Showing posts sorted by date for query j.d. vance. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query j.d. vance. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Friday, June 04, 2021


Local radio was playing a bunch of power-to-the-people tunes.
I know this one's cheese, but I love it.

•   OK, kids, here are the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for the week -- this scene at Mar-a-Lago, in which Tubby talks turkey with his least favorite in-law; and today's fresh-as-daisies ripped-from-today's-headlines item on how the wingnut handling of the Lab Leak story fits with their Rigged Election fantasy -- and the part played in it by éminence Grey Goose Peggy Noonan. Yes, it's not just the Brown Shirts and the von Papens anymore -- even the little von Hindenburgs are getting into the act now. Exciting times!

Precisely why you should subscribe. I actually withdrew one story that had been made public because I'm through being Mr. Goodbar, people. It's not like I'm making Andrew Sullivan money, because unlike Captain Caliper's Substack mine does not flatter the imaginary grievances of honky douchebags, but tells the hard truth to a uncomprehending and contemptuous world with the satire and exegesis it, alas, is too depraved to know it needs. Get in on the ground floor of my lost cause and subscribe!

•   Couldn't we all use a little good news? Of course, that any one of these gruesome specimens will probably be Ohio governor is not good news, but it's nice to see that even Buckeye Republicans can apparently smell the fraudulence of Thiel-backed fascist J.D. Vance:

I've had this guy's number from jump (a Rod Dreher endorsement is usually as much warning as you need). And while I can sort of understand the appeal of some GOP assholes -- I've read enough Nick Fury comics to get why a certain kind of guy would like the insufferable Dan Crenshaw, for example -- so many of the media's favorite rightwing grifters are so obviously repulsive that I can't imagine normal people cottoning to them, whatever their politics. Ron DeSantis, for instance, seems to me a replacement-level 50s B-movie goon whom Lee J. Cobb told to get a manicure and a nice suit and try and look gubernatorial. Mike Pence is a wet sack of nothing and Greg Abbott is a pig-eyed creep. If any of these people tried to sell you an encyclopedia, tell me you wouldn't shut the door in his face! So it's encouraging to know that people see through at least one of these wet noodles.

Friday, April 16, 2021


Someone reminded me of the Voidoids recently.
The big hits like "Love Comes In Spurts" are cool,
but how often do you hear this?

•   So many wonderful Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issues to choose from this week! (Why not subscribe? It's cheap!) But I can't go giving away the store, so here are two: one on the latest round of police excuses for killing unarmed black men, and another taking you through a day in the life of J.D. Vance, who has been preparing for his Ohio Senate run by becoming more fascist. His most recent goosestep is the punishment by legislation of corporations that don't overtly support rightwing talking points. I mean, get a load of this:

When you're too authoritarian for David French... well, you're mainstream Republican these days, I guess.  

•   At the Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg's "The ‘cancel culture’ wars are exhausting and useless. Here are five proposals for a truce" is as doomed to failure as any other proposed truce in this space, notwithstanding we may presume better faith on her part that that of recent trans-truce floater Andrew Sullivan. For one thing, how can I sign a truce that I have no power to effect? Take, for example, her suggestion that "liberals should agree it’s good for troublesome works to be available, while conservatives should accept context and content labels":

Keeping works in print and available in digital libraries would undercut complaints about censorship. A school might decide not to use certain Dr. Seuss books, but parents could still seek them out. 

I already think "it’s good for troublesome works to be available." I'm troublesome as fuck, myself. But Seuss Enterprises doesn't want to put out the books I suppose Rosenberg is talking about, and they own the books. Similarly, National Review doesn't want to publish my columns. That's capitalism, comrade! 

I do approve of her first proposal: "make it harder for skittish employers to fire or blackball people over their political views." But as I keep saying over and over again, you can't do that with attitude and "standards" -- you can only do that by making laws that actually protect employee speech, which probably means no more "at-will" employment. And there's one whole side of this "truce" that won't go for that. 

Friday, February 26, 2021


I had heard Carla Bruni had been a songwriter and singer
before she married Sarkozy, but I didn't know she was good.

•   Let's start with some free issues from this week's Roy Edroso Breaks It Down (I do five of these every week! I'm an unstoppable content machine!): The one about small-time secessionists and what they say about the conservative movement, and a special sneak preview of the revival of Frasier

•   I'm against the strike on whatever-it-is in Syria for the same reason I'm always against these things no matter who's in charge -- our record in the Middle East is a serial clusterfuck that, it's fair to assume, every new assault will simply painfully prolong. (And at least Obama had the excuse that he was black and if he'd failed to do any war-on-terror and there happened to be any 9/11ness stateside, he would have been lynched.) I could be persuaded by a good argument but one never emerges. 

I see that, as usual when a Democrat is in office, conservatives are also denouncing Biden's attack -- some with a twist: Here's a Twitter thread with video of an Assad speech, purportedly against "neoliberalism" on the grounds that it promotes "degeneracy" like "gay marriage," offered as a defense of Syria against Biden:

My favorite response: "he's right except for the marijuana part.  There is lots of scientific evidence that points to it being very safe for consumption, and even less psychoactive than alcohol." Come let us horseshoe together! I suppose this could all be a hoax (though Assad has in fact used gay marriage as a distraction, so there is some U.S. Republican overlap there), but how would we be able to tell?  

•   Speaking of Rod Dreher, this is great: 

I went somewhere I wasn't wanted and talked a lot of shit, and people had the nerve to complain -- CANCELCULTURE!  

•   Wondering what the intamallectual conservatives are up to? Let's see, here's an article by Jack Fowler at National Review about the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Finally, something about the pre-eminent conservative research and policy institute -- I guess not everything on the Right is about Trumpian chest-beating and culture war. Let's read:  

Stanford Lefties Must Swallow Their Hoover Hate — for Now

It gnaws away at Stanford University’s woke faculty: Harbored in their midst is that nominally conservative outfit, the Hoover Institution, which more than a few professors hold as an infestation of the liberal citadel. It is, after all, named after a Republican president — never mind being home to the likes of Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson and H. R. McMaster (and yes, plenty of establishment GOP types, and even a lefty or two). And there’s this: The campus is visually dominated by the striking eleven-story Hoover Tower, which scrapes the Palo Alto sky like some right-hand middle finger. Housing vast and important archives (much of the contents are about the evils of Marxist-Leninism), the tower is crowned by a 48-bell carillon that no doubt triggers faculty and students with the occasional auditory reminder of Hoover’s confounding and unwelcome presence.

 OK, scratch that, it really is all Owning The Libs, even if it comes in academic robes. 

I mean even J.D. Vance has given up on his  "outreach" pretense -- remember when his "Barack Obama and Me" thing was published by the easy marks at the New York Times? "Here was the president of the United States, a man whose history looked something like mine but whose future contained something I wanted... For at a pivotal time in my life, Barack Obama gave me hope that a boy who grew up like me could still achieve the most important of my dreams..." 

LOL. Here's a Fox News report on Vance's recent appearance on Tucker Carlson: "Identity politics, critical race theory 'destroying our society': J.D. Vance." 

Yep, J.D.'s hitting that cancel-culture-war grift hard. No wonder: There's an Ohio Senate nomination race in the offing and, as NBC News puts it, "Competition for 'Trump lane' heats up" --  to win, Vance will have to beat Jane Timken, who NBC says is "offering herself as a 'conservative disrupter' who helped sweep out moderate allies of Ohio’s anti-Trump former governor, John Kasich," and Josh Mandel, who "tweeted an old photo of [Timken] embracing Kasich, signaling how he will move aggressively to frame her as insufficiently loyal to the Trump cause."  Vance is gonna have to put on a heap of war paint to obscure the stigma of having once spoken warmly of the Kenyan Pretender!

Friday, May 03, 2019


 Let this wash that piece of shit job out of your mind.

•   Another week, another wingnut blubbering he's been deplatformed. No, I'm not talking about Milo Yabbadabbado, Alex Jones, Laura Loomer and the rest of those clowns kicked off Facebook -- I mean former Federal Reserve Board nominee Stephen Moore, who takes to the Wall Street Journal to cry "the left and the media instantly launched a relentless campaign against me. Last week a reporter who has covered the Fed for 30 years told me he’d never seen anything like it." And that reporter's name was Trump's Friend Jim. Moore says he was prepared to defend his belief that "economic growth does not cause inflation," a libertarian article of faith like trickle-down, but now he'll never get the chance because the big bad media "called [me] an adulterer, a misogynist, a tax cheat, a deadbeat dad, antigay and mentally unfit."

Well, Stevie baby, truth is an absolute defense:
Court records in Virginia obtained by the Guardian show Moore, 59, was reprimanded by a judge in November 2012 for failing to pay Allison Moore more than $300,000 in spousal support, child support and money owed under their divorce settlement. 
Moore continued failing to pay, according to the court filings, prompting the judge to order the sale of his house to satisfy the debt in 2013. But this process was halted by his ex-wife after Moore paid her about two-thirds of what he owed, the filings say... 
The 2010 divorce filing from Moore’s wife said he had destroyed their marriage through adultery, after creating two accounts on the dating website and beginning an affair with a woman early in 2010. 
Moore is said to have discussed the affair “openly and tastelessly” with his then wife, and to have said at one point: “I have two women, and what’s really bad is when they fight over you.” He also left evidence of the relationship around the home, the filing said... 
The Guardian revealed this week that Moore owes the US government $75,000 according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Moore disputes the government’s claim and blames confusion over tax deductions relating to his child support and alimony payments...
....which he didn't pay. As for anti-LGBT remarks, Moore's only had a few of those ("This is a state where the legislature recently approved a measure to give 'equal rights' to transvestites"); what he really hates is women, and the idea they have equal rights with men. He's also big on the ascendant David French conservative theory that women should be paid less so men can do better ("If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable?").

The punch line is classic conservative victimology: After snarling about the "gutter" press unfairly reporting on a public figure nominated to a powerful government position, the mud-spattered Moore bravely draws himself up and proclaims:
I realize now that I should have known better. Someone as outspoken as I am, and with a paper trail two miles long, is bound to be a target in today’s political environment. I should have warned the president about skeletons in my closet.
"In hindsight I should have warned Trump that I was a scumbag" is just intrinscially funny, but it gets better:
Still, some good has come of all this. Because of all this attention, unwelcome as it was, my mantra that growth doesn’t cause inflation seems to be taking hold.
If my downfall yet allows the economy to be destroyed, I'll think the sacrifice well worth it, like Billy Mitchell! I must say, I don't know him well enough to say whether he believes this bullshit, but if he doesn't he has my admiration and I can't imagine why Trump cut him loose.

•   Maybe it's just me but I seem to be seeing a lot of tub-thumping for capitalism these days -- like we can't just take it for granted that it's good anymore, the folks who usually spend their time telling us that abortion is murder and immigrants are scum have to be enlisted to cheerlead. At National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru looks at dire poll results for our Poor Get Poorer and So Do The Middle-Class economy and smells hope:
When Americans answer polls, they express less and less confidence in free-market capitalism — even as they express more and more satisfaction about economic conditions. 
Perhaps people are evaluating these questions against different time horizons. They may, that is, think that the economy is performing well at the moment but has become less capable of delivering broad-based prosperity over the course of a generation. If today’s conditions persist long enough, then, the reputation of capitalism may recover.
To put it another way: the saps are catching on, but they don't know how bad it is, so we can bamboozle them back -- Ponnuru's idea is to tell them to appreciate their "non-wage benefits" like their health plans (for those who have them, that is, which under Trump is seven million less than it used to be and going down; and of course the plans are getting shittier), and that "a common method of adjusting for inflation... overdoes it," so everything isn't getting too expensive like you think, you're deluded by socialism! Ponnuru's solution for that: "reform of our monetary regime" (get Stephen Moore in there!) and deregulation. Can I get an Amen!

And at the Wall Street Journal Peggy Noonan tells us not to worry, the real Republicans who've been subjugating themselves to Donald Trump will soon rise again, just you wait, and this time "the federal government will not become smaller or less expensive in our lifetimes" -- but that money will not be spent to give you moochers health care or guaranteed incomes, no sir, but to create make-work projects for "the lost boys of the working and middle classes." Can't you just imagine President Pence bringing back the WPA, only with more moral scolding? (Of course "lost boys" will wind up in camps with refugees, to die by neglect or be diddled by pastors and priests.) Also "resolving the mental-health crisis" i.e. putting crazy people in nuthouses where we don't have to look at them. But above all we must have faith in "the system that yielded all our wealth and allowed us to be generous with the world and with ourselves -- free-market capitalism. Only the GOP can do this, because Republicans genuinely love economic freedom." That's a refreshing change of message that's bound to lead to invigorating changes in American life, huh?

If we can't elect Warren or Sanders I expect the Buttigieg/J.D. Vance ticket to lose 45 states and Trump to declare capitalism the state religion and "I got mine, don't worry about yours" the motto on our coinage.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019


Well, Mayor Pete Boot Edge Edge just got the kiss of death: A glowing review from David Brooks.
In a recent Iowa poll he surged to third place. His campaign just announced that it’s raised an impressive $7 million since January. And I can’t tell you how many Democrats in places as diverse as Nebraska, Indiana, New York and Washington have come up to me over the last few weeks raving about the guy. I met a superfan in Frederick, Md., who says that every few hours she calls the campaign to give another $10.
Sorry but this makes me think: How does Brooks meet these Democrats, or anyone? When he dumped his wife he quickly married his research assistant, so he doesn't seem like a guy who gets around.
This is the biggest star-is-born moment since Lady Gaga started singing “Shallow.”
What'd I tell you? Don't start climbing the walls yet, though, because Brooks is about to tell us what's so dreamy about Buttigieg:
The Trump erahas been all about dissolving moral norms and waging vicious attacks. This has been an era of culture war, class warfare and identity politics. It’s been an era in which call-out culture, reality TV melodrama and tribal grandstanding have overshadowed policymaking and the challenges of actually governing.
I bet you've already seen the bothsides card peeking out of Brooks' jacket pocket:
The Buttigieg surge suggests that there are a lot of Democrats who want to say goodbye to all that. They don’t want to fight fire and divisiveness with more fire and divisiveness. They don’t want to fight white identity politics with another kind of identity politics.
They are sick of the moral melodrama altogether. They just want a person who is more about governing than virtue-signaling, more about friendliness and basic decency than media circus and rhetorical war.
Joe Biden feelz ladies up, and Amy Klobuchar hits people, so in the absence of Michael Bloomberg or a Care Bear stuffed with vouchers, that leaves all the Monsters of Identity Politics, Virtues That Are Not in Bill Bennett's Book, and Socialized Medicine, who are unacceptable, and Mayor Pete.
Buttigieg’s secret is that he transcends many of the tensions that run through our society in a way that makes people on all sides feel comfortable.
And of course there's one group that's most important to make comfortable and that's David Brooks and milky boomers like him.
First, he is young and represents the rising generation, but he is also an older person’s idea of what a young person should be.
Mrrowr hot.
He’d be the first millennial president, but Buttigieg doesn’t fit any of the stereotypes that have been affixed to America’s young people.
He doesn't talk with a smart mouth!
Young people are supposed to be woke social justice warriors who are disgusted by their elders. Buttigieg is the model young man who made his way impressing his elders — Harvard, Rhodes scholar, McKinsey, the Navy.
Cut of his jib etc.
Young hipsters are supposed to flock to coastal places like Brooklyn and Portland; after college, Buttigieg returned to Indiana.
He's like J.D. Vance except not yet an obvious fraud.
...Second, he is gay and personifies the progress made by the L.G.B.T.Q. movement, but he doesn't do so in a way that feels threatening or transgressive to social conservatives. He has conservative family values; it’s just that his spouse is a husband, not a wife. He speaks comfortably about his faith and says that when he goes to church he prefers a conservative liturgy to anything experimental.
He's the kind of gay person you'd like if you didn't hate gay people!
Finally, he’s a progressive on policy issues, but he doesn’t sound like an angry revolutionary. Buttigieg’s policy positions are not all that different from the more identifiable leftist candidates. But he eschews grand ideological conflict.
In other words, Brooks is sure that, as one of those geezers Mayor Pete looks up to, he can talk him out of the leftist stuff, it's not like anyone would notice. Well, let Brooks have his fun before he inevitably informs us more in sorrow than in anger that he has to support Trump because Democratic Nominee Fill In The Blank thinks he's racist.

Friday, January 11, 2019


See, I do so like new(ish) music.

I should like to extend my remarks on a subject I treated briefly in the newsletter, the sudden elevation of Tucker Carlson from rightwing TV rageclown to serious conservative intellectual. (Before I go on, PLUG FOR MY NEWSLETTER: It's called Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, it comes out five days a week, it's absurdly cheap and the money goes to support a good cause i.e. the continued shabby-genteel survival of me and the missus.) The Carlson speech over which many wingnut dummies have swooned is, to quote from myself,
...the usual Tucker Carlson bullshit, but with Big Ideas substituted for the usual dogwhistles. 
For example, Carlson wants to know, after people like him are gone, “What kind of country will be it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live? These are the only questions that matter." Normally this is where he starts foaming about the dusky hordes, but on this occasion he lashes out instead at... materialism. “Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones, or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy?” he cries. 
As longtime followers of conservative intelligentsia will have figured out, here Carlson is doing a Values thing; the bad conservatives only care about the market, but noble Tucker cares about the poor — now that authors like J.D. Vance have hipped him that a lot of those poor are white and living in red states...
Carlson’s yak is not any kind of an argument, it’s just shtick — leaning toward one group of rightwing intellectuals (the Values Klan) against another (the Free-Market Country Club). It may be very important to pencil-necks who imagine their debates and flame wars are deeply meaningful — like the “Reformicons” who pretended they had a hand in Republican policy just before Trump came in and blew them away with one of his farts — but to the conservative hoi polloi it means less than nothing...
If you're wondering why one of the leading conservative racists is trying to class up his act (and, say this for him, he sure knew how to get the suckers to bite), I suggest it's because he sees that, while white supremacy sells pretty good now, November's blue wave suggests limited growth opportunities for his franchise -- he's not going to break out of the Fox News ghetto into which Jon Stewart more or less shoved him by going on and on about dirty Messicans. Hence, the grand manner: He adopts an anti-crony-capitalist angle, and suddenly he's not just another shitbird, he's a Big Thinker, and when Trump implodes he'll be well-positioned to climb as a Voice of the Respectable Right.

Others among the brethren are sensing that a shift is necessary -- that's why they're all of a sudden running away from their old buddy Steve King, whose recent comments made his white nationalism too obvious to ignore. But they're not as smart about it as Carlson. At The Daily Beast, Matt Lewis tries to get "The Left" with a bank shot and winds up sending the cueball crashing through the poolroom window:
How Steve King’s Idiotic and Odious Words Help the Left Destroy Western Civilization
In his comments to the Times, King equated Western civilization, which belongs to all of us, with white people only. And that’s just what the hard left wants people to think.
Oh, you say authors don't write their own heds and subheds? Okay, from the body copy:
Men like Steve King see whiteness as a fundamental ingredient of Western civilization and, ultimately, of the United States of America. This is, by definition, a “racist” view. Moreover, it puts King is on the same level with radical leftists who agree that “Western civ” is a dog whistle for racism.
The racists and the people who notice they're racists -- both part of the same pathology!

Friday, November 16, 2018


Been a long week, 
bring on the body stockings,
solarization, and psychedelic cheese!

In a recent edition of my newsletter (he said, plugging it relentlessly; $7/month cheap!) I went through Salena Zito's post-election columns, in one of which the White Working Class Whisperer actually placed part of the blame for the blue wave on Trump. Granted, her reasoning was hilarious (she thinks Trump misapprehended his own voters as racist), but the really interesting thing about it is that Zito has heretofore done nothing but praise the guy -- hell, normally she defends him from his own voters rather than vice-versa, as now. Along with the Federal Society Conscience Caucus I mentioned on Wednesday, this suggests that at least some conservatives who've been gratefully receiving the benefits of Trumpism are now trying to weasel out.

My favorite so far is National Review editor Rich Lowry who, after running the infamous "Against Trump" issue in 2016, became a thorough Trump suckup. Today he's telling his readers that "Trump's not populist enough" -- meaning, I guess, that his populism's not popular: "For every Trump voter that it lights up," says Lowry, "it reminds a suburban woman why she hates his guts." Actually that suggested one-for-one trade-off would be far better for conservatives than the massive repudiation polls show he got from the suburbs; as to other voter groups that aren't voting Trumpublican, like blacks and young people, I assume Lowry finds them so unwinnable he doesn't even bother.

So what will woo the smallholders back to the GOP? "The midterms suggest that President Donald Trump needs to double down on populism," counter-intuits Lowry, "just not the sort that’s been his signature to this point." It must be "less stylistic and more substantive" -- and get a load of Lowry's lead suggestion:
It’s easy to see a rough outline. One focus should be work. Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute has written a new book, The Once and Future Worker, that is a guide to new conservative thinking on how to support a healthy labor market. The Trump team should crib from it freely.
A rightwing think tank tome lauded by Mitt Romney and J.D. Vance! That'll set the suburbs aflame. I can just see Trump holding it up at the lectern, saying, "Lotta good stuff in this book, work and the future, so great, so here's what we'll do, we're gonna send every man, woman and child a copy and let you figure it out, now when's golf?"

Also, says Lowry, Trump should be "talking about E-Verify" instead of Mexican rapists, and "explore alternative means of training and accreditation besides four-year college," which I'm guessing means vocational school. Oh, and "although you wouldn’t know it from the midterm campaign, conservatives do have proposals to deal with pre-existing conditions." Sure they do -- by exempting insurers from covering them!

But let's be kind, Lowry isn't trying to solve Republicans' problems -- except for those of one particular Republican, himself, and he's doing it by leaving some markers that may confuse some people down the road into thinking he did "Against Trump," then went into a coma, and next thing anyone knew he was recoiling in horror from Trump and offering True Conservative remedies. Ya gotta know when to blow 'em, and know when to scold 'em!

Thursday, August 23, 2018


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

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

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

Tuesday, April 03, 2018


It's always a treat to see the first-person Dear-Benedict-Option-I-never-thought-it-could-happen-to-me narratives Rod Dreher portrays as reader mail. Yesterday in a unsurprisingly worthless Roseanne post about how homosexuals are defaming America's Sitcom, Rod finished off with such a missive:
You are so right about how Roxanne Gay’s comments typify the rancor and
illiberalness that is tearing apart families. 
I am one of 25 first cousins out of a Scots-Irish “clan” from deep in the mountains of [Appalachia], people like J. D. Vance who made it out into the broader world through hard work and education, mostly conservative Presbyterians. We were doing fine for generations…until the gay lawyer cousin joined a PCUSA church that transformed him into a LGBT bully who publicly shames family members on Facebook for any view they hold contrary to him. 
He has become the family terrorist. 
Now this fine old family gathers for weddings and funerals in little polarized clumps, if they gather at all. I can hardly believe I’ve lived to see a tight-knit family torn apart by political views and ideology. I can’t help wonder how many families are experiencing the same sort of strife. 
You hit on something in your blog that currently plagues scores of American families.
One question: How did this lone "LGBT bully" shatter bonds forged over generations and shared by an apparently large number of godly hill folk? My guess is, he tattled.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 31, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 17, 2017


The kids are alright.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


Rod Dreher, who thinks a professor saying "Fuck you, asshole" to an anti-gay colleague is "Leninist and Stalinist," also thinks some effete writer-fella portraying Mike Pence as a rube in The New Yorker is a good reason to vote for Trump:
Holy J.D. Vance, Batman. They really don’t get it, do they? Their contempt. They really do believe they’re punching up, when in fact they’re punching down.

If Trump wins this election, the only comfort I will take from the victory is knowing that Douglas McGrath and the [New Yorker] editors who find that snotty condescension towards middle Americans funny will be wailing and gnashing their teeth.
Have I got news for Dreher! "Li'l Abner," "Snuffy Smith," Them Hillbillies Are Mountain Williams Now, The Beverly Hillbillies -- it's been going on for decades! And some hillbilly jokes have even grosser punchlines, too ("Get off'n me, diddy, yer bustin' mah cigarettes!"). It's a holocaust, culture-war wise.

One thing I always thought about country folk, though, was that they were tough, and that they gave us city slickers as good as they got in the humor department. But that was before such as Dreher became their spokes-snowflakes. (On second thought, let's not blame the honest Tobies of the hinterlands for Dreher's conniption fits -- I'm sure most of them have never heard of Dreher, which is just as it should be; much of the time I wish I'd never heard of him either.)

UPDATE. Speaking of snowflakes, wingnut blowhard and Congressional sore loser Allen West was slated to speak at St. Louis University and, as part of his pre-show publicity, told his followers "Folks, I’ve just been CENSORED" because his operatives "were not allowed to use the words 'radical Islam' on any advertisements for the event." And isn't that what John Peter Zenger fought for -- the right to control collateral materials for his upcoming speaking engagements at a private college? West further raved:
I along with the [Young America's Foundation] activists will not back down from this challenge. And if this is just a case of ill-conceived political correctness, we’ll rectify that. But, if this is a case of the influence of stealth jihad radical Islamic campus organizations such as the Muslim Student Association, an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, then you will be exposed. And I recommend to the President of St. Louis University, you do not want it known that a radical Islamic organization is dictating speakers on your campus — that is not the type of PR you really want.
To recap: Because his hosts won't have "radical Islam" on the flyers for his speech, West accused its Muslim student association of "jihad" and threatened to denounce SLU as enablers thereof. In West's world of perpetual grievance that's what fills seats -- and also empties them, it would seem, because when it came time for West to speak a huge segment of the audience walked out.

Try to imagine how someone with an ounce of wit or class would have responded to that; a humble "well-played" is the least you might expect. But this sputtering I'm not the snowflake, you're the snowflake! response at Right Wing News is typical:
The students were members of the SLU Rainbow Alliance and the Muslim Student’s Association. Now let’s remember these are the Lefty folks who preach tolerance of other perspectives to all of us. And now look at them acting like immature children plugging their delicate ears with their sticky little fingers so they don’t have to hear the horrifying fact that not everyone, gasp, agrees with them! Good thing they left the venue. They probably had to be checked into the children’s program and go do some crafts and drink apple juice.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The true definition of "political correctness" is "someone refused to endorse my racist bullshit."

(Since SLU is a Jesuit school, I expect this will eventually be portrayed as part of Tim Kaine's Jebbie treason.)

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Hey guys, Kevin D. Williamson finds something in common between the left and H.L. Mencken and Mark Twain. As you would imagine, he doesn't mean it as a compliment:
The debunking mentality is prevalent in both men’s writing, a genuine fervor to knock the United States and its people down a peg or two. For Twain, America was slavery and the oppression of African Americans. For Mencken, the representative American experience was the Scopes trial, with its greasy Christian fundamentalists and arguments designed to appeal to the “prehensile moron,” his description of the typical American farmer. The debunking mind is typical of the American Left, which feels itself compelled to rewrite every episode in history in such a way as to put black hats on the heads of any and all American heroes: Jefferson? Slave-owning rapist. Lincoln? Not really all that enlightened on race. Saving the world from the Nazis? Sure, but what about the internment of the Japanese? Etc. “It was wonderful to find America,” Twain wrote. “But it would have been more wonderful to miss it.”
Then Williamson lays into this "very left-wing American history teacher" he had in high school in Lubbock, and into Molly Ivins -- I guess because he dimly sensed that some of his readers would resentfully notice he was associating liberalism exclusively with America's greatest geniuses.

The teacher said mean things in class about slavery and capitalism, which Williamson took as some kind of mania -- "it was, for reasons that remain mysterious to me, very important to her — plainly urgent to her — that the American story be one of disappointment, betrayal, and falling short of our founding ideals" -- rather than an appropriate curriculum for sprats raised on blind patriotism and TV. As for Ivins, well, Williamson finds her a "lazy" writer (yeah, I know! Kevin D. Williamson!) and also mean to America like that commie schoolmarm, plus Ivins was born into money, which means her Argument is Invalid because liberals are hypocrites unless they're dirt-poor day-laborers, a kind of credentialing conservatives never apply to themselves because they're saved by Grace or some shit. (At present, they seem to offload their lingering need for prole-cred onto J. D. Vance and with affectations of concern for the poor white citizens of Fishtown.)

I don't think Williamson was thinking too hard about where he was going when he wandered into this dark wood, because eventually he tells us that while "a nation needs its Twains and Menckens" (though why we need them, despite his aversion to liberal scolds, he never tells us), nonetheless -- get this --
But they are only counterpoints: They cannot be the leading voice, or the dominant spirit of the age. That is because this is a republic, and in a republic, a politics based on one half of the population hating the other half is a politics that loses even if it wins...
If you happen to be Mark Twain, that sort of thing is good for a laugh, and maybe for more than a laugh. But it isn’t enough. “We must not be enemies,” President Lincoln declared, and he saw the republic through a good deal worse than weak GDP growth and the sack of a Libyan consulate.
Again, yeah, Kevin D. Williamson -- who has said that President Obama is "neck-deep in blood" because of abortion, that liberals are racist because they prefer successful Scandinavian socialism to unsuccessful Latin American socialism (and also because he projects his own fear of blacks onto them), and who famously looked at poor white communities in America and said, "The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die" -- now wants to bind up the nation's wounds! But first we must turn away from satire and anything that's divisive and entertaining, except National Review articles, and vote for Trump to stop Clinton but don't tell anybody about it because it's déclassé

Well, there's one bright side to this:  for a while we may not have to hear how great P.J. O'Rourke is supposed to be.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016


1. [Cameras catch TRUMP in the middle of force-feeding CHRIS CHRISTIE a cowflop.]

TRUMP. Eeeeat the cowflop. Chris. Chris. Eeeat the cowflop.
CHRISTIE. Why ya doin' this to me, Donny? Why? I been so good to ya -- Ptui! Yuk!

2. [TRUMP is on TV being interviewed by a robot over which THE SKIN OF ANDREA MITCHELL has been stretched.]

THE SKIN OF ANDREA MITCHELL. So, Mr. Trump, why have you called us here today.
TRUMP. Well I think, you know, I've been reading this thing, this book, and it's a really amazing book, really huge, by this fellow J.D. Tippit, all about what's going on in the working class today, and men.
THE SKIN OF ANDREA MITCHELL. Forgive me, Mr. Trump, but wasn't J.D. Tippit the police officer who was allegedly killed by Lee Harvey Oswald shortly after the Kennedy assassination in 1963?
TRUMP. Well, I think you'll find that Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy and didn't do any of that which he was accused of doing, it was all Ted Cruz's father, and Paul Ryan's too, I understand that he was involved in some way. But no, yeah, I have it on this piece of paper. J.D. Vance is the name of this remarkable young man, wrote this book called Hillbilly Heaven, really amazing book, outsold the Bible --
TRUMP. They say that, yeah, elegy, heaven, it's pretty much the same thing. But you know, there are all these great writers, absolutely incredible, like Rod Dreher and Ross Cowflop, who have taken this book --
THE SKIN OF ANDREA MITCHELL.  Douthat. Ross Douthat.
TRUMP. Well, you say it's Douthat, there are a lot of opinions. Anyway these really very brilliant, amazing men tell me -- though they don't have to tell me, I know -- that this Vance is very strong on the working class, very strong, and that they've had enough of these media sissies -- bullies, I mean -- no, sissies, they're sissies and they're bullies, it's a thing -- but anyway these media people, they make fun of these working people -- oh, did I mention they're all white! White, these working people are, I mean I love the blacks and the Spanish people but you know they're not working people, not in the sense I grew up with in the little storefront where my father raised us, 10 to a room, 20 to a room, 30, it was a lot, it was a huge number and we were all white -- anyway this guy Vance he, he really gets it, that the sissy-bullies, these people who can read and write and spell and their black friends were making fun of these working people, and that's what made them all into drug addicts and bums, it's really disgusting, we have to do something about it in this country and that's what I intend to do.
THE SKIN OF ANDREA MITCHELL. I'm not sure I know what you mean.
TRUMP. Get entirely rid of welfare, basically, so the blacks don't get it.

3. [TRUMP is standing over the prone body of a 10-year-old boy, surrounded by cheering fans.]

TRUMP. Look at this. Will you look at this. Kid doesn't know enough to get out of the way of the pile driver. If he'd been watching WWE, me and Vince McMahon, he would know but the schools, they don't teach the classics, it's really sad.
SOME OTHER CHILD. Take the bitch down!
TRUMP. OK, here we go, diving hurricanrana. You boys help me up on these ropes.

Monday, July 25, 2016


My fellow Democrats are less interesting to me than the gibbering freaks and glowering goombahs of the GOP, but what the hell, let's have a look in. At 9 p.m. I've been watching an hour of second bananas, some better than others (Bob Casey was earnest but not refreshingly earnest; Arizona state senator Pat Spearman was sharp and righteous; Al Franken should have woodshedded that routine, but there were some laughs).  I note that it's late and we haven't had our first primetime speaker yet -- and that's one of the charming things about this party -- every night is open mike night and nothing's on time! Not like Il Douche, who kept the disembraining running on time.

UPDATE. I like Sarah Silverman I don't care if J.D. Vance and Rod Dreher think that means I'm looking down on them. (By the way, I was born poor and it's not a sin nor treason to my class to enjoy words of more than one syllable and laughing at idiots.) And Franken's come in to turn it into Burns and Allen, or maybe Sacco and Vanzetti. (I wonder if the chanting multitudes are even listening.) And then they bring in Paul Simon! Who seems pissed that he almost walked into the guitar player's instrument. (Yeah, well, I hear he's an asshole. But for the Left!) He sounds like shit singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water." I bet Art Garfunkel is laughing his goddamn ass off. He's probably manically calling for coke and whores, screaming into the ceiling mirror, "THIS IS IT! THIS IS MY PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION!"

UPDATE 2. Eva Longoria accuses Trump of insulting her Mexican mother, and she sounds like she can back that up. Eat that, pendejo!

UPDATE 3. I like Cory Booker, but someone has to tell him that yelling isn't a signifier for sincerity. He's right, though: "Rugged individualism didn't map the human genome." It isn't the only worthy effort in our nation, but after Trump's convention and the conservative pandering to the most resentful, anti-education Americans, it's a breath of fresh air.

That was a great reading of "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" too -- as a call to love one another. "When we are indivisible, we are invincible." And now that he's smacking up Trump for mocking the disabled, veterans, and immigrants, his screaming suddenly seems absolutely appropriate. And "I'm from Jersey, and we've seem how [Trump] 'leads' in Atlantic City" is dynamite -- calling Trump out as part of "a handful of people growing rich... in a nation descending into crisis" is too. Booker is a big Christian -- not the hypocritical, shitheel kind we've been forced by experience to associate with the term, but the real kind that's comfortable talking about love as a force for public good. "We are not a zero-sum nation, it  is not one America against another America, it is you and I... when we respect each, other, stand up for each other work for each other against our challenge... when we show compassion and grace, then we are the United States of America, one nation, indivisible, that is when we are stronger..." Even the we -- will -- rise refrain is kicking. "From Seneca Falls to those who stood at Stonewall Inn..."

OK, bud -- you can shout if you want.

UPDATE 3. I've always thought Michelle Obama was kind of a pain in the ass. I mean, you've seen her looking tough at Barack, right? And, I admit, that led me to believe she wasn't thoughtful. But after a minute or so of this speech, when it became clear that in talking about her daughters and how she told them to deal with the cynicism and slander (including birtherism) that came with their father's Presidency -- "when they go low, we go high" -- that she wasn't just sharing a Mommy moment, she was really talking about Trumpism and the Democratic alternative to it. And when Mrs. Obama talked about how Hillary had been "picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughed" and "never buckled," I saw how brilliant a feminist argument she was laying down -- especially when she talked about how someone with the nuclear codes can't be "thin-skinned," and everyone knew what pissy little macho-bitch of a quasi-billionaire she was referring to, and how overmatched he was by this nominee.

"Don't let anyone tell you this country isn't great -- that we need someone to keep it great again." Amazing, for those of us who remember when the wingnuts tried to tie her to a fanciful "whitey tape" eight years ago, to portray her as someone who didn't love her country -- and then nominated a presidential candidate who fit their own fantasy perfectly.

These guys are smarter than I thought.

UPDATE 4. YEAH LIZ TELL THAT FUCKING RICH CUNT.  The BernieBros -- Christ, I voted for Sanders and I hate these sanctimonious pieces of shit -- are trying to throw her. But I've seen her speak in person and she don't throw.  Elizabeth Warren is not roaring like Senator Booker; she's reason itself, she doesn't wait for the crowd, she just invites them to catch up as she lays out Trump's many moral failings -- "the great Trump hot air machine" --  and sums up, "what kind of a man does that?... I'll tell you what kind of a man: A man who must never be President of the United States." She's so right than I'm going to take a break now, confident she'll continue being right. Back soon!

UPDATE 5. The crowd is roaring over Bernie's intro, and there's some tension over whether it will stop. Sanders tries to ride the wave, raising his arms, thanking the crowd, trying to start his speech, raising arms again... Finally he presses on, thanks Warren, thanks Mrs. Obama, and thanks his volunteers -- mere enough, after all they did! -- and thanks the "two and a half million Americans" who kicked in money (and he got the crowd to cry out the average contribution: $27!) -- and the "13 million Americans who voted for the political revolution!" There's a bit of cheer turmoil before he mentions tomorrow's roll call -- that seems to discharge their energy (maybe they think they'll win!) and they settle down. He addresses their disappointment -- and rushes so as not to be overtaken again -- assuring them "our revolution continues." And I'm thinking: Bernie -- you better give them something more.

He mentions "all of us and not just the 1%," and says he looks forward to being "part of the revolution, but emphasizes this is not about the candidates, nor about strategies, nor about things "the media spends so much time discussing" (HUGE cheer!), but about "the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and our grandchildren... ending the 40-year decline of the middle class." (He also refers to the poor -- "the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality today" -- but his is an old-fashioned, post-Nixon Democratic message; the middle-class is still the centerpiece.)

Sanders mentions the devastation of the 2008 recession -- when "the world's financial system was on the verge of collapse" -- and he acknowledges that Obama took good care of that, and thanks him, but adds that "much more needs to be done." That's splitting the difference! Now comes the next step, and that's the revolution. But first, 2016: Compared to Trump, "Hillary Clinton must become the next President of the United States.. the choice..." The crowd is making it hard for him to finish. "...this election is about a single mother I saw in Nevada with tears in her eyes told me she was scared about the future because she and her daughter couldn't make it..." This was a working mother, Sanders says, and he has faith that Clinton knows this woman shouldn't feel scared. Again, this is a mainstream Democratic pitch, and once you accept that, you can't be too pissed about Hillary.

Otherwise Sanders is hot on his usual topics. He stops after the words "Koch Brothers" to make room for the boos; he repeats "Citizens United" several times; says "brothers and sisters" and "oligarchy" and a bunch of the words that distinguished him from the neoliberals and have excited his followers, including me.

Then he does the hard sell -- "The Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate" -- and gently leads his listeners to understand that despite his and Clinton's "different approaches," they now have a deal: "83% of our population will be able to go to a public university, tuition-free!" Also, on climate change, "Hillary Clinton is listening to the scientists" and we can create "hundreds of thousands of jobs transforming our energy system." And she wants an "opt in to Medicare," etc. Negotiations were had; Sanders is satisfied. It ain't Jerusalem, but maybe next year.

Every so often he brings up Trump -- he describes Trump's policies, such as they are, with the same contempt that he's always used on the retrograde thinking he's been fighting within the party. And in fact Trump -- not only a literal friend to the rich and enemy to labor, but also an authoritarian and self-centered scumbag -- is, despite his alleged innovations in working-class appeal, a better avatar than Clinton or any other Democratic trimmer for everything Sanders, and indeed every decent American, has been fighting against.

Sanders wants to go further, and he's being given some room for it -- he wants to break up Wall Street institutions, he wants to stop the TPP! But he's willing, at least for the moment, to work within the system for it. "Our job is to see a strong platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, and Democratic House, and a Hillary Clinton Presidency! And I am going to do all that I can to make that happen!"

OK -- you have to be a total fucking asshole to say, screw this, I'll vote for Jill Stein and heighten the contradictions. Thanks for making that clear, Bernie. I'm glad I voted for you.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Just read Rod Dreher's rhapsody on Hillbilly Elegy, an autobio by one J.D. Vance about how he, a son of Appalachia, escaped the depredations of the holler thanks to Mamaw and the U.S. Marines. Dreher's main take-away seems to be that hillbillies (the ones who didn't get out) are lazy, sexed-up, stupid, and self-deceiving and they need Jesus and Brother Rod's Benedict Option, in stores soon. Here's just one depressing piece:
Vance plainly loves his people, and because he loves them, he tells hard truths about them. 
(That's the bless-their-hearts part.)
He talks about how cultural fatalism destroys initiative. When hillbillies run up against adversity, they tend to assume that they can’t do anything about it. To the hillbilly mind, people who “make it” are either born to wealth, or were born with uncanny talent, winning the genetic lottery. The connection between self-discipline and hard work, and success, is invisible to them.
Plus they's always a-fuckin' and a-feudin' -- "Marriages rarely last, and informal partnerings are more common," he tsks. Why, they're as bad as the blacks!
Is there a black J.D. Vance? I wonder. I mean, I know there are African-Americans who have done what he has done. But are there any who will write about it? Clarence Thomas did, in his autobiography. Who else? Anybody know?
Maybe the job of Black Wingnut doesn't pay as well as it used to -- I mean, I'm sure this guy (author of "If You Don’t Want Police To Shoot You, Don’t Resist Arrest") gets lots of high-fives from Young Republicans, but I doubt he's making Clarence-level bank. But whatever Dreher's problems with black folk, this is just a brief detour for him; clearly white worthlessness is his hard-on here; he loves that the enlightened hillbilly Vance got out because it shows how shiftless the rest of them are. In fact, he references Kevin D. Williamson's infamous hymn of hate for poor whites --
I criticized Williamson at the time for his harshness. I still wouldn’t have put it the way he did, but reading Vance gives me reason to reconsider my earlier judgment.
Thank you, Rod "Imitation of Christ" Dreher. (Isn't it perfectly Dreheresque that, though he feels himself closer to Williamson's hatefulness, he wouldn't "put it the way he did"?)

As I mentioned when I wrote about Williamson's column, Dreher's review is part of a growing wingnut literature on how badly the poor honkies have let them down. There are a couple reasons why it's growing. For one thing, obviously, the rise of Trump has got these white-collar conservatives scared -- for years they applauded Joe and Jane Sixpack (remember them?) because they thought the Sixpacks were sufficiently racist, sexist, and otherwise class-resentful that they would reliably return Republican electoral majorities; then, however, it appeared they'd lost control of their Monster.

But this tendency slightly pre-dates Trump -- Charles Murray's book about the plight of white "Fishtown" punters (and David Brooks' effusions over it) go back to 2012. So there are clearly other reasons, and I can see them, too. First, the demographics that created the second Obama victory shattered mainstream conservatives' belief that whiteness might yet save them another time. Second, white-collar conservatives noticed that when they raved about lazy, sexed-up, stupid, and self-deceiving black people, everyone under 60 years of age gave them the stinkeye -- but if they just ported their viciousness over to another out-group, no one except obsessives like me paid any attention.

In fact, poor whites' very status as an out-group may have been the clincher. When it came out that white working-class people had begun committing suicide at an alarming rate, the first reaction of David French at National Review was to blame liberal hippies for making crackers feel bad.  But four months later French had changed his tune: "No one is making them do it," he had decided; "...The economy isn’t putting a bottle in their hand. Immigrants aren’t making them cheat on their wives or snort OxyContin..." They were, rather, only the victims of their own "self-destructive moral failures."

In many ways, my friends, it's no fun to get old, but there is some grim amusement to be had seeing people who thought for years that hate had made them safe learning God's truth the hard way. (You may think I'm talking about the poor whites, for whom I have much sympathy -- after all, I come from them -- but I'm really talking about the guys who've just thrown them overboard and are about to find out that the mainsail won't hoist itself.)