and of governors and mayors, and so will tailor their conclusions to meet the narrative and talking points of the day." 
But he sees what he characterizes as a growing number of people on the right, even “people associated with establishment organizations and otherwise thoughtful and sensible commentary” who are “reacting to the Left’s effort to turn the pandemic into a political weapon by swinging to the opposite extreme.”
I guess the idea is, if he sticks enough slurs on liberals in there, the dummies who've been saying it's all a liberal hoax and are meeting up maskless in nightclubs and bars will believe him. Well, Dr. Frankenstein didn't think his plan through, either.

Thursday, July 02, 2020


Even with the departure of Jonah Goldberg, there remain some spectacularly awful writers at National Review like Victor Davis Hanson and David Harsanyi. But in these days of desperate last-ditch Trump defense, the less spectacular, more shoulder-to-the-wheel propagandist Jim Geraghty deserves more attention.

Geraghty had of late been working the popular conservative trope that protests are causing the COVID-19 spread. He may have tumbled that this line isn't working, because earlier this week he seemed to back off, saying protests "may not be the primary factor spreading the virus around the U.S. in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean they were not a factor at all," an obvious intermediate step to dropping the claim entirely.

Geraghty's got a lulu today. First he plumps what he calls "Maybe the Most Jaw-Droppingly Good Jobs Report in U.S. History" -- a pitch for the hometeam crowd, certainly, since Americans are starting to look at job reports the same way they look at the stock market: "Good news" that does not seem to reflect the reality they're actually living.

Perhaps sensing this, Geraghty gets right to work on bothsidesing the coronavirus catastrophe:
You can point to no shortage of policy mistakes made by President Trump, or governors such as Andrew Cuomo of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, or New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
If that doesn't have you convinced that the president who kept telling America the virus was no big deal and stole PPE from the states is no more guilty than three leaders whose COVID curves actually went down (though Michigan's has recently ticked up a little), Geraghty has something else to sell you -- The reason the virus is out of control here is actually America's greatness
Some countries may have responded to this virus better than we did, but they are generally smaller, less populous, had experience with a previous serious virus, and/or have populations that are more trusting of their government and more inclined to obey strict rules and to assent to government monitoring of their movements and activities that Americans are unlikely ever to accept.
We're self-centered assholes who know the leaders we elect will screw us -- that's why we can't perform the simple public health measures that are saving the rest of the civilized world! [Pounds chest] We're "a country literally founded by people who violently rejected the existing legal and political authority when they deemed it unjust or draconian," says Geraghty, and that's why we don't need no stinkin' masks, whattaya say to that, Karen?

Having failed to dispel our Springtime-for-Hitler stare, Geraghty changes tack, seeking to convince us that lockdowns killed George Floyd who you liberals say you care about so much:
If the economy had not been shut down in Minnesota, would George Floyd have been out of work? Would he have allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill and then been in that particular place and time where former police officer Derek Chauvin would arrest him and hold his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes?
In fact, there wouldn't be any protests at all, Geraghty seems to say, if the lockdowns didn't have the kids so darned bored:
I don’t think we fully appreciate how much the still -- ongoing protests are, for young people, the only game in town. Just what else is there to do in still-heavily-locked-down America? They can’t go to the movies. They can’t go to a ballgame... 
In a normal summer, how much of young people’s mental energy is spent on enjoyable leisure, from the NBA to pickup games of sports to Marvel movies and other summer blockbusters?... 
Why are we shocked that young people are flocking to house parties and bars at night and protests during the day? What else have we left them to do?
Ah youth -- when summer is one long roundelay of partying in bars and then yelling "all cops are bastards" out in the warm sun! I expect National Review's geriatric subscribers, whose idea of protests haven't much evolved from Students Wildly Indignant about Everything, will buy it. And isn't that the important thing? At this point it's not like conservatives are trying to convince anyone but themselves.

Thursday, June 11, 2020


National Review's Jim Geraghty wants you to join him as the recent racial unpleasantness chases him down an alley called Memory Lane:
The Nineties were a different time, kids. It was the kind of era where, in the aftermath of horrifying riots in Los Angeles, David Alan Grier and Jim Carrey could appear in a sketch on the comedy program In Living Color as beating victims Rodney King and Reginald Denny, and declare, “Staying in school and staying off drugs is fine, but it ain’t gonna do you any good at all if you don’t have sense enough to stay in your car. See, we were stupid! We got out of our car. We didn’t use our heads and look what happened. We may have won the battle, but the early bird got the worm.”
Ha ha, yeah that was funny, what the fuck tho.
You Millennials and Generation Z kids wonder why we in Generation X can be so tasteless and shocking in our humor and tastes? Try having your formulative years shaped by sketch comedy shows, National Lampoon’s, Gary Larson’s Far Side, and comedians like Sam Kinison... 
Don't leave, I'll skip the rest of the Grandpa part.
I can’t find it online, but I recall another In Living Color sketch that depicted whites rioting after a jury acquitted the attackers of Reginald Denny. The sketch was funny because of the inherent absurdity: Wealthy, comfortable white people don’t burn down their own neighborhoods, no matter how angry they are about any particular event.
But every group feels anger at some point, even if they don’t express it in an easily visible way.
After the L.A. riots and the O. J. Simpson case, a few cultural observers argued that wealthy, comfortable white people “rioted” in a different way.
He explains by quoting Roger Boesche from the L.A. Times on all the service cuts and economic immiseration the black community suffered after the riots. In part:
So how do white people riot? They riot by eliminating affirmative action so that jobs and education will be more readily available to whites; by voting to deny services like education and health care to illegal immigrants; by declaring English as the official language and attacking bilingual education; by leaving 38 million people in poverty — 30.6 percent of all African Americans and 30.7 percent of all Latinos.
Now, this sounds to me like a bad reaction to the riots that just kept the wounds festering and led to the present explosion, which has to be Geraghty's point, right? Ha ha ha, guess you never read his shit before! After some yap about how "there are probably quite a few Americans outraged by the sights of statues of Christopher Columbus or other figures from history being beheaded or pulled down" -- I guess he doesn't name them because they're all Confederates! -- Geraghty warns:
There will be a backlash to these actions, but not in the form of the “white people’s riot” that In Living Color imagined. That backlash may come at the ballot box, or it may come in some other indirect form. Some people aren’t interested in direct confrontation in the streets. They may simply prefer to express their opposition in a way that these protesters expect it least — businesses moving out, reluctance to hire, reluctance to visit a neighborhood, effectively abandoning a community. Not every wall that is built is physical and visible. But one way or another, the reaction is coming.
Next to no black people are reading Bill Buckley's White Supremacist magazine. Geraghty's message is mainly going out to his honky rightwing readers who have seen the latest polls and are getting the sick feeling that they might not be able to just beat, gas, and shoot more protesters to get out of this fix. So I reckon it's meant as a comfort: Relax, we have ways of dealing with this -- we did it before, and we can do it again.

Thing is, the rest of us see this stuff too, and have our own reaction. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2020


I'm sure we've all heard more than enough "bothsides"  bullshit -- the rhetorical approach that seeks to obscure one's own crimes and idiocies on the grounds that someone else dropped a gum wrapper on the sidewalk so who's to judge. But it never stops coming. While it's annoying enough when it comes from weak-kneed liberals, it's a total stinkbomb coming from conservatives and is a favorite gambit of JustTheTip Trumpers -- here's a classic example by David French. But things have reached the point where even some of the usually loud-and-proud wingnuts are starting to crocodile-weep for comity. Here's Jim Geraghty at National Review:
Our Civil War of Stupidity
The loudest, most dominant voices in American political discourse often are the ones with the least thought-through, least useful perspectives.
For a brief moment, we had a broad, bipartisan national consensus that the police should not kill those in their custody. 
We did? When was that? I and a whoooole lot of black people missed it.
Then, our warring factions of idiots went and ruined it.
Why would anyone do that? What might each of these "factions" been in favor of -- oh why do I bother.
On May 25, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin did something terrible, pressing his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, during which time Floyd’s heart stopped beating and he died. Chauvin’s fellow officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, stood and watched. This angered many Americans, if not almost all Americans.
Then, some residents of Minneapolis chose to respond to Chauvin’s actions by setting fire to the Third Precinct headquarters of the city police.
Boy, as your cousin on Facebook would meme, that escalated quickly. Did something else noteworthy happen between Floyd's killing and the fire, like national protests?
Our national discussion was quickly overrun by those who wanted to use the actions of Chauvin and his fellow officers to define all police across the country, and those who wanted to use the actions of the looters and rioters to define everyone participating in the protests. Anyone with eyes can see that not all police officers are Derek Chauvin, and not everyone who attended a protest, march, or demonstration in response to Floyd’s death was looting and committing acts of violence. 
Anyone with eyes can also see hundreds of videos of police violence against the innocent during the past few weeks of protest, which seems to have caused a massive change in public sentiment -- Americans appear to support the protestors and think the cops went too far, which for the land of Nixon and Agnew and endless Law & Order editions is pretty amazing. But Geraghty doesn't mention it.

Near the end is Geraghty's most concentrated pellet of motivated bothsiderism:
The president wants to restore order in the streets with soldiers; his opposition declares that the proper alternative is to do away with policing entirely. The president wants to reopen the economy; his critics contend that steps in the direction of reopening are an “experiment in human sacrifice.”
Thus Trump's looter-shooter ravings (and other provocations, including his attack on the Minneapolis senior citizen whose skull was cracked by a cop) are portrayed as a sensible call for order, while the Democrats are portrayed as off-the-pigs lunatics because some leftists want to drastically reduce police budgets; also, Geraghty describes Trump's threats to force states to cram workers who might have coronavirus into their warehouses and offices as a simple desire to "reopen the economy," and if you think that's bad how about this, Democrats interpreted it uncharitably, hmmph!
Where are the sane grown-ups? Isn’t anyone willing to take a break from the usual partisan food fight to spend just a little time trying to solve our actual problems? Or are we just destined to be bystanders in a Civil War of Stupidity indefinitely?
It's all too much -- everybody back to the status quo, where black people got extra-judicially executed on the regular but at least we weren't arguing about it.

Thursday, April 16, 2020


I have opened up the latest Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issue, with lyrics from the new Battle Hymn of the Republic, to be sung by the people protesting for their right to spread coronavirus in defiance of the fascist heath inspectors.

Conservatives will do anything to deflect the whole thing onto their traditional enemies. You all know that Trump has been trying hard to shift attention from his disastrous mishandling of coronavirus by blaming China and calling COVID-19 the "China virus" (which is so gross his own CDC director condemned it).

In this Trump has plenty of help from the usual suspects. Josh Hawley role model Tom Cotton has been weaving conspiracy theories about Chinese germ warfare and Jim Geraghty, who was probably sad his junior high career fair didn't have a "propagandist" track, does the Just Asking Questions bit at National Review:
A few people sometimes ask whether it really matters whether this virus originated from someone being less careful than they needed to be with a bat in a laboratory or biological material from the bats. I assume these are good faith questions, and not some sort of effort to preserve the good name of the Chinese government.
LOL fuck you buddy.
...But if we want to ensure nothing like this happens again, we need to know how this virus first got into humans.
The irony is that every possible transmission path paints the Chinese government as incredibly reckless and unconcerned about the risk to human life. 
If it originated from a person eating bat or pangolin at a wet market, then we need to take steps to ensure that bat and pangolin consumption and trade stops everywhere in the world.
See, he's just being thorough.
...The Chinese government is incredibly reckless and unconcerned about the risk to human life because they keep the wet markets open. Put another way, right now in your community, you’ve got to stand in line six feet apart to get into your local supermarket, but Beijing won’t even shut down the exotic animal butchers.
I assume the next wave of nutcakes hollering outside state capitols will be carrying signs denouncing wet markets, illustrated with drawings of slanty-eyed pangolins wearing Red Army hats.

Speaking of the ChiComs, nomenclature is an important part of the propaganda. The Epoch Times -- a worthy successor to the Washington (Moonie) Times as America's #1 fucked-up far-East wingnut disinfo disseminator -- actually has a house style (not even kidding, go read their stories and see, though I warn you they'll harvest your email) requiring it be called "the CCP virus" or "the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus." And you'll see cagey locutions at places like Ben Shapiro's Daily Signal ("As the world continues to battle the terrible COVID-19 pandemic that began in Wuhan, China...")

But as longtime readers know, the mainstream media outlets that like to class up the ravings of their rightwing pals will always be a bit smoother. At the Washington Post Josh Rogin tells us that Trump saying Chinese virus "is simplistic but technically accurate" but nonetheless he's willing to accommodate you snowflakes. "Accuracy is not the only consideration the president should take into account," Rogin says, and some people might get the wrong idea, so he has a workaround:
Let’s stop saying “Chinese virus” — not because everyone who uses it is racist, but because it needlessly plays into the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to divide us and deflect our attention from their bad actions. Let’s just call it the “CCP virus.” That’s more accurate and offends only those who deserve it..
Rolls right off the tongue, don't it? Definitely using a neologism that has not filtered up through common usage, but has rather been cooked up in a lab by propagandists, will not seem awkward -- and it's an easy way to show patriotism in a time of crisis -- you know, like freedom fries!

(Oh, and of course stage 2 is a Beijing Biden drive -- which has alliteration going for it, I'll grant, though given all the love Trump's shown the Chinese dictator, only his most brain-damaged troops will take it up.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


He has stiff competition -- Kevin D. Williamson! David French! Jonah Goldberg for crying out loud! -- but on Any Given Weekday Jim Geraghty can be the absolute worst person at National Review and brother does he manage today:

I shit you not. Geraghty was in Canada and visited Casa Loma, whose owner did some fighting in the 19th Century, and his regiment in modern times did some fighting in Afghanistan. How's that for a segue?
The museum display on Afghanistan is just a small corner of a room covering the regiment’s more recent deployments, which included Kosovo and Sudan. But the display got me wondering: is it time to start thinking about a National Museum of the Afghanistan War? And should the U.S. have a separate or conjoined museum for the Iraq War? (Would the name “National Museum of Post-9/11 Wars” be too awkward?)
How about "The Foreverwar Museum: A Work in Progress"? After some research-assistant padding about current U.S. war/service museums, Geraghty preemptively pooh-poohs the naysayers:
Inevitably, someone out there is going to cluck about the irony of building a museum for a military operation that is still ongoing, and while U.S. troops are still deployed in those operations.
Well, sure. Don't your visitors want to know how it comes out? A World War II museum built in 1943 would have seemed kinda anticlimactic.
But if you wait until the operation is completely done to begin even thinking about preserving a record to tell the story to future generations . . . you’ll be waiting probably, at minimum, another half-decade.
LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Then more padding, about the great work our G.I. Joes are doing in undeclared wars across the planet, Geraghty assures us he's just asking questions:
If building a national museum about our post-9/11 wars is a good idea, then it is a good idea whether or not we still have troops deployed in these countries. And if it’s not a good idea, then it’s not a good idea regardless of the circumstances of the ongoing deployment.
Resolved: It stinks! Let's all go home! But here's where Geraghty goes into overdrive:
A strange thing happened in our national life as the Vietnam War receded into the rear-view mirror. One of the most bitterly divisive issues in our country’s history calmed, and gradually — some might say, far too gradually — shifted into a broad-based respect and appreciation for the men who fought in it and women who tried to keep them in one piece in the Army Nurse Corps.
(Gotta get the ladies in there!) Prior to that, see, we were all just spitting on soldiers:
Even the most fervent war opponents could recognize that this country treated its returning veterans terribly back in the 1960s and 1970s, and I wonder if our current much broader cultural appreciation of veterans stems from a sense of guilt over that dishonorable not-so-distant history.
I assume, given his audience and that he's Jim Geraghty, he means the myth of mean hippies rather than, say, the fight to deny vets coverage for the effects of PTSD and Agent Orange or anything else that men in suits rather than punks in love-beads may have done to them.
You can think the war was a terrible mistake and still feel a sense of gratitude, awe, and appreciation for those who served in it — and a determination to see that those who served are treated right, in areas ranging from veterans benefits to health care options to post-military careers to naturalization for those born overseas.
"Naturalization for those born overseas" -- did this motherfucker really just fucking say that?

You know what, I'm too pissed to even address the rest of his stupidity ("if the U.S. had known the true limits of the Iraqi WMD program," ha ha, yeah if only). Geraghty can jam this museum up his ass.

Friday, October 18, 2019


It's a zeitgeist thing. Perhaps you can relate! 

•   I've unleashed another issue of my newsletter, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, for which subscribers pay big money (well, money anyway) but which you lot can have free 'cause I'm socialistic. It's my vision of how Mick Mulvaney and Trump post-mortemed Mulvaney's insane press conference over a nice bowl of Dr. Bornstein's formula. (I don't believe the obviously planted story that Trump was angry with Mulvaney's presser and made him go back and fix it -- I assume he wanted Mulvaney to be as belligerent about his criminality as he was, as part of his longtime process of numbing the public to his grifts. If anything Mulvaney probably pushed to have his second version on the public record in case some law enforcement agency finally gets the drop on this mob.)

•   After yesterday's fuckfest of Trump corruption -- more evidence of quid pro quo with Ukraine, selling out the Kurds, Trump awarding his own hotel a nice fat G7 contract, Rick Perry (recently implicated in the Ukraine mess) resigning, etc. -- what does Jim Geraghty have for his National Review roundup?

- How conservatives should love Mark Zuckerberg for refusing to vet his ads, which would be totalitarian ("Mark Zuckerberg Refuses to Bend the Knee");

- How Trump's "Impeachment Trial Could Come at the Worst Time" for the Democrats in the Senate (no speculation as to how Trump's impeachment trial, however, would affect Trump);

- "Amazon Decides It’s Had Enough Socialism in Seattle Politics" and is flooding the local city council races with money for corporatist candidates, which is totally not the "crony capitalism" Geraghty normally bitches about.

And in an addendum Geraghty applauds a former head of Planned Parenthood for
recognizing moral complexities and moral discomfort, at a time when the Democratic party and her previous employer are increasingly adamant that the issue isn’t complicated, and that any limitation under any circumstances represents a draconian patriarchal injustice. Wen sounds like the kind of pro-choice advocate that a pro-lifer could have a good conversation with, and in this era, that’s a small miracle.
and that conversation would start with "here's why you're a babykiller" and the pro-lifer throwing a jar of festuses at her.

•   Here, have another treat from the newsletter jar! This one's about what that rumored new conservative network might look like.

•   It's pretty axiomatic that you can judge someone by how they treat people who are serving them. Well:

Now, it's no shock that Fox News people would be total dicks, but I would take it further and say that -- while there are some nice people with conservative views -- as conservatism disintegrates as an ideology and becomes ever more clearly the "series of irritable mental gestures" Lionel Trilling described, it seems just being a specific kind of asshole is nearly all that conservatism demands. I mean, what do they believe in? Good stewardship of the public fisc? Come the fuck on. This quote from Yuval Levin in Jonah Goldberg's newsletter The Dispatch shows, I assume inadvertently, how ridiculous that is:
“The most conservative—fiscally conservative and otherwise—Republican members had a sense that they were there on behalf of a certain kind of voter, and then it turned out that it was their voters who were the first to go for Trump. And Trump talked about none of the things that they thought those voters cared a lot about,” Levin said. “They’re very insecure about their understanding of the political circumstances that they’re living through right now. And part of what that insecurity means is they just don’t bring up stuff that they’re not sure about.”
LOL. Imagine goons like Louie Gohmert and Susan Collins wandering the halls of Congress and having the existential crisis described here. "My voters don't care if we tax-cut our Treasury into the Grand Canyon so long as none of the gains go to black people? My whole life has been a lie!" And what else are they supposed to believe in? Freedom for the Kurds? "All men are created equal"? Who among them could even say it with a straight face? No, the jig is up and the grift is everything. And who's going to attracted to such a cause? Greedy, self-centered assholes. Hell, I wouldn't be shocked if Trump drops a bit into his roadshow about how servers don't deserve tips -- knowing that, unlike his idiot fans, he never has to worry about his next cup of coffee coming with a saliva infusion, because for the modern conservative even one's colleagues are just there to be conned.

Friday, September 06, 2019


These guys are hot shit.

•   I thought Jim Geraghty's earlier version at National Review was embarrassing but Jesus Christ, Rich Lowry's "Five Things They Don’t Tell You about Slavery" is even worse. As with all these rightwing responses to the New York Times' 1619 Project, there's a pro forma of-course-slavery-was-bad preface followed by excuses and mitigating circumstances. Get a load:
1. Through much of human history, slavery was ubiquitous and unquestioned
Slavery wasn’t the exception in human history; it was the norm. The “perennial institution,” as historian Seymour Drescher calls it, was an accepted feature of the ancient world, from ancient Egypt to Greece to Rome, and of traditional societies... 
The United States ended slavery too late (again, Britain is a better model). But let’s not forget how long the slave trade, ended in 1808 in the United States, lasted elsewhere...
Like it's Genocide Musical Chairs. (Also, when they stopped the legal importation of slaves in 1808, the practice was already at a low ebb, and slavers got very efficient about breeding new ones.)
3. Islam was a great conveyor belt of slavery...
Certainly, while slavery was in eclipse in the rest of Europe, it had a new vitality on the Muslim-occupied Iberian peninsula, with Muslims and Christians both engaged in the practice... 
“By the fifteenth century,” historian James Sweet notes, “many Iberian Christians had internalized the racist attitudes of the Muslims and were applying them to the increasing flow of African slaves to their part of the world...
But Mom! Mohammed made us racist slavers!
One would think that there would be more attention paid to the Muslim world’s contribution to race-based slavery, but since it doesn’t offer any opportunity for Western self-reproach, it’s mostly ignored.
Lowry can't even stick to his polite premise, and spasms into the querulous bitter-ender position that people only bring up slavery because they hate America.
None of the other societies tainted by slavery produced the Declaration of Independence, a Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton, the U.S. Constitution, or a tradition of liberty that inspired people around the world for centuries. If we don’t keep that in mind, as well as the broader context of slavery, we aren’t giving this country — or history — its due.
I'm trying to imagine a somewhat conservative German magazine -- Focus, maybe -- running an article like this about the Third Reich. "People were anti-Semitic before Hitler, you know!" "We had a lot of help from Italy and Japan." "Well, in the end we gave the world the printing press, the modern public school system, and the Alienation Effect, so take that into consideration."

National Review began as a segregationist rag and the only thing that's changed is the effort they put into hiding it.

•   Oh BTW I've unlocked another edition of the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter, all about what we can expect if other parts of ol' Joe Biden start breaking down on stage. Enjoy!

Friday, June 14, 2019


Fuck you, I'm old. (18 phone calls to Brazil!)

•  I mean come on:

The comparisons are absurdly weak. For example: "Both women were trailblazers in high-powered legal circles; one attended an Ivy league law school, one taught in an Ivy league law school." Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy; Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln. Also:
Clinton took a lot of grief about implausible claims of being “dead broke” when she left the White House or her Tuzla Dash; Warren gets a lot of grief about her implausible claims of Native American heritage.
Hey, how about that, two politicians accused of dishonesty. It's like they're twins! Eventually Geraghty gets to it:

For women who have risen to the top of national politics, they’ve faced criticism for being tone-deaf about how they’ve handled sensitive issues.

Both have friends and colleagues who insist they are warm and personable in private; both face accusations of being cold and stiff and inauthentic on the campaign trail. (Recall Warren’s beer chat on Instagram.) Both face the criticism that they’re not “likeable,” and both have allies insisting that criticism is sexist.
According to Edroso's Laws of Wingnut Discourse, when "sexism" appears in a National Review article, it will accompany either 1.) a whataboutist complaint that liberals have been mean to the latest Xerox copy of Sarah Palin, or 2.) Hella bald sexism, and sure enough:

Perhaps most significantly, Trump is likely to criticize Warren the way he criticized Clinton — as an elite who enjoyed the benefits of a rigged system. If Warren gets the nomination, we’ll hear a lot of “Pocahontas” jabs, but probably some version of the “Crooked Hillary,” “the queen of corruption,” “Lyin’ Hillary” attacks. Whether you think it’s sexist or not, Trump and his allies are likely to paint Warren as an insufferable know-it-all nag, an academic who thinks she knows how to best manage every detail of your life, condescending and badgering. For at least four years, that persona will be addressing you from the Oval Office, telling you how things are going to change and how it’s for your own good.
Mind you, it's just the Id Monster saying these things, not genial old Jim Geraghty. But bitches, amirite? Nag nag nag! Well, his target audience (assholes) will go for it, and may be comforted that conservatives haven't fucked up so badly that Americans might actually elect a qualified woman.

•  Sorry I ain't been on here much; work's been extra-strength bullshit and non-work ain't so hot either. (That's the breaks, that's the breaks!) But this week we had some unlocked newsletter entries (Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- catch it!™) so please enjoy my DC Pride Weekend post and Jack Dorsey and the night visitors. And subscribe so you don't miss nothin'!

•  BTW I think this point needs making (Tscha, that's what they all say): You may have heard David Neiwert, one of America's top experts in alt-right and neo-fascist propaganda, had his Twitter acount suspended because his book cover, which serves as his Twitter avatar, has a bunch of Klan hoods standing for the stars of the U.S. flag, and Twitter thinks (or pretends to think) that's the sort of hate speech users want to be protected from. I've seen many complaints about this, and the liberals (because only liberals care, the freeze-peach right couldn't give a shit) who have done so either just rag on Twitter for its stupidity or talk about how this shows it's tough for social media to tell commentary from advocacy (which is bullshit, but that's a topic for another day). Whereas when Steven Crowder was not suspended (but his ads for "Socialism is for fags" shirts and other quality merch were blocked) for calling some guy a lispy queer, conservatives got all Patrick Henry for their right to yell slurs on other people's websites. I find it instructive that while liberals, who are supposed to be big-government snowflakes, roll rather calmly with the social media problem, apparently judging it a private commercial matter, the rugged individualists of the right bitch like a bunch of drama queens. Working the refs is in their blood, I guess.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Sorry, just ducking in here (subscribe to my newsletter BTW!) to remind you that, though other National Review writers are crazier and stupider, Jim Geraghty really is the most full of shit:
Oh Look, Another Case of Corporate Welfare Not Paying Off 
A lot of conservatives and Republicans who like former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker were less than thrilled with his support for a massive deal with technology company FoxConn, offering a massive $3 billion incentive package so the company would build a $10 billion facility that could employ up to 13,000.
Gosh, looks like conservatives didn't like Scott Walker's Foxconn deal (now revealed as a total scam) at all, though they loved him. Actually, you know who approved of this "corporate welfare" deal enough to take part in the fucking GROUNDBREAKING?

Oh yeah, Paul Ryan was there too. New York Times:
The president described the plans for the $10 billion high-tech campus being built by Foxconn, an electronics supplier for Apple and other tech giants, as the “eighth wonder of the world” and an illustration of his effort to create jobs by renewing manufacturing, attracting foreign investment and adapting a tougher trade policy.
I tell you, in a couple of years none of these guys will have ever even heard of Donald Trump.

Sunday, December 30, 2018


[See Part 2 and Part 3 as well.]

© 2014 Sean P. Anderson used under a Creative Commons license
10. The (Blessed) Silencing of Alex Jones. Remember that brief moment last summer when Alex Jones became the new John Peter Zenger because Facebook and YouTube "censored" him and all the top wingnuts nailed their colors to his escutcheon? You don't? Well, maybe that's because after a brief inital burst of caterwauling they all fucked off and left him to rot in his (still highly visible and lucrative) exile.

Here in December 2018, it's hard to imagine that conservatives were blubbering over Jones' removal from platforms that did not want him aboard. National Review's Theodore Kupfer did the old unintended-consequences thing: "Facebook can’t make Alex Jones go away; banning him might add to his support and further radicalize his fans." Others cried lefty censorship: "This is absolutely the first stage in a coordinated plan to deplatform everyone on the right," declared Instapundit Glenn Reynolds. All agreed Liberals were the Real Fascists.

Reynolds' prediction, alas, has not come true, and there are still rightwing nutcakes all over the damn place -- and while claiming they've been unpersoned or deplatformed has become a rite of passage for them (see Laura Loomer chaining herself to Twitter HQ), even bigtime conservatives have for the most part stopped playing along. You don't see many REMEMBER ALEX JONES memorials on the Right.

It's easy to see why: As it becomes increasingly clear, especially since the midterms, that relying on only the nuttiest Americans to lift them to victory is not a repeatable strategy, conservatives are not as eager as once they were to be represented by crackpots and carny clowns. Speaking of which: keep an eye out because their abandonment of Jones will probably serve as a model for their abandonment of the ever-less-popular Trump.

© 2018 Mark Dillman used under a Creative Commons license
9. OMG AOC! I know the "Fill In The Blank Derangement Syndrome" template has been going since the Dawn of the Clintons, but look: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is merely a freshman Congressmember from a safe seat in New York City, yet conservatives have gone ballistic over her. In fact they've been deranged since she beat the stand-pat Democratic incumbent for the nomination in July. Back then they were rattled that she was an unashamed Democratic Socialists of America member -- notwithstanding that a lot of other DSA candidates have been winning elections. (Which may be part of the reason for the syndrome -- a glimmer of awareness on the Right's part that Trump has made conservatism so toxic voters will run further to the left than Hillary Clinton ever dreamed of going.)

But even worse from a rightwing perspective, this socialist is popular: AOC is good on the stump and has fired up thousands of fans, which makes attacking her kind of a "this thing everyone likes is bad" proposition. Here's Virginia Kruter at The Daily Caller -- "YES, ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ ‘INSPIRED’ ME. NO, NOT IN THE WAY SHE THINKS... So, Rep.-elect Ocasio-Cortez, you did inspire me... You inspired me to fight the creep of socialism with everything I have. And you inspired me to raise my children to do the same." That's totally the kind of argument winners make.

Also, AOC is cute, Hispanic, *and* unafraid to clap back at dull-witted wingnuts, which attributes, taken together, probably ring at least a dozen psychosexual bells for conservatives. Did you see how she smacked a Washington Examiner facotum for his "creep shot" analysis of her walking down the halls of Congress in a dress? Imagine being a rightwing player accustomed to treating young women like chattel getting that kind of lip from a young Puertorriqueña with a House seat as thousands cheer.

Not only do liberals talk about how AOC drives conservatives crazy ("Why conservatives love to hate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez" -- Jane Coaston, Vox) --  so do conservatives ("Conservatives Keep Giving Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Exactly What She Wants" -- Jim Geraghty, National Review). It's like they figure there's nothing they can do about it except sluice off some of the clickbait.

My favorite in that genre is Kevin D. Williamson trying to turn it around with his traditional snotty patter -- "Ocasio-Cortez describes herself as a socialist," he quips, "a declaration mitigated somewhat by the fact that she doesn’t seem to know what the word 'socialist' means." There is only one thing worse than being witty, and that is not being witty. But even this notorious troll seems to sense it isn't working and finally goes full corncob, telling his fellow conservatives "if they were smarter, they’d be grateful [that]... this callow dilettante is the best the other side has to offer." That should be some comfort as she continues to kick their sorry asses.

8. The Kavanaugh hearings and the end of the Roe repeal boom. When SCOTUS "swing vote" Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in July, wingnuts cheered the imminent end of the right to abortion. "The central mandate for the man or woman who will take his seat, and for all the justices," Glory-Hallelujah'd the Washington Examiner, under the unambiguous headline "Repeal Roe v. Wade," "is to wipe away a disgrace that ranks alongside Dred Scott, and overtun [sic] Roe and Casey.”

As Trump replacement Brett Kavanaugh was exposed as a groper and a goon (and, I was shocked to learn, a buddy-pal of longtime alicublog figure of fun Mark Judge), we heard more talk about all the women Kavanaugh didn't rape, and about how it was actually someone else disguised as Kavanaugh who tried to rape that lady, and less about how he was going to make rape victims bear their rape-babies. Theocons like Ross Douthat have kept the faith, but other conservatives have been tucking their hands in their pockets, whistling, and walking away -- and since Kavanaugh appeared to help Planned Parenthood in a recent SCOTUS decision, we're even seeing headlines like "Brett Kavanaugh is not the pro-life savior you're looking for" at the Washington Examiner.

It was fun to dream of damning women to unwanted children in the fall of 2018 -- but with elections and polls showing Republicans becoming even more unpopular, the idea of a sexual batterer repealing Roe v. Wade is suddenly less attractive to them. We don't know what the asshole will do in the clutch, but we do know he's not committed to anything so much as his career -- and probably the goodwill of the assholes who probably let him know they made him and can break him. So in one sense, at least, the Kavanaugh hearings may have done some good.

7. The Rod Dreher "Reader" "Mailbag." This is not a matter of national interest, but of my own desires (which are... unconventional), so give the blogger some: There's so much to enjoy about Benedict Option author/hyper-holy-roller Rod Dreher -- his racism, his gay panic, his love of fascist dictators. But my favorite Dreherism is his use of "mail" from "readers" to back up his points. These missives are often from a Democrat who now hates Democrats, a liberal who now hates liberals, or a Wiccan who now hates Wicca -- all of whom express themselves very clearly in a similar tone of voice.

One of 2018's great pieces of "reader" "mail" was the one in which the proud daughter of a "Scots-Irish 'clan'" laments that her family is being "torn apart" by an "LGBT bully" -- that is, a gay cousin "who publicly shames family members on Facebook." (Though this woman calls the gay cousin a "terrorist" she didn't say how or why his Facebook posts do so much damage. My guess -- assuming, for the sake of argument, that these people exist -- is that he described some family sleepovers.)

Another is from a "reader" who reports the nice young fellow down at the store was transferred to a distant location as punishment because he said he'd be uncomfortable using "transgender pronouns." I tell ya, it's a gulag out there ("there are some very obvious common threads between what happened in the early Soviet days and what we see today") for folks who want he-shes to know their place!

But here's my 2018 favorite:
I’m certainly not a typical Trump supporter — I believe in climate change and America’s responsibility to take policy steps to reduce our contribution to it, I’m anti-NRA, pro-Obamacare to an extent, and detest the Republican Party generally... 
But leaving the nuclear issue aside, the Left’s behavior in the last year has pushed me steadily more and more in the direction of being willing to vote for a sort of lower-key Trump (someone like Ben Shapiro)...
Soon Brother Rod will notice those Beto-Bernie fights that currently inflame the internet and propose the Virgin Ben as a unity candidate. You read it here first!

Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3 over the next few days.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

17 YEARS ON...

...conservatives aren't sure what to do with 9/11. Back in the day, it was a great bludgeon to bully everyone into line: Wear your flag pin, support the troops, watch what you say, torture's too good for 'em. Thousands of American lives, untold numbers of other lives, and trillions of dollars later, it all seems insane. Actually it seemed insane to many of us at the time, but over the years others, including even some conservatives, appear to have caught on, albeit sullenly, that the general response to the event was, shall we say, counterproductive.

The biggest warmongers, like Glenn Reynolds, still claim everything went great except Obama fucked it up. Maybe he thinks tinfoil will defend him from the judgment of history. True Muslim-haters like Bruce Bawer and Frank Gaffney generally hope Trump will make things right but take a "jury's still out" approach -- that is, they know he's the kind of callous thug who wouldn't mind bombing Iran, they're just getting impatient for him to actually go on and do it.

Most of us are content to treat 9/11 as our era's Pearl Harbor, a day of forgetting as well as remembrance; we're as far from the WTC and Pentagon attacks as Americans were from the day of infamy in 1958. (By then we were already buying Japanese transistor radios.) But this hindsight, like the mania that preceded it, is evanescent. Some conservatives today have been telling us that the terror is all but over, implying that it was our bloody, expensive wars that made it so. "Oh, some analysts say al-Qaeda won?" says Jim Geraghty at National Review. "I notice Osama bin Laden didn’t make it to the victory party." Geraghty has nothing if not nerve, and I mean that literally. "Al-Qaeda’s not even the top 'brand name' in Islamist terrorism anymore," Geraghty fist-pumps. "ISIS turned into the big name in the headlines, the preeminent threat, the most feared producers of those nightmare-inducing videos. And the Islamic State has been reduced from a sprawling terror-nation the size of Britain to a bunch of guys making their last stand in Hajin, a town of about 60,000 people." Wow, problem solved! Go look at the news from Afghanistan (e.g., "Dozens killed and injured in suicide attack at Afghan protest") and Iraq (e.g., "Water shortages to cut Iraq's irrigated wheat area by half"), or better yet go to Iraq or Afghanistan and see how it looks from there. We fucked those countries up beyond recognition and Geraghty's hauling the Mission Accomplished banner back out.

Faint as the memory of the war-whoops may be, so too, soon enough, will be the memory of the reckoning, and when Trump declares war on Iran -- or Venezuela, or North Korea, or Canada -- it'll be Johnny Get Your Gun all over again for a lot of people. We'll see then how much we have and haven't learned.

Meanwhile, all honor to the memory of the dead. It was strange, sad time to live through in New York; I have no prose poems or weeping eagles to offer. Here's a little something I wrote in the immediate aftermath.

Sunday, September 09, 2018


I suppose you guys have seen the sad stories of saps snipping their swatches over the Nike ad with the Bad Man in it -- which subject is treated at greater length in my subscription newsletter *--  but in future, when I look back on this week's outrage, I shall always first recall, not the reaction of President Trump, but how it was handled by the Conservative Pets twitter account:

Doggos and ressentiment -- it can't miss! Except Nike seems not to be suffering from the wingnut tantrums over Kaepernick, so this one joins previous conservative blubber-boycotts against French wine, the Dixie ChicksGermany, Starbucks, Kellogg's, et alia, that went nowhere, but over which wingnuts beat their chests. And, as with those failed boycotts, conservatives are still declaring victory, confident that their followers don't actually follow the market or read the papers and won't realize that their oafish opposition doesn't mean shit to a company that markets to young people rather than to aging rednecks who only buy athletic gear to burn in YouTube videos. 

You can tell how badly the boycotts are doing by the Wall Street Journal, which engaged Adam Kirsch to lament "The Destructive Politics of Pseudo-Boycotts," taking care to remind us that it's a bothsides problem because, while rednecks burned their shorts without hurting Nike sales, liberals boycotted The New Yorker's festival because white nationalist Steve Bannon was headlining -- and got Bannon disinvited, which just goes to show how awful boycotts are. There's even a paragraph about the Montgomery bus boycott in the thing, which suggests to me Kirsch was prepared to file a more favorable column until the sales figures came in.

But the top propagandists are still throwing Hail Marys. I went above and beyond by watching a Ben Shapiro video on the subject -- or at least as much as I could stand. Within the first 10 seconds I heard this: "Nike in a viral piece of marketing decided it was deeply necessary to reward Colin Kaepernick." Whatever they're paying his ghostwriters should have gone instead to ESL classes. Shapiro also knocked Kaepernick's athleticism -- "He was a garbage quarterback, he's one of the lowest rated quarterbacks in the NFL," quoth "Crossfit guy" Shapiro -- and reported Kaepernick was protesting "police brutality or some such nonsense." By the one-minute mark, when Shapiro brought up that hardy wingnut perennial, Kaepernick's pigs-as-cops socks -- "there's legitimately pictures of pigs with cop hats on them!" --  his adenoidal, mosquito-on-meth burble was giving me a migraine and I had to bail. I guess that's the secret weapon with which Shapiro DESTROYS liberals

The clearest sign that it this is all bullshit is conservatives like Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, Jim Geraghty of National Review, Stupidest Man On The Internet Jim Hoft et alia pretending they care about Nike running sweatshops. I mean, even Trumpkin Reddit forum r/The_Donald has a page called "MUST WATCH. Very Powerful NIKE Sweatshop Documentary" -- previously these guys were only interested in sweatshops as a source for mail-order brides. When you find wingnuts agitating for workers' rights, you know you've hit rock bottom. 

Meantime, I see conservatives have taken up another sports issue -- Serena Williams getting docked a game at the U.S. Open for arguing with an umpire -- and are uniformly siding with the ump. Think it's because they're astute connoisseurs of tennis? Here's a hint: "Whining Serena Williams is tennis’s Hillary Clinton," says rightwing pencilneck Roger Kimball. "Funny How Serena Has Trouble With Referees Only When She's Losing," says Adam Rubenstein at The Weekly Standard. And if you want a good look at the conservative id, check the responses to this MAGA choad's Serena Williams tweet (sample: "I do not take anything Williams says seriously. Her own sister was murdered by the Crips street gang... yet she did the Crips Walk after winning a tournament"). I can see all of these assholes holding an old loving cup like the Coach in That Championship Season and moaning "basketball is no longer the white man's game." 

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