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Friday, June 24, 2022


Before Mel Brooks, there was Bradley Kincaid!

Only one free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down item this week -- a prospectus for a new, boldly-bothsider, difference-splitting, ultra-neoliberal magazine. (Look, just subscribe already, OK? Cheap!) But alas, some of my older items about the end of Roe have become newly relevant -- all the way down to the insufferable attitude of Megan McArdle, who isn't necessarily against abortion as such per se, you understand, just the ridiculous notion that American women have a Constitutional right to it, hmmph! 

I already talked about this when the Dobbs decision was first leaked, but let me add a few things. I mentioned then, as others have, that as bad as Dobbs is (and it's a nightmare), it's not all they want to do; conservatives continually dump on all the other rights based on privacy, such as those decided in Griswold (contraception), Lawrence (non-procreative sex), and Obergefell (same-sex marriage), and those will certainly be next. The weak sisters in the conservative coalition swear up and down in the Dobbs decision that, oh no, they don't mean you guys, abortion is special because the Jesus people say it's babies. But Clarence Thomas blows their scene, saying out loud that of course we should revisit those cases

Don't tell me Thomas is only one guy, and particularly twisted -- he represents the mad MAGA berserker tendency of conservatism; I'm sure a few of his fellow Justices would love to get all the way to the promised land, and the next time a minority-elected Republican president gets to replace any liberal Justice, all bets are off. I already think of this as the Thomas Court, and Roberts' wistful, whattaya-gonna-do concurrence in Dobbs suggests that he's totally given up trying to make the shit look like shinola.

I know I'm not telling you good people anything you don't already know, but there seem to be a lot of people out there who think the real thing to be worried about is cancelculture or some trans kids taking hormones. So make sure to tell them. 

As for the shock troops on the ground, this Washington Examiner essay is a good indicator of where they're at: They're promising lots of love for the little ones women will be forced to bear, even including expensive legislation for pregnant women and babies -- legislation that, for some reason, they didn't find it necessary to promise before today. But the driver of it is not love, at least not as you or I would understand the word. "The goal," the author says, is "to make abortion politically unpopular, legally unobtainable, and culturally unwanted." The bookends they have not in 49 years been able to achieve, and there's no reason to think they can do it now; but the iron fist of the middle proposition will do all the work for them. 

UPDATEHere's a good thread that might lift your spirits! I know, for many of us it's too soon, but we'll all have to lift our heads up eventually and better sooner than later.

UPDATE 2. I should mention a bit of typical (but, in context, especially ominous) rightwing shtick that’s going on now: Right-to-lifers claiming that they’re the real victims, because they heard somewhere that crazed abortion rights supporters are going to attack them. In the midst of its ululation over the reduction of women to brood-slaves, for example, National Review makes this clumsy transition:

Our fellow citizens who reject the right to life for all human beings, tragically misguided as they are, have the right to protest against the Supreme Court’s decision. 

(LOL like they believe that.)

They have no right to threaten, intimidate, vandalize, or commit acts of violence. One of the worst causes in American history — the defense of a judicially imposed regime of abortion-on-demand — appears likely to end in further disgrace. The Biden administration will be derelict in its duties if it fails to keep the peace.

“Appears likely,” huh? From communiques pulled out of their ass, I suppose. Meantime I just saw footage of a truck running down abortion-rights protestors in Cedar Rapids.  Every Republican accusation is a confession. And, since this is in fact fascism we’re looking at, expect more of it.

Thursday, May 19, 2022


The days are busy, and as full of bad faith and mendacity as they are I can’t keep up. (Though I make an effort at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. Subscribe, cheap!) But sometimes a piece of pixelcrap emerges that I just can’t let it pass.

At the Washington Examiner Byron York writes about George W. Bush’s unfortunate moment during a recent speech at SMU, in which he meant to say "wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Ukraine” but had to correct himself after saying "wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.” York’s conclusion seems mildly sympathetic to the old war criminal:

But most of all, Bush's words at SMU conveyed the sense of a man who made a career-defining mistake that still troubles him, two decades later. It troubles the country, too.

Boo fucking hoo. But the real howler for me is York’s portrayal of how support of the invasion and war went: 

The war in Iraq has roiled American politics for nearly 20 years. In the early years, opposition to the war became a litmus test among Democratic politicians. Two of the party's presidential nominees, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, voted to authorize the war as senators, while a third, Barack Obama, avoided the test because he was not in the Senate when the authorization vote was taken.

In the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, candidate Donald Trump agitated the GOP when he openly described the war as a disaster. Trump did it in part to rattle his competitor in the primaries, Bush's brother Jeb. But Trump did, in fact, strike a nerve among Republicans who supported the war when it began but came to believe it was a mistake. Now, no one would be surprised if Trump at some point makes use of the new Bush blunder as new ammunition in Trump's battle against what used to be called the Republican establishment.

If you had missed the past 20 years of American history, you might get from this the (clearly intended) impression that the war was pushed through by GWB and the Democrats, and opposed by Republicans, especially the ones who would later become the MAGA movement. *

But that just ain’t so. Check Pew Research in 2011, when Obama announced that, as he had promised in the 2008 campaign, the U.S. was withdrawing from Iraq (which turned out not to be entirely true, unfortunately):

Since the start of the war, there has been a wide partisan gap on the question of using force in Iraq. In March 2003, with major combat operations ongoing, the gap was substantial: 93% of Republicans supported the decision to use force, compared with 66% of independents and 59% of Democrats. This gap persisted through the first year of the [war]. Across all surveys conducted in 2003, 90% of Republicans backed the decision to use force, compared with 66% of independents and 50% of Democrats.

Over the ensuing years, support for the war has plummeted among independents and Democrats plummeted, while Republicans have remained largely supportive. In surveys conducted in 2008 — the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency — just 17% of Democrats said it was the right decision to take military action in Iraq, compared with 73% of Republicans.  Since President Obama took office, support for the decision to go to war in Iraq has increased among Democrats.

However, Americans are ready to move on — 56% believe that the U.S. has mostly accomplished its goals in Iraq, and three-quarters of the public support Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops by the end of 2011. (emphasis added)

Also a lot of us marched and otherwise made our anti-war feelings known, as Republicans pointed and laughed at the dirty liberal hippies. 

If you’re of a suspicious turn of mind -- and with York why wouldn’t you be -- you might think he’s trying to erase the cold fact of a massively liberal anti-Iraq-war opposition to make it easier to peddle Trump and his minions as Right From The Start. If that seems like a stretch, think what other fantasies MAGA, QAnon, and all the big Republican constituencies have accepted in similar defiance of evidence and common sense. 

* Oh, and in case you were wondering, York was a big Iraq War fan once upon a time -- see his June 2003 column, “The Truth About Bush’s ‘Lies’”: 

…if the administration's case was a lie, then everybody, including much of the political opposition, was in on it. Just as importantly, if it turns out that prewar estimates of Iraq's capabilities were incorrect, the Bush administration can say — truthfully — that it erred on the side of protecting American national security. 

And he seemed to think the war was a great success, as described in his December 2006 column, “In war-torn Iraq, unlike here, there’s optimism”:

Presumably without access to The New York Times, The Washington Post and television news, millions of Iraqis say their lives are better than they were last year, better than they were before the United States invasion, and will likely be better a year from now than today.

Among the measures of victory cited by York: “In 2003 (in another poll), 32 percent [of Iraqis] had a satellite dish. Now it’s 86 percent.”

Thursday, January 06, 2022


In honor of the day -- I understand January 6 is a holiday in Lauren Boebert’s district! -- I have unlocked a Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issue on the crypto-insurrectionist bullshit you’re likely to come across on the anniversary of the attempted coup

While some old-time Republicans like Karl Rove have apparently decided they have nothing to lose by truthfully saying the MAGA mob “violently attempted to overturn the election,” those still on the payroll are trying to blow it off. At the Washington Examiner, Byron York scoffs at “Jan. 6 week”:

…the House Democrats who created the [January 6] committee want to use it to get Trump -- either by ensuring that he is legally prohibited from running for president in 2024 or, failing that, by damaging him so much politically that he will lose if he does manage to run.

This is rather like saying, “Having failed to convince the American people that Hitler poses a threat to America, FDR’s Democrats have resorted to war on Germany.” York also suggests that Trump was actually trying to reverse the attack he launched throughout the afternoon by tweeting messages like “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order” etc., because “at the time perhaps Trump's main mode of communication.” 

Cut to QAnon Shaman Jacob Chansley looking at his phone mid-pillage, then holding up a hand: “Hang on, guys!” he cries. “Trump says WE are the Party of Law & Order!” Everyone stops smashing down doors, shitting on the floor, and hunting Nancy Pelosi; they rub their chins and murmur, “never thought of it that way before. Could we have misunderstood him when he told us to march on the Capitol and ‘fight like hell’?” 

Yeah, you know it’s bullshit. Thereafter York offers legal counsel for the insurrectionist Trump (“Dereliction of duty is not a crime”) and does his best to signal to the goons and mouth-breathers in his readership that he, too, considers the investigation of the attack on Congress a mere political stunt:

You can count on [Democratic lawyer Marc] Elias to follow through. After all, his party reaped enormous political benefits from the dossier caper, and he is always looking for new ways, legitimate or not, to roil the system in favor of Democrats.

This is a little slicker than your buddies on Facebook yelling about false flags, but the intention is the same: to make it look like the attempted overthrow of your government was nothing so serious as to require consequences.

UPDATE. York has more January 6 bullshit today. The gist is that the coup wasn't a big deal because it was unsuccessful. It then devolves to a new mutant strain of bullshit: 

It is still not entirely clear why so many House Republicans chose to support the challenges, given that all the states had certified their results...

Some Republicans felt they stood on a precedent already established by Democrats. After all, some House Democrats objected to the certification of Electoral College results in the last three presidential elections won by Republicans...

York does not mention that those scattered and speedily voted-down Democratic objections did not come after a concerted attempt by supporters of the Democratic candidate to nullify the election and murder elected officials.

Friday, November 26, 2021


An old favorite.

•   Good news if you’ve been on the fence about subscribing to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down: I’m holding a Black Friday sale! Go to by tomorrow and get monthly or yearly subscription at 15% off!  That means your annual sub price goes from the already absurd $70 to, ludicrously, less than $60, and the monthly from $7 to $6. It’s almost criminal negligence not to subscribe at these fantasyland rates.

Here’s a little taste up front: A free-to-the-general-public item on a weird Matt Taibbi Thanksgiving column, in which he complains not everyone loves the holiday the way he does -- that is, as a boo-yah in-your-face sack dance over wokesters. He’s not ignorant of the genocidal backstory, he just doesn’t care, or rather makes a strenuous pretense of not caring because it Owns The Libs. 

•   At least Taibbi’s approach reveals something interesting about conservatives who basically concede liberal points but want to make them not matter. Most of these guys are far too lazy to go beyond “Happy Thanksgiving to everybody but you Biden rad libs.”  This Washington Examiner Thanksgiving thumbsucker runs the “House Divided” play:

There is no civil war today as there was when Lincoln first set a national day of thanks, and thank goodness for that. But the nation is clearly divided to an extent perhaps not seen since then.   

An insurrectionist rump trying to delegitimize the government because they no longer control it isn’t exactly a House Divided scenario -- it's more of House Stormed by Shitheels scenario -- but maybe that’s just me. (Republicans love the civil-war theme because, as I’ve said elsewhere, they yearn for a rerun of Civil War I in which their side finally wins, and also because it makes them look more powerful than they are because they’re the ones making the war faces.)

If that part of the WashEx essay hasn’t broken your bullshit meter, get the gaffer’s tape ready for the very next line:

Woke police have so captured higher education and corporate America that most people are now scared to speak their minds in the classroom and at work.

People have been “scared to speak their minds in the classroom and at work” for decades, if by “scared to speak their minds” you mean aware that if they started dishing out slurs and insulting their colleagues and fellow students they’d suffer consequences. And as their silence when the “free speech” issue is school boards banning books shows, their own personal right to call Sue from Accounting a tranny is all that term means to them. 

•   Hey look, a new COVID variant is on its way! Let me take this opportunity to remind you that back in early days of COVID vaccinations, conservatives were yelling that people who still wore masks in public -- whom they presumed to be liberals, because public health measures are liberalism now -- were actually making COVID worse by discouraging vaccination, because masklessness was a benefit of vaccination and, since Americans could not be expected to do anything that doesn't result in immediate gratification, they wouldn't get the shot unless it meant they could rip off the "face diaper" and dive head-first into a ballpit of virus, and masked-and-vaccinated people were making them feel like they couldn't. I will also remind you there have been little revivals of this rightwing anti-mask thing ever since, including recently, after the spread of booster shots, as shown by this Noah Millman column at The Week ("the pressure for continued restrictions is itself an expression of lack of confidence in vaccines... It thereby contributes to the anti-vaccine sentiment that is the primary cause of America's continuing high death toll from COVID"). Millman compares attempts by the fascist CDC to get us to observe these measures to the unheeded commands of decaying despotic regimes, and suggests that requiring masks in schools helped elect Glenn Youngkin in Virginia. If a new COVID wave, enabled by the recalcitrance of red states to masks and vaccination, sweeps the country, I predict neither Millman nor any of his fellow yahoos will reconsider, and will instead blame it on the 6.2% inflation rate. 

•   Tell you what, here’s another freebie for REBID non-subscribers who remember the good old days of Liberal Fascism: The inevitable next step for Jonah Goldberg, whom we may expect to try and cash in on his post-Fox-News cred. Lots of low humor! 

Thursday, August 26, 2021


When I saw the headline in the Washington Examiner, "The unvaccinated deserve medical care too," I was intrigued; who was arguing that they should not receive medical care? 

It would appear (though it's hard to be sure from her ass-coveringly opaque prose) Kimberly Ross -- who adds "it is unethical to suggest unvaccinated individuals should be relegated to the sidelines or refused medical treatment" -- means:

  • Dr. Jason Valentine, who "will reportedly refuse to see unvaccinated patients starting October 1" (I believe Dr. Valentine is not the only physician in Mobile, Alabama);
  • "In Florida, dozens of doctors walked out in protest at the number of unvaccinated patients coming to their hospital" (No, they didn't);
  • "NC Policy Watch recently posed the question 'Should the unvaccinated be a lower priority for health care?'" (OK, this one's close, though the NCPW author is talking about triage in overwhelmed hospitals, not refusing treatment);
  • "On Twitter, actor George Takei..." (LOL come on).

So what's Ross' actual problem? From her lede:

On Saturday, conservative radio talk show host Phil Valentine died from COVID-19. He had been a vocal skeptic of vaccines for months. While he was suffering from the virus, his stance on vaccines changed , and he vowed to advocate for them in the future. The news of his death spurred cruel mockery from some who believe he got what he deserved.

A similar reaction came when Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas tested positive for the virus. Abbott is fully vaccinated but has refused to implement another round of mask mandates, a decision that was met with anger. In the eyes of some, his positive test for COVID-19 was nothing but karma.

Clearly Ross' beef is that people are laughing at politicians and propagandists who not only loudly refuse to protect themselves from COVID but also try to convince others not to protect themselves either -- and, in Abbott's case, would use the force of law to prevent them from protecting themselves -- and then get hit in the face with a big COVID pie. 

For months we've been listening to rightwingers from Trump on down tell us that COVID is a hoax and public health officials are Hitler and vaccines are sus and wearing masks is delusional. You still see lunatics going off in town meetings and attacking schoolkids for wearing masks. Even when they're not literally violent, these people are usually enraged, belligerent, and offensive. You don't see many chill COVID skeptics and mandate deniers.

And we've all been bothsided about this: Be respectful, they have rights too, how do you know they're not right, it's a free country... Meanwhile the virus spreads through their homelands and surgeries and other medical care are delayed because of it. 

And then the virus speaks by killing some of these fuckers. 

It's like the airlock scene in Avenue 5 (above), where nuts on an outer-space vacation gone wrong convince themselves they're not really on a spaceship and clamber to "freedom" only to die immediately in the airless, frozen dark. It's funny. Grimly funny, but funny. 

And there is nothing on God's green earth that burns a conservative's butt more than being laughed at.

Something else about conservatives: When they realize their routines aren't landing, then, and only then, do they resort to pleas for comity and understanding. Thus Ross pivots to a sympathy pitch -- "In the midst of this pandemic, some are forgetting the humanity of others.. .There is simply no room for mockery, indifference, or active cruelty in the face of even the most tragic choices." 

Stop, you're killing me.

Friday, July 16, 2021


Been in an early-Dylan mood. I like to imagine Mitch Miller hearing
it for the first time and going "what the hell is this?"

•   OK, I have one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie for you this week (subscribers get five shots a week! It’s almost wasteful not to subscribe!). It’s about Buddy Brown, a country singer the culture warriors have picked up on because he does anti-woke and frankly racist tunes. As mentioned in the item (and at greater length in the comments), this is not an unprecedented niche in country music, but whereas someone like, say, Johnny Rebel would put out the rawest n-word-enriched shit and stand on it, and only the Klu Kluxers would pay any mind at all, with his slightly subtler material Brown is getting the free speech hero treatment from the likes of The Daily Wire. I have to say Johnny Rebel strikes me as the more honest act, at least. Me, I don’t want to ban anyone, but when people demand good citizenship medals for being asswipes I get annoyed. 

•   As even a casual reader will have noticed, the Washington Examiner is as reliable a Trump-ass-sucking enterprise as one can find. So it’s interesting to see Seth Mandel try this maybe-Trump-is-not-such-a-good-idea act on their readership:
Donald Trump’s cultural and long-term political legacy will be debated for decades. But his legacy for the Republican Party will be tested far sooner than that. He has the power to leave the GOP and the conservative movement intact or disastrously divided. It will all depend on whether Trump runs for president in 2024.

For the good of the country, his party, and himself, he shouldn’t.
One can almost hear the crowd growing ugly and breaking off table legs. Mandel rushes to assure them that “It’s true and recognized by people with open minds that Trump catalyzed some overdue policy shifts in Washington while making inroads with crucial voter blocs” – an interesting way to describe a candidate who lost his last election by seven million votes. 

Having mollified the crowd, Mandel returns to his point:
But that doesn't mean the party needs Trump as its nominee in 2024. For the 2020 gains were the party’s as a whole, not his alone. He was running in 2020 as a candidate more clearly aligned with his party than he had been in 2016, when the conventional wisdom was that he would govern significantly less conservatively than would other Republican candidates. Four years later, he had nominated three conservative Supreme Court justices and energetically defended religious liberty and Second Amendment rights — long-standing conservative and GOP causes.

This shows the conservative policy program is not in need of drastic reform.
Really? It sounds like he doubled down on “long-standing conservative and GOP causes” and (I must repeat) lost. (Maybe Mandel is trying to signal in a coded way that, like most Republicans these days, he thinks Trump really won.) It’s hard to say that Republican policy is broadly popular when the most high-profile Republican policies right now are 1.) Biden stole the election and 2.) Vaccination is a communist plot.

But Mandel thinks Republicans can win in 2024 so long as they cut loose of Trump, who alienates voters and divides the party, and unite the GOPs’ “ideological and establishment wings” behind one of the non-Trump-but-Trump-influenced candidates who “don’t scare either wing.” His “possible consensus” candidates are – drumroll, please -- Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, the two biggest pig-eyed scumbags in the party that have not yet tried to murder Congress to steal an election, probably owing only to lack of opportunity. The governor selling “Don’t Fauci My Florida” hats while his constituents’ COVID rates are soaring, and the one who let his people freeze in the dark and signed the looniest anti-abortion law in the country. That’s what I call a derp bench! 

This is why I keep saying conservative intellectuals are so weak these days because they don’t even have to try to make sense anymore. Hell. Mandel and all the rest of them know it’s all about voter suppression – the rest is just vamping for paychecks. 

•   At National Review Michael Brendan Dougherty affects to advise his readers on how to go about “Convincing the Skeptics” to get vaccinated. He doesn’t really do that, though – he mainly tells us that our public health officials lie and big tech is Big Brother and that’s why anti-vaxxers don’t trust them so too bad for you needle Nazis.
Public-health messaging that is constant but doesn’t address your actual concerns will, quite understandably, feel sinister and propagandistic. That’s doubly true when public-health authorities and major corporations have become so much more interested in censoring “misinformation” about COVID-19. Skeptics could already point to the lame attempts to suppress conversation about the lab-leak hypothesis.

The most serious phenomenon feeding skepticism, among the skeptics in my life, is the ongoing and bizarre public-health treatment of children.
Then Dougherty puts up a tweet about Fauci advising parents to mask their toddlers. (Note I say “advising” because, thanks to a certain interpretation of our beloved freedoms, we are hardly able to force anyone to do anything to retard the spread of COVID.) “People can see with their own eyes that our public-health establishment is not only anxious to censor dissent,” says Dougherty, “but is also habituated to lying about the risks in order to justify unnecessary public-health interventions.” 

Dougherty then gives his own idea of how someone might try coaxing the vaxxless:
An ad might acknowledge that indeed there aren’t long-term studies and cannot be any when we are responding to a sudden pandemic, but it could offer medical reasoning to trust that long-term health complications due to these vaccines are unlikely, given how few short-term complications there have been.

Wow that sounds convincing. 

A public-health campaign would give context to the information about vaccine reactions reported on the government’s own websites — such as the VAERs system — and explain how the government assesses them.
Think about the “skeptics” you’ve met or seen on your Facebook feed or elsewhere. Does this sound like something that would make them more likely to get a shot? Or would they just scream THEY ADMIT IT FAUCI LIES and demand hydroxychloroquine?

Well, then, guess that’s that – not even kissing the anti-vaxxers’ asses will do much good now. Guess we just have to hope against hope those scientists are wrong, and maybe buy some magnets and crystals. 

If conservatives had the kind of power and brainworms in 1955 that they have now, we never would have eradicated polio. You know it and I know it. I am sick of these motherfucking wingnuts in this motherfucking polity. 

Friday, June 25, 2021


The first Tim Burton Batman movie was pretty stupid, and so's this! 
But I'd rather watch this.

I know I just mentioned it, but the OAN guy calling for the execution of those he blamed for stealing the election from Trump is just too perfect an object lesson in modern conservative discourse to leave alone. 

First let us be clear about what this guy Pearson Sharp actually said. After some of the usual righgtwing bullshit claims of electoral interference, he uttered these exact words:

Despite their best efforts, the radical Democrats left fingerprints all over the country, providing a trail of evidence that the 2020 election was not only tampered with, but was actually overthrown, which raises even more questions over exactly how many people were involved in these efforts to undermine the election? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? How many people does it take to carry out a coup against the presidency?”

And when all the dust settles from the audit in Arizona and the potential audits in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Wisconsin, what happens to all these people who are responsible for overthrowing the election? What are the consequences for traitors who meddled with our sacred democratic process and tried to steal power by taking away the voices of the American people? What happens to them?

Well, in the past, America had a very good solution for dealing with such traitors: Execution. Treason is considered the highest of all crimes and is the only crime defined in the U.S. Constitution which states that anyone is guilty of treason if they support America’s enemies,  

So far, there have been numerous indications that foreign governments, including China and Pakistan, meddled in our election to install Joe Biden as president. Any Americans involved in these efforts—from those who ran the voting machines to the very highest government officials—is guilty of treason under U.S. Code 2381, which carries with it the penalty of death.

If you want to see his junior-high-debate-club delivery, or to make sure he’s not holding up a sign saying JUST KIDDING FOLKS, there’s a video, but those are the words, the meaning of which is clear to anyone who has attained the age of reason: He believes Democrats overturned the election and must be executed as traitors for it. 

Later the guy claimed that wasn’t what he was saying at all -- He was saying that certain people might be traitors and thus need to be executed. Talking Points Memo:

“No, neither myself, nor OAN is ‘embracing executing thousands of people,’” Sharp replied. “OAN is simply pointing out that if election fraud is proven, then it could very well constitute treason. And according to our laws, treason is punishable by death…”

“I’m simply reporting that conspiring against the government to overthrow an election, with the help of a foreign government, would be treason,” Sharp said in a subsequent email. “If that is investigated, and if that is proven, then US laws maintain that execution is a legal punishment for those crimes. That is the extent of the report.”

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is bullshit. Talking about how Democrats “left fingerprints all over the country” proving that they did the treason, then saying traitors should die, is saying those Democrats should die. Sharp also tries to cloud things up with a lot of yap about involvement by foreign powers, who of course not being American would not be guilty of treason – only their alleged American enablers would.

Talking Points Memo follows this with a video of some guy yelling about hanging on TikTok, offered as proof that the message was received as intended. But that’s unnecessary – like I said, if you are capable of reason, you can see what’s going on here. 

Maybe this explanation is unnecessary, too. Because we already know what these guys think, and how they’ve updated the fake-irony tactic of fascism: “Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies,” as Sartre observed, “…they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words.” 

If anything is perhaps necessary to point out, it is, first, that Sharp is being defended by conservatives who are not willing to say such things themselves (so far) but want it known that there’s no penalty for doing so. The rightwing Washington Examiner, for example, brushed it off as simple he said-libs said, saying on the one hand “the headlines that ensued… said he was calling for, or at least suggesting, that people be executed on the premise the November contest was rigged, as Trump has claimed,” but on the other Sharp said “neither I or OAN are suggesting anyone should be executed," so Opinions Differ; they also let him go on for many paragraphs about how the election was stolen. 

Second, it’s that this ruse gets thinner every day and when it falls completely away, and they feel no need to offer even their current laughable defenses, there will be plenty of people who’ll say they have no idea these people were fascists. They’ll be lying too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


I see that conservatives are having one of their periodic "crime wave" waves, claiming that, in the words of James W. Antle III at the Washington Examiner, "Surging crime rate spells trouble for Democrats in 2022 elections" (with neolibs like Ezra Klein saying pretty much the same thing) and, in the words of the Manhattan Institute's Jason L. Riley, "Shrinking Blue States Have ‘Defund the Police’ to Blame." (Blue states haven't really lost much population, but Riley thinks "lackluster population growth" is just as bad.)

Crime rates are up, but that can hardly be laid to "defunding," since recent big-city PD cuts have been small and sometimes, as with Minneapolis, resulted in zero force reductions. And many other things besides crime are out of whack now, considering we're coming out of a historic pandemic with its various dislocations. Also the increases are -- you will be unsurprised to learn -- not as dire as the professional panic merchants put them -- from my most recent Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter issue*:

From the most recent CompStat crime statistics report, for the week of May 10-16, from the New York Police Department: Murders in New York City are up in 2021 from this time last year by 22%; rapes are up 2%; and felonious assaults are up 5.9%.

Chaos! Death Wish! Etc. But the actual number of murders year-to-date 2021 vs. 2020 are 155 and 127 — meaning there have been 28 more than this time last year. Rapes went from 491 to 501 — 20 more. And there are 7,182 assault in 2021 vs. 6,782 in 2020, or 400 more.

The population of New York is about 8.4 million. Meaning, even if we leave out the tourists and other outlanders, the percentage of the city’s population that has been murdered so far this year is 0.00184%. The raped population is 0.006% and the feloniously assaulted population is 0.08%.

We won’t even speak of the decline in robberies (-9.9%), burglaries (16.1%), and grand larcenies (-9.3%) in the same period...

Nonetheless you'll see the usual suspects at City Journal and elsewhere talking about it like the return of Death Wish. It's been such a long time since those rates actually rose that I'm not sure if the old Ooga-Booga is going to work like it used to -- especially since there are more voters in the system now who have other things to worry about, and conservatives are basically talking about crime the same way they used to scare your grandma with it back in the old days. But it'll be interesting to see.

* I'm not making this issue available to non-subscribers because I'm trying to cut back on the freebies and get more paying customers in the door, hint hint. But here's yesterday's, about the future of Texas education laws -- still fresh, possibly evergreen! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Tucker Carlson's bizarre rant, calling for his followers to report parents whose children wear masks outdoors to call child protective services, has been widely noted. But Carlson is only pushing the current conservative line. For a long while the more prominent conservatives were cowed out of bitching too loudly about social distancing and other rudimentary public health measures because their hero Trump had so disastrously (and, for hundreds of thousands of Americans, fatally) bungled the pandemic, and Biden's return to sane policy and practice was clearing it up quickly: The drop from Jan. 11, when there were over a quarter million new COVID-19 cases, to yesterday, when there were 47,430, has been spectacular.

But paradoxically, that progress is emboldening rightwingers to yell that they're being oppressed by Biden, Fauci, and all you liberal mask-wearers. 

Among other things, Biden has been doing what a leader should be doing, and what Trump most egregiously did not: modeling responsible behavior by wearing a mask in a public. Today the Washington Examiner editorializes "Ditch the mask, Mr. President." You can see with what good faith this is offered in the very first line:

It’s a tough call as to which time President Joe Biden looked more foolish in a mask.

Was it the picture of Biden alone in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery, vaccinated, outdoors, and physically distanced to the extent that nobody else appeared in the intentionally crafted shots showing hundreds of gravestones?

Or was it the Zoom meeting?...

You might think it better that Biden overdo it than, as his predecessor did, summon hordes of bugchasers to mob up maskless at rallies and at the White House, spreading contagion. But the Examiner argues -- well, it's not really an argument at all; merely a line of bullshit that a maskless, virus-insouciant Biden would encourage vaccination by "showing the hesitant that vaccination has benefits would help the cause of ending this pandemic." 

Ha! No one on God's green earth believes that. Surveys show most of the vaccine avoiders are Republicans who probably think Biden is Satan and who would take him dropping the mask as Liberal Elitist Hypocrisy Cuomo Newsome Think Yer Too Big To Wear a Mask Well I Ain't A-Gonna Do Nothin' Bleargh. 

Herd immunity is widely considered to be achieved at 70% vaccination/infection (though there are arguments that this may not be sufficient). The most recent partly-or-wholly vaccinated American number is 141.8 million;  32.2 Americans have been infected, and if we remove the 573,000 unfortunates who died of COVID-19, that leaves about 172.6 million. The population of the United States is 328.2 million. Figure it out. We're closing in but we're not there yet. 

So it's really great the CDC has approved masklessness in uncrowded outdoor settings, but the Examiner editors, like all these guys, have no interest in beating the pandemic or even sensibly sliding out of lockdown, and will merely use it as a further excuse to bitch and moan because they're not getting their way.

Thursday, April 01, 2021


I've unlocked an issue of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down today about the right's gamification of racism -- that is, the way they confront the overwhelming evidence of systemic racism in our society with whatabout stories of black crime. This is an ancient strategy, really, old enough that I recall it from my childhood when relatives would tell me how those people were animals, always robbing, raping, and stealing; I've talked about the internet-enabled version in my "ooga-booga" essays, which when published in the Voice always drew an avalanche of racist and sometimes threatening reader responses. 

But the show of black electoral power signified by the Biden and Georgia Democratic victories have terrified the brethren into more intense and higher-level reactions. As is obvious to pretty much everyone, the wave of voter disenfranchisement legislation Republicans are rushing shows how they've trying to reverse the effect; but increased conservative chatter about (and attempts to ban) "critical race theory" shows that they're also afraid the increased sensitivity of younger Americans to systemic racism will make this harder for them in the near future. 

Hence the gamesmanship, which increasingly resembles the racist taunts of my youth. For example, here's an article at the Washington Examiner by Eddie Scarry called "Joe Biden is about to lock up a lot of black people." Tee hee, what a fun headline! What's it about? Before citing several cases of black people beating up Asian-Americans, Scarry sets up his gag: 

The New York Times reported that part of Biden's initiative will be "prioritizing prosecution of those who commit hate crimes" against people of Asian descent.

I guess that's a good thing, but what happens when prioritizing the prosecution of anti-Asian hate crimes disproportionately affects the black community?

You can see he's enjoying himself.

It will. Anyone tracking the sporadic incidents of violence against people of Asian descent lately will have noticed a pattern. The attackers are almost exclusively black men...

True, there was the recent violent rampage in Atlanta wherein a young white man killed Asians and a couple of white people at some Asian-run spas, which he said he did because of some weird sex addiction. Lightning strikes every now and then.

But as we've seen, this isn't a matter of white supremacy. It's very much not that.

This is right off the playground -- you libtards care so much about racism, well what about black-on-Asian crime? Undoubtedly in rightwing publications like the Examiner it gives mirth and comfort to conservatives; I wonder what anyone else thinks. 

UPDATE. Thanks to commenter keta for unearthing this story on Scarry's other service to wingnut comedy -- creepshots of butts.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2020


Michael Brendan Dougherty at National Review last May:

Horseshoe theory holds that at a certain point, the political left and the political right bend around and begin to get closer together again. You can see it on economic issues when Senator Josh Hawley is talking with Matt Stoller. I noticed it often among my fellow “restrainer” foreign-policy friends.

And here's Stoller himself on December 5, after Hawley "joined" (for some sense of the term) Bernie Sanders in requesting $1,200 checks for stimulus relief in the senate:

"Bipartisan cooperation a welcome sign on Capitol Hill" marveled the Boston Herald. "If our lawmakers can do it on stimulus payments," the Herald went on, "maybe there are other areas where the left and right can find populist common ground: criminal justice reform or paid family leave perhaps." 

"Josh Hawley, populism's philosopher-in-chief," swooned Charles Fain Lehman in a long, lubricious ode at the Washington Examiner that had Hawley denouncing the Pelagian heresy "that you can 'emancipate yourself from God by creating your own self'" and extolling "the original Populist Party" of the early 20th Century:

"It was a moment of significant social, economic, international upheaval, which we’re experiencing now as well,” Hawley said. “The late 19th, early 20th century was also a moment when the existing political coalitions were in a state of collapse and reforming, which is clearly what we’re in the midst of right now."

Populist and anti-Pelagian -- a 2024 dream candidate! Hawley also joined the more recent Sanders push for $2,000 checks -- even less likely to go through than $1,200  (and it hasn't), but a great way to keep the rubes paying attention. 

Well, today the horseshoe is on the other foot:

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced Wednesday that he would object next week when Congress convenes to certify the electoral college vote, a move that all but ensures at least a short delay in cementing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Turns out the dreamboat is just another crackpot grifter like Louie Gohmert and Tommy Tuberville. Being a boring old-fashioned type of liberal I could smell Hawley walking in. Here's your humble narrator in June 2019 on Hawley's lionization at The Federalist as one of two "Brand-New Senators" who "Cast Light on the GOP's Post-Trump Future" (the other one was, lol, Rick Scott): "Josh Hawley's the young, hip kind of theocrat creep who's bound to appeal to hypothetical young people who think like Roy Moore."

About the only good thing about Hawley is that his horseshoe-y idea to make Federal workers decamp to rural districts so's to make everything more equal-like -- 'cause he don't like no "cosmopolitan elites" nohow! -- inspired me to my Gulchville, KY Winter White House series*.

But gratitude only extends so far. When we talk about Trump being succeeded in the hearts of conservatives by cleverer fascists, this is what we're talking about.

* BTW that edition of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down isn't the only freebie presently available to non-subscribers -- today's Twitter feud among leading conservative lights is also yours for the clicking. Consider subscribing before your company's Substack benefits for the year run out! 

UPDATE. Some people never learn.

After January 20 Tom Cotton will start referring to Biden as "the so-called president" and McArdle will wonder if he's a body double. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


Back on November 10, days after rational people accepted the election results, the Washington Examiner's Eddie Scarry was not quite ready to concede them -- but he was willing to consider (just for the sake of argument, mind) whether Trump's litigation was actually something less than a noble crusade:
There are really only two possible reasons President Trump's reelection campaign is now throwing itself into legal fights over the election. Either the president truly believes there were enough invalid ballots counted to cost him the election, or he simply doesn't want to concede defeat until every avenue has been exhausted.

In the former case, the Trump campaign is right to head to the courts — you know, the place where liberals were most at home these past four years chasing the president's tax returns and stopping or slowing every part of his policy agenda.
Had to get that in there, because the next part, mild as it is, might offend his readers:
If it's the second reason, the lasting impact of Trump simply delaying the inevitable with a bunch of baseless charges of fraud and cheating is only going to depress his supporters and puncture a Republican Party otherwise set up for political success in the near future.
Not that Trump's trying to enrage his rubes with a new Lost Cause for future grifts -- no, he's just misguided; he doesn't know what damage he's doing to his beloved Republican Party! 

Well, Tubby's trail of laughable suits seems to have proven out Option B -- but Scarry hasn't admitted that, at least not in his columns; instead, he has counseled Republicans to be of good cheer because though they lost the election, they're really all winners:
Trump came out of nowhere, exposed a lot of our country's problems, and was even good enough to fix a few of them. His presidency was a success. Now it's time to move on.
"Fix a few of them," Scarry's link to another of his own columns reveals, refers to immigration -- though on what grounds he counts this fixed (or plural) is unclear; lines like "Immigration came up in neither of the presidential debates" and "No one has talked about the wall since last year" seems to lean toward a "you can't pin that on him" defense. 

Now, with approximately 99.9% of top Republicans still refusing to admit defeat, Scarry's got another column today, and guess what it's about:
The Left's post-election spite
It's fascinating to see how spiteful liberals can be, even when they win...
I'll mostly spare you -- since their (still unacknowledged by most Republicans!) Presidential victory, liberals were mean to Jared and Ivanka -- "literally, his children," weeps Scarry, as if they were Romanoff toddlers -- and think the people who helped Trump carry out his policies should not be rehired. But here's the howler:
Conservatives generally accept electoral defeat and wait for the next time when, hopefully, the results will be in their favor.
Generally, huh?  Meanwhile Lindsey Graham is still trying to rig the election results and Giuliani is trying to do his legal Rip Taylor routine in a Pennsylvania federal court. Conservatives are accustomed to having it both ways, so it's no shock to see some of them denouncing the victorious Biden supporters while others refuse to acknowledge they've been victorious at all. I assume this'll be the shtick -- "So-called 'President' Biden signs bill -- but is it legal?" -- for a good long while, maybe four years. 

Friday, November 13, 2020


Love that dirty sound.

Rightwing yahoos are still screaming they were robbed, and their claims just get wilder -- here's a genius who seems to believe (insofar as meaning can be discerned in the morass) that Massachusetts really voted for Trump, and claims footage that is almost certainly from 2016 is of UMass kids protesting Biden.

Meanwhile good-taste conservatives, who are more sensitive to self-ownage, are sloooowly backing off that position  -- but they're not all the way there yet. Byron York, for example, has been feeding the faint hope of diehards for days at the Washington Examiner. Two days after the election he was telling 'em, "There are plenty of anecdotal reports of things that look fishy, but it is up to Trump to present some evidence of irregularities." A week after the election he was telling them about "The election lawsuit Trump should win." He was talking about the one against the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to allow ballots received after Election Day to be counted. But those late Pennsylvania ballots were segregated from the others by court order, and total about 10,000 -- Biden won Pennsylvania by 60,000 votes. Maybe York didn't know that when he filed -- whatever the case, he sure didn't share with his readers, though he allowed in the last graf of his column that "In the end, the case might have no effect on the presidential election results in Pennsylvania. But that's not the issue at hand." 

York got a little closer to the reality the rest of us had acknowledged on Thursday, admitting the GOP "has not filed any challenge that appears likely to overturn the results in any state." He even pulled the traditional move of beaten conservatives -- crying about how mean liberals cancel-culture them out of everything they deserve:

Indeed, rather than focus on mail-in ballots or election observers in Michigan, it makes more sense to look at Trump's loss as the result of that daily beating -- a media establishment, an entertainment industry, academia, the government's permanent bureaucracy, and a massive special counsel investigation all trying to bring Trump down every single moment of his presidency. It took a toll. It had too [sic].

With the cause lost, York may have wanted to completely unstick himself from the humiliation before the weekend. But he scored an interview with Trump, which seems to have affected his exit strategy. Trump babbles on to York about how irregularities cost him "millions of votes" in Michigan and Pennsylvania;  York glumly observes, "It was definitely an optimistic scenario and one at odds with the current state of the race." 

You almost feel sorry for the guy. But then you remember that all this bellyaching is in the service of yet another Trumpkin distraction. Because fucking with elections is self-evidently the Republicans' stock in trade.  Trump flunky DeJoy’s USPS smash-up mishandled tens if not hundreds or thousands of mail ballots and the GOP pulled out all the voter-suppression stops, including the drive-through fuckery in Texas -- not to speak of the GOP's years-long gerrymandering and disenfranchisement drives. 

It seems Democrats have found some ways to fight back, particularly under Stacey Abrams in Georgia, and Republicans are scared to death by it. So while the screaming fits of the dead-enders are probably more chemical imbalance issues than anything else, the Republicans' extended indulgence of this "voter fraud" bullshit is at least partially motivated by a desire to get people thinking once again that their opponents are actually guilty of the crimes that they themselves got caught committing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


All proud MAGA choads know Joe Biden and all his voters are Antifa rioter-murderers who want to sell white America to Muslim Chinese Black Mexican rapists and deny Goody Godlywench her true place on the Supreme Court/under her husband's headship. But their worst crime is hiding from the American people what a swell guy President Trump is, and Lou Holtz (yes, that Lou Holtz) is here to set the record straight

Most voters only “know” President Trump through the lens of media coverage and public policy debates — but that doesn’t come close to capturing the true essence of a man who spends every hour of his working day fighting for the American people. 

 Whereas the president’s supporters tend to focus on defending him on substantive issues, such as making the case for his America First policy agenda, his critics gleefully assail him on a personal level, hoping to undercut the appeal of his message by demonizing the messenger.
The liberal media are always telling us how Trump mocks the disabled, calls for his opponents to be jailed and protestors to be beaten, calls veterans losers and suckers, loots the Treasury, cheats on his taxes, cheats on his wife etc. -- but they never talk about his winning personality. 
Predictably, the left employed the same strategy following the recent presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, launching a full-on smear operation as soon as the event was over designed to make the president seem like an aggressive bully rather than a confident, assertive leader compelled to forcefully defend himself against a tag-team effort by his opponent and the debate moderator.

"Make the president seem like an aggressive bully" -- boy, they must have used hypnosis. 

Unlike most politicians, President Trump doesn’t resort to fake displays of empathy such as kissing babies or crying on camera — but that doesn’t mean he is devoid of compassion or dislikes babies.

It's just that Trump's a simple guy doesn't know how to portray his feelings to the public -- it's not like he was in show business.

The American public doesn’t often get to see the human side of Donald Trump, and when that side does peek through his no-nonsense exterior, the media tend to ignore or misrepresent it.

Surely Holtz has a concrete example of the human side of Donald Trump to offer us, since the President himself is too shy to show it?

After I did some campaign appearances in 2016, President Trump was informed of how sick my wife, Beth, was and he called her and spoke with her for 10 minutes. 

I totally believe this. Also, Zappa took a crap onstage and ate it.

His conversation was to encourage Beth about how important she was to her family. It was a genuine concern for an American citizen.

Wait, actually now I do believe it. In fact I can hear it in my head: "So ya know, Lou's gonna do some campaigning for me, now how's he gonna do that without someone ironing his shirts and cooking his meals and whatever it is you frumpy housewives do, when you're not sick that is? So, lemme see, I got a few more minutes, whattaya like? You, you're a lady, you like flowers and soap operas, right? I was on a soap opera."

Whenever I spoke with him over the past few years, his focus was always on what he could do to help others. I have never seen him wallow in self pity when the media has been so unfair.

When I played golf with him, he counted every stroke, never moved the ball…he was the most honest golfer that I have ever played with. 
LOL, the true measure of a man! I used to follow the AlwaysAction Twitter account, recently caught up in one of that platform's half-assed sweeps of spam accounts -- and contrary to the Washington Examiner's portrayal, it was indeed a spam account, endlessly recirculating a small numbers of aged wingnut propaganda clips, mostly calculated to inflame the rage and racism of its fans. One thing I noted in their stream was a clip, also endlessly recirculated, from the Trump campaign showing the candidate signing an autograph for a little girl; it stuck with me because it was the only clip they ever showed -- indeed one of the few I have ever seen anywhere -- of Trump showing anything even faintly resembling kindness toward another human being. And this was from a hardcore Trumpkin feed! 

Maybe the reason people don't see "the human side of Donald Trump" is not because it's been concealed from them, but because he and his handlers prefer to project a Mussolini image of dominance and capricious cruelty in order to maintain his thrall over his authoritarian followers. Or maybe he's just a scumbag. Or both! 

Thursday, October 08, 2020


Here's my Veep debate wrap from last night. Harris did great by the standards of these things, never more so than when she was looking at the blowhard Pence in patient wonder at, as the feminist memes say, the confidence of a mediocre man. Conservatives in turn complained that she was conducting physiognomic warfare on God Boy. "Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris could be seen smirking, smiling, and laughing during Vice President Mike Pence’s answers during the vice presidential debate," sputtered the Washington Examiner, which enlisted "Republican committee member Harmeet Dhillon" to amplify the talking point by calling Harris a "smirking robot." "Her constant smiling and smirking didn’t work," claimed Joe Battenfield of the Boston Herald, who also claimed for Pence a "dominant" performance -- I'll show you headship, bitch! Roger L. Simon -- yes, The Man Who Created Moses Wine and one of the great buffoons of old blogging days, now writing for the Epoch "House Style 'Chinese Flu'" Times -- got it in the headline ("Kamala Loses Debate by Smirking") and if you think I'm gonna subscribe to read the rest you're crazy. 

These guys hate that women can speak without being spoken to at all, but when women give them insolent looks they go all Frank Booth (I mean, in a wimp propagandist way). 

UPDATE: Didn't post the link to my wrap-up before -- here it is

Friday, October 02, 2020


Billy was the real thing. 

•   They say Tubby got the virus but since they're completely untrustworthy we have to consider alternatives: 1.) It's the truth; there were too many leaks and loose ends to keep it quiet; like what would they tell his next audience of virus-targets if he's too sick to show up? 2.) They're just plain lying, using a get-well-soon story as a distraction from his disastrous campaign week; 3.) They're mixing truth with lies -- like maybe he just hit a serious cognitive drop and they're calling it COVID as a cover. Well, whatever it is, the guy will be low-key for a little while his goons do the talking. Byron York at the Washington Examiner:
Then there is Trump's role as candidate. Remember that the president, and a lot of Republicans, too, have mocked rival Joe Biden for "hiding in his basement" and appearing mostly in virtual events. Well, it now appears that coronavirus will force President Trump to adopt a Biden-style campaign, at least for the next 10 to 14 days. The Trump campaign can still gather big crowds, which he can address via video. But there will be an undeniably different dynamic to those events, because the president always feeds off the energy from a big crowd, and he can't get the same effect sitting in front of a camera.
LOL yeah, let's schedule big rallies where Trump's loyalists can watch him on TV! How heartwarming. It'll be like the GOP Death Cult version of Spartacus, or Stone Soup: The President can't give you the King's Virus himself, but several of you are probably teeming with COVID-19, so you can give each other coronavirus in his name! It's a Trumpmas miracle! 

If you prefer your idiocy mainstream, here you go:

•  Meanwhile, from slightly before Corona Don time, here's Rod Dreher:
Here’s why Donald Trump is not out of the game yet. It’s a ruling from two months ago, by the federal 11th Circuit, brought to my attention just now by a reader:
A Florida school board’s refusal to allow a transgender boy to use the bathroom matching his gender identity was unconstitutional, the 11th Circuit ruled Friday...
Dreher actually thinks his frothing hatred of trans people is shared by normal people and will be a game-changer in the election.
Like I said earlier, Trump was a crazy man in last night’s debate, and was a disgrace. It says something terrible about our country that this is how our president behaves. But we should also keep in mind that the kindly, respectable Joe Biden represents something truly barbaric — in fact, believes that there can be no compromise on the issue.
This is about what it means to be a male, a female, a human being. And Joe Biden is on the wrong side of the issue. 
[Hysteria Bold in the original.] This reminds me of this previous bit of Dreher electoral analysis:
UPDATE: New CBS News poll finds no Kenosha bump for Trump, even in Wisconsin. People who want the situation calmed trust Biden more.

UPDATE 2: A friend who read this told me on the phone, as we were talking, that he finds it impossible to believe that there was no Trump bump from the rioting — but easy to believe that people who intend to vote for Trump would not admit it to a pollster. He’s probably right. I wouldn’t tell a pollster if I was going to vote for Trump. Is that paranoid? Maybe. But I don’t think people are wrong to fear that this information is being recorded, and might be used against them one day.
Not too paranoid, huh? Then he added one of his Letters to Repenthouse "from" someone who feels exactly the same way. I have my own feel-good ideas about how this election could go right, but it seems weird to me to watch the guy say over and over again that maybe fear and hatred will pull it out for the Party of God. Well, I guess it's better than admitting that voter suppression is their only real hope

•  Sorry, I can't let the subject alone -- it's too rich. I see the Washington Times is trying to stir shit by sending out a Breaking News alert about this:

It's very obvious UUURGK BAD BROWN LADY TALK BAD ABOUT LEADER stuff, but stop and think: Why would an appeal to sympathy toward Trump work on his fans? They always talk and think about him as superhuman -- an impression supported by his pointed cruelty and brutality, which proves his disdain for human weakness. He doesn't get coronavirus, he gives it! Think about those crazy Ben Garrison cartoons (and the weird Trump-as-Rocky Photoshop sent out by Trump himself) portraying this flabby tub-o-guts as a buff he-man. Can they even imagine Trump suffering from a mere disease? Maybe if it were cancer, that would work -- people "fight" cancer, so the image of a Swole Trump battering the Grim Reaper might play. But a flu virus? That's like a Rocky movie in which the boxer plans a comeback against Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Boring! I expect that when and if Trump pulls through his factota will tell the rubes thrilling stories of how he refused the wheelchair as he lumbered heroically to the snack machine in the lobby.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but to me it's genuinely weird to see the President of the United States admitting that he's getting ready to steal the election.  

Oh, I don’t think so. I — we need nine justices. You need that. With the unsolicited millions of ballots that they’re sending, it’s a scam; it’s a hoax. Everybody knows that. And the Democrats know it better than anybody else.

So you’re going to need nine justices up there. 

"Hoax" and "scam" being words Trump uses for realities he does not wish his voters to acknowledge, it's clear he expects his shysters to push swing-state vote-rigging suits up to SCOTUS after the election, and he wants Amy Barrett Comey or some other reliable co-conspirator to rig it for him when they do. (Mike Pence has been doing the same thing, though in a less rough-and-tumble manner for the more delicate JustTheTip Trumpers.) (Update: Oh, yeah, there was also Trump's "get rid of the ballots" thing. Classy!)

Thanks to Barton Gellman at The Atlantic, we even have some idea of how they plan to do it:

According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires.

If you think they wouldn't try such a thing after the Supreme Court's recent ruling against the rights of faithless electors, you underestimate the ingenuity of their evil; anti-democratic efforts work best when they contradict common ideas of fairness, because they break the people's faith in their institutions. 

To prepare for this coup attempt, rightwing factota are already dressing the stage. Democrats have been bitching about the anti-majority nature of our Democracy -- two minority-vote Republican Presidencies since 2000, Dems getting played on the Supreme Court, etc. -- so Republicans are like, nah uh, it's you guys who are anti-democratic. James Antle from the Washington Examiner on 2004:

Literally in an election where some -- admittedly not all, not most, but not a trivial number -- of liberals were hoping Kerry could succeed in challenging Ohio's results, which would have resulted in him becoming president while losing the popular vote.

Who can forget Kerry's "Banana Republic Riot"! As it happened, Democratic objections in Congress to Ohio voting irregularities were dismissed by large bipartisan majorities, but Antle did his little to make it look like vote-stealing is the other guys' game and that's what counts -- to get enough of this stuff in the media bloodstream that Trumpkins can say "Oh yeah well Kerry said he should be president and that's the real fraud."  

And GOP Rep. Jim Jordan is pimping a House Judiciary Committee Republicans report called "HOW DEMOCRATS ARE ATTEMPTING TO SOW UNCERTAINTY, INACCURACY, AND DELAY IN THE 2020 ELECTION" that is utterly full of shit. For one thing, it refers repeatedly to "all-mail balloting" as if those of us in jurisdictions with expanded mail voting options can't vote in person. And it has howlers like this:

All-mail balloting -- not to be confused with time-tested and limited absentee balloting --...

Oh for fuck's sake. 

...raises serious questions about election integrity. To begin, states have notoriously inaccurate voter registration lists—one estimate suggests that voter registration rates exceed 100 percent of the eligible populations in 378 counties across the United States. 

Yeah, people on voter rolls die and don't bother to call the BOE from their deathbeds and ask to be taken off. Not sure what that has to do with voting by mail. 

As the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform found in 2005, voting by mail “remain[s] the largest source of potential voter fraud.”

"Potential"'s doing a lot of work there. That same 2005 report also says, "While there is little evidence of fraud in Oregon where the entire state votes by mail absentee balloting in other states has been one of the major sources of fraud." That would be the same "time-tested and limited absentee balloting" Jordan referred to earlier, and which Trump himself has praised -- a distinction without a difference on which the 2020 report leans heavily: We Republicans are not doing anarchistic mail voting, we're doing good Republican cloth coat absentee voting! 

The report does this kind of thing throughout: For example, it refers to the 2007 King County ACORN registration fraud case ("Prosecutors claimed the defendants submitted more than 1,800 false voter registration forms") without mentioning that none of the registrations the temp workers filled out led to ballots being submitted -- in other words, the system worked like it was supposed to and caught the problem. There's also a lot of guff like this: 

If states can allow violent left-wing extremists to riot and loot in person, then they should allow peaceful Americans to exercise their right to vote in person. If Speaker Pelosi can visit a hair salon without a mask in San Francisco, then Americans in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania can visit their local polling places.

So it's not a scholarly document, to say the least -- it's basically GOP propaganda but with footnotes, so operatives like Byron York at the Examiner can talk about it as if it's -- well, I was going to say the Warren Report, but no one's believed in blue-ribbon reports for years,  so really it's more like Chariots of the Gods? or The Secret, and the rubes will eat it up. As I've said before: Were it not for motivated reasoning, they'd have no reasoning at all. 

UPDATE. They're still dismissing this overt-and-not-subtle threat from the President as something you should just pretend didn't happen. David Harsanyi at National Review:

Not a single journalist or politician in hysterics on the social media right now — most of them having spent four straight years delegitimizing the presidency and the attacking constitutional order — actually believes Trump won’t leave office peacefully if he loses the election. It’s all an act. Trump, of course, gives his opposition endless ammunition to engage in these group fantasies with his reckless answers.

Just because he's "reckless" enough to say he'll do these things doesn't mean he's reckless enough to do them. If only one of these con men had the nerve to say, "look, he keeps saying he'll got a health care plan, too, and he obviously doesn't!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


If it's bullshit you want, what could be a more reliable source than a Washington Examiner "Homeland Security Reporter"? Anna Giaritelli reports from the wingnut pennysaver:
Amid weeks of nightly attempts to destroy a federal courthouse in downtown Portland, the bigger clash between the Trump administration and local city officials is overshadowing the initial issue of restoring peace in the Oregon city.
Giaritelli supports this "destroy a federal courthouse" claim with a link to her previous reporting, which documents no serious threat to the structural integrity of the limestone and steel building, but does contain sentences such as "The protests continued Sunday night as a couch outside the courthouse was torched."
Portland’s Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler has accused the Department of Homeland Security of overstepping its authority by sending in dozens of federal agents and officers amid the riots. The DHS employees have been observed seemingly arresting random people on the street and using tear gas to disperse people outside the Hatfield federal courthouse.
"Seemingly" is an interesting choice, as is the use of "observed" for "recorded for the world to see and admitted by the feds."
DHS data provided exclusively to the Washington Examiner...
...revealed 20 people have been arrested by federal law enforcement in Portland this month for attacking personnel or the courthouse itself. Several federal law enforcement officials have been injured guarding the building, according to a senior administration official. Wheeler claims DHS is overstepping his jurisdiction’s authority and going after protesters, but three administration officials working on the issue told the Washington Examiner that the arrests were legal.
Said they were legal, did they? I can understand taking the Trump Administration's word for all this, given its record of transparency.
While countless people peacefully protested the death of George Floyd in late May, protests in Portland were taken over by fringe groups seeking to overthrow the U.S. political system, including by decimating different types of statues and buildings. 
I'm trying to think of a building that's been decimated by protestors. Any ideas? Also, while I've seen statues either torn down or graffitied, I haven't seen any of those decimated either.

The bullshit and howlers ("In one instance, an agitator who pointed a laser into a federal officer's eyes was tracked down and then snatched from the street later that night") roll on from there. They are not meant to inform, certainly, nor to persuade intelligent observers in good faith, but to give cover to rightwing yahoos who wish to portray these invasions that have been rejected by the citizens and leaders of the invaded cities as good ol' law-n-order rather than fascism.