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

Friday, July 16, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


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

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


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

STREET HASSLE.

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

MASK OF THE RED DERP.

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

FROM THE "HOW COME THEY CAN SAY THE N-WORD AND WE CAN'T" FILES.

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

HORSESHIT THEORY.

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

THE GRIFT THAT KEEPS ON GRIFTING.

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

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

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

THE TRUMP YOU LOVED, THE TRUMP YOU KNEW, THE TRUMP WITH A SONG IN HIS HEART.

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

DON'T YOU FUCKING LOOK AT ME!

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

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

 
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

AND THE STATESMAN BECAUSE HE'S SO GREAT/ THINKS HIS TRADE AS HONEST AS MINE.

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

GOON SQUAD GOALS.

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...
LOL
...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.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

COMEDY = TRAGEDY PLUS SOCIOPATHY.

Byron York, longtime National Review propagandist now working for the malignant Washington Examiner, does a weird update of the old "you love blacks so much well what if they mug and rape you" shtick conservatives used to haul out whenever white liberals tried to be nice to anyone other than themselves:
WOKE DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. One of the most extraordinary stories to come out of the recent national unrest following the death of George Floyd came from a leafy neighborhood in Minneapolis called Powderhorn Park. After the Floyd incident, the residents, who are largely white progressives, decided that they would no longer call police if they needed help or if crime threatened them. "Doing so, they believed, would add to the pain that black residents of Minneapolis were feeling and could put them in danger," the New York Times reported. 
Word got around. Homeless people flooded into the neighborhood park -- there are now about 300 living in tents. Some are mentally ill. Some are addicted to drugs or alcohol. "Their presence has drawn heavy car traffic into the neighborhood, some from drug dealers," the Times reported. "At least two residents have overdosed in the encampment and had to be taken away in ambulances." 
That has made some of the residents a bit nervous. Of course they want to take a stand against the police -- what progressive doesn't these days? -- but it really is a bit scary. So the new neighbors are not quite as welcome as they were just a week or two ago. "I'm not being judgmental," one resident told the Times, explaining why she not longer let her children play alone in the park. "It's not personal. It's just not safe."
Ho ho, silly liberals! And one of them was recently robbed at gunpoint -- the gun suggests to me his assailants were not homeless bums -- and feels bad about getting the cops involved. York has a laugh over this, omitting what the guy said when the Times asked him about that: "Yeah I know and yeah it was scary but the cops didn’t really have much to add after I called them." (Come to think of it, how many of us ever get anything from the cops after a robbery besides a strong sense that nothing can be done?)

But the signal offense in York's column is that he seems to think the homeless people didn't exist before the liberals' "wokeness" summoned them -- like they were spontaneously generated. I can guarantee you they did exist, but were existing elsewhere, almost certainly in a less privileged community. York is ragging on the residents because they didn't have the sense to use their privilege to send the homeless to go bother someone who lacked their civic muscle and thus couldn't force the bums out of their neighborhood.

I guess the idea that, instead of inflicting the misery of our most desperately poor citizens on the next-most-desperately-poor citizens, we might address the homeless problem directly by, for example, giving them homes is too ridiculous for York even too contemplate. You know, like giving everyone health care.

Meanwhile the economy just shit out another million-and-a-half unemployed, many of whom will be swelling the ranks fo the unhoused shortly. I wonder how long blow-dried toffs like York will be able to keep laughing it off.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

A SILVER LINING.

I know we're all a little leery of horrible conservative people from the Before Times getting graded on the curve by liberal simps just because they're not Trump -- and I certainly felt that way about George W. Bush and his statement on the protests, which sounds like it was written by his former lackey and con artist Michael Gerson in full treacle mode.

But like the other ex-presidents beating up on Trump, its relatively non-unhinged message was nice not only as a change of pace but because of how it hit Trump loyalists. The best example is from Byron York, late of National Review and now laboring at the malignant Washington Examiner.

York starts with some shit about how, well, whatever the coroner and your lyin' eyes told you, the medical examiner's autopsy "revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," and York is surprised that Bush, like everyone else who isn't a cop, "appeared to reject the findings," and he must have some nefarious reason for doing so: "Perhaps Bush's writers liked the notion of saying that Floyd was suffocated and injustice and fear are suffocating the country. But the turn of phrase required rejecting the official finding of death."

Just so everybody knows where York's head is at. Then:
More remarkable was the fact that Bush said almost nothing -- literally, almost nothing -- about the riots, violence, and civil disorder following Floyd's death. At one point in the 507-word statement, Bush said, "Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress." Perhaps Bush's writer liked the looting-liberation alliteration. But to devote just nine words out of 507 to the nationwide convulsions after Floyd's death -- the very situation that prompted Bush to speak out in the first place -- seemed more than a little strange.  
What about the people who have died in the rioting? The businesses that have been damaged and destroyed? The fears of people whose homes and businesses were threatened by violent mobs? To say Bush gave them short shrift would be generous.
York's apparently mad because he and the rest of the guys on the payroll are pushing the "Protestors = looters and rioters" thing that's been working for them for decades, but polls show ordinary people are saying fuck that noise, and here's this RINO whose illegal war York and all the rest of them supported coming out against Trump's strongman bit -- just when authoritarianism needed a unified front and the Lawnorder Tinker Bell needed everyone to clap for her!

I'm happy to see citizens standing for equal justice under the law -- despite the fact that conservatives have conspired to make it a radical concept -- and pray for their success. But I confess I'm almost as happy to see this blowdried shit and others like him squirm over it.

UPDATE. Of course, Rod Dreher has to up the ante(bellum) -- here he reacts to former Trump SecDef James Mattis' denunciation of Trump:
Personally, I think it’s undeniably true that Trump does not try to unite the American people, but I find it insupportable to believe that the riots tearing apart America today are the culmination of Trumpism. What’s more, why did Mattis have nothing to say about the rioting? Not even a line? A military veteran friend says Mattis’s statement sounds more like score-settling than anything else.
Dreher's column is called "Trump The Girardian Scapegoat." Don't ask -- it's basically an intellectual way of saying "I'm no Trump fan but," The Oh you like Black Lives Matter well then you must like looting! shtick is all these guys have, now that saying who cares what happens to the darkskins is no longer cool -- thanks to the damn SJWs! I wouldn't be shocked if Dreher got in Black Bloc drag and started smashing Starbucks for the cause.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

SHUT UP AND GET A GUY TO EAT BUGS.

The overthrow of the mainstream media has been a conservative dream for decades, but in recent years it seems the mission has changed: Now it has less to do with pushing rightwing ideas into public discourse and more to do with making that discourse so idiotic that no one who spends time in it will be able to tell a good idea from a bad one -- which, to be fair, is probably a better way to get the electoral results they want than airing think tank assholes to explain for the millionth time why rich people pay too much in taxes.

We've already seen the effect of long immersion in Fox News in recent polls finding Fox fans are likely to believe absurd conspiracy theories, but after a few years of exposure to Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens and their clones I imagine a President promoting bleach as a cure for a new disease will no longer be seen as an absurdity but rather as an arguable point over which intelligent people can disagree.

Which reminds me of the Bari Weiss New York Times column on Joe Rogan, in which she hips her readers to the new podcast thing which is totally taking down moldy ol' mainstream media:
Imagine if I had told you, a dozen years ago, that the former host of “The Fear Factor,” an MMA color commentator who loves cool cars and shooting guns and working out, a guy with a raw interview show featuring comedians, athletes and intellectuals, was more influential than the entire slate of hosts on CNN. 
You’d think I was nuts. But it’s true. His fans are everywhere — I’ve met them working behind the register and wearing loafers at hedge funds.
Wow, lazy signifiers for the high and the low -- he sounds even cooler than Cool Kids' Philosopher Ben Shapiro! I've only seen about 10 minutes of Rogan rappin' with Elon Musk, and he seemed to me not to have advanced much from his days watching people eat bugs. But maybe I'm just prejudiced. Who am I to judge? Maybe --
While GQ puts Pharrell gowned in a yellow sleeping bag on the cover of its “new masculinity” issue (introduced by the editor explaining that the men’s magazine “isn’t really trying to be exclusively for or about men at all”), Joe Rogan swings kettlebells and bow-hunts elk. Men are hungry. He’s serving steak, rare.
-- ugh, forget it, obviously I was right the first time. When Weiss says podcasts like Rogan's are causing a "world-changing, brain-rewiring transformation in how we consume information," she clearly means they are continuing the Great Work of making us all imbeciles.

Making everything worse as always is Rod Dreher, who's not only excited by Rogan's new status as a conservative intellectual, but angry that the snotty, limp-wristed cultural commissars of the MSM are giving jobs to uppities like Nikole Hannah-Jones instead of to Rogan:
Joe Rogan is one of the most popular and influential media figures in America, but he could never be hired at an American newspaper. Seriously, the little Robespierres in the cubicles would raise hell, and the lily-livered managers (like college presidents) would capitulate. Alas for journalism. [boldface in the original]
There are already newspapers with people like Joe Rogan in them. Doesn't Dreher get the Weekly World News? But I hope his column is a harbinger of class-A conservative journalism to come, and that we see the Washington Examiner, for example, running columns by Joe Rogan, Johnny Knoxville, Larry the Cable Guy, and Lee Greenwood. They can even run regular features about how stupid liberals are to take their political cues from celebrities, as an inside joke that no one, alas, will by then have enough brain cells to get.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A MAYOR FROM JAWS OPENING UP THE BEACHES, FOREVER.

I noticed last week that the Washington Examiner, a wingnut talking-point distributor disguised as a newspaper, ran a story called "California doctors say they've seen more deaths from suicide than coronavirus since lockdowns." The plural is interesting, as the story contains quotes from only one actual doctor -- Dr. Michael deBoisblanc of John Muir Medical Center. The only other California medical personnel quoted is Kacey Hansen, "a trauma center nurse" at the same institution. (Conservatives have a massive hate-on for liberal California, and love to intimate that it is full of people who agree with them but are trapped in a dystopian hell by Gavin Newsom and his homosexual army. "California doctor says" doesn't put that vision over so well.)

Hansen merely expresses regret that her trauma center is seeing "so much intentional injury," while deBoisblanc seems to at least lean toward the obvious point of the Examiner article -- that the stay-at-home orders to protect public health are now counterproductive and should be ended ("originally, this was put in place to flatten the curve... our other community health is suffering").

The story is padded out with references to data showing that the stress of living in the pandemic is bad. One source is what could be generously called a meta-analysis from Just Facts, an organization probably best known for claiming that as many at 5.7 million ineligible voters cast ballots in the 2008 election; its current paper, "Anxiety From Reactions to Covid-19 Will Destroy At Least Seven Times More Years of Life Than Can Be Saved by Lockdowns," has also been promoted in another WashEx story.

There's also a reference to a "letter to President Trump" signed by 600 doctors (featuring, a quick scan reveals, members of the crackpot Association of American Physicians and Surgeons) "referring to the continued lockdowns as a 'mass casualty incident' and urging him to do what he can to ensure they come to an end."

I, too, would love to see an end to the lockdowns, though I would prefer Trump and his government achieve that by extending sufficient financial resources to our citizens that they will not be driven to reenter public spaces and workplaces before it's prudent to do so, and devote sufficient public health efforts to ensure that when we do unlock, we do so without unleashing a deadly second virus wave, as most Western European countries have managed but which we, despite our vaunted wealth, cannot.

Meanwhile the Examiner story has been spread by many other outlets -- some with headlines like the Examiner's that also claim multiple California doctors' input, though some are compiled and edited more attentively. If you're mad at those dummies crowding up the pools and bars over Memorial Day weekend, at least spare a dark thought for the ones who spur them on.

UPDATE, 5/27: Funny thing about Dr. deBoisblanc's claims:
But in an interview with BuzzFeed News, deBoisblanc said his comment about the hospital seeing "a year's worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks" was inaccurate. He added that at the time he didn't know what the true numbers were... 
Numbers provided by the hospital and the coroner's office also show that the "sharp rise" in suicides initially claimed by deBoisblanc, which alarmed political pundits criticizing quarantine orders, were either overblown or outright false. According to the hospital, it has seen five suicide deaths during the county's shelter-in-place order, compared to two suicide deaths during the same period last year. In general, Contra Costa County sees about 100 suicide deaths per year, and officials said that that's remained stable so far in 2020. 
"If you look at it from a contextual standpoint, I think it's accurate," deBoisblanc told BuzzFeed News when asked whether the number of suicide attempts treated at the hospital was actually unprecedented. "If you contextualize in concrete numbers fashion, it's not accurate."
"Contextualize in concrete numbers fashion" is perfect for this era, isn't it? Kudos to Buzzfeed News for running it down; most of us don't have time for that sort of thing, which is how bullshit like deBoisblanc's circulates in the first place.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

LET'S NOT BICKER AND ARGUE ABOUT WHO KILLED WHO, PART INFINITY.

I've unlocked a newsletter issue on the latest propaganda gambit from the brethren: That it was actually the Democrats (and experts quoted in health stories) who were downplaying the virus at a critical time, probably in an attempt to kill innocent honkies -- look at all clips of de Blasio and Pelosi telling them to go to Chinatown! Chinatown, Mandrake!

This is meant to exonerate Trump, not by an actual comparison with his actual actions (which from the dismissal of the U.S. pandemic team onwards is pretty clearly disastrously inept), but by making it look as if no one was calling for quick, decisive action -- even though Trump was on TV for weeks insulting and bitching about the people who were calling for quick, decisive action.

They've been dishing out the talking points on Reddit, leading to various idiots on Twitter trying to disseminate them. (Many use the "I'm not defending Trump" shtick; you go to their feeds, and they either have four tweets or it's full of rightwing retweets.)

It's always interesting to see them launch a new product, particularly when it's an obvious Edsel. It will be even more interesting to see who falls for it.

UPDATE: Becket Adams at the Washington Examiner: "No institution has failed the public worse than the news media during the COVID-19 pandemic." Unsurprisingly, a huge part of his story is actually about China, with Adams condemning the press for writing about "whether it is racist to use terms such as 'Wuhan virus' and 'Kung flu'" -- as if noticing that Asian-American people are getting physically attacked by racists over the virus somehow impedes the fight against the virus. (It's becoming conservative orthodoxy that racism is actually an important weapon against COVID-19.)

But the smaller part of Adams' story accusing the press of telling people "the virus was not as dangerous or serious as it sounded" (evidence: A Vox tweet in January!) is even dumber. For decades, wingnuts have been telling people not to believe the Lamestream Media, and to listen only to authorities like Fox News and Republican office-holders -- who have been spectacularly stepping on their dicks over this (here's the latest example from Brian Kemp in Georgia). That these hucksters would now turn around and ask the same media why they didn't override conservative propaganda to warn the populace is really in parent-murderer-cries-for-mercy-because-he's-an-orphan territory.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

KEEPING UP WITH THE VAN JONESES.

You remember CNN's Van Jones announcing, after the first relatively fart-free Trump SOTU, that Trump "became President of the United States in that moment"? Well, after a series of Presidential shit-scapades, in a recent coronavirus presser Trump apparently did not soil himself, so he's getting a new round of attaboys. Stephen Collinson at CNN:
He dispensed unimpeachable information based on fact. He called for national unity and seemed like he meant to help forge it. And he ditched his normal habit of hyping the best possible outcome to a situation with improbable superlatives -- instead communicating the gravity of a fast-worsening crisis. 
"It's bad. It's bad," Trump said as he unveiled a 15-day plan to try to flatten the curve of new infections to alleviate a feared surge of sick patients that could overwhelm the health system.
He said "it's bad" twice -- that's how seriously he's taking it! And later he showed even greater seriousness -- lying about his previous lack thereof ("I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic"). See, he feels shame, or at least knows how to fake it, which when you think about it is even more advanced.

Collinson's colleague Dana Bash:
Trump spoke and took questions at a coronavirus briefing Tuesday afternoon, after which Bash said, “This was remarkable from the president of the United States, this is a non-partisan — this is an important thing to note and to applaud from an American standpoint, from a human standpoint. He is being the kind of leader that people need, at least in tone, today and yesterday… that people need and want and yearn for in times of crisis and uncertainty.”
A guy in a bar at 3:30 a.m. "needs and wants and yearns" for true love, but he'll take what he can get, and so I guess will America.  Oh, and this is just from the allegedly liberal mainstream media -- his usual sycophants go even soppier, like Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner:
His sober comments came as the White House task force issued revised guidance saying Americans should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people for at least the next 15 days. And in a stark contrast to his early predictions about the virus going away in April, he warned that it could be into July or August until the virus "washes away." 
Trump also changed his tune when it came to lashing out at his typical enemies or refusing to distance himself from allies.
This is as if a mass murderer paused his shooting spree to get a drink of water and people said, "Note his new tone, there's every indication that he has rediscovered his humanity." Meanwhile his handlers are using the pandemic as an excuse to loot the Social Security fund with a payroll tax cut and shovel our tax dollars to bail out favored industries and corporations including -- get this -- Boeing. In other words, shit has not been magically transmuted into something other than shit by the power of positive thinking.