Friday, September 25, 2020


Yeah, Aretha's is better I guess,
but I like the street-corner drums and the generally swing.

•  Another exciting week in the Death of the Republic! To celebrate I have unlocked two recent issues of my classy and au courant Substack newsletter (now celebrating its two-year anniversary, eat shit Andrew Sullivan) Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. First, there's the transcript of a high-level discussion with the President about which pretty lady should be on the Supreme Court, with all the sophisticated politesse you have come to expect from this administration; second, a scene from early American village life in which the Witchfinder General lets the sinners know who the real bigots are. Enjoy! 

•  As previously mentioned, the President has made it abundantly clear that he won't accept any election result that doesn't have him winning. The Wall Street Journal sees the real issue -- Democratic overreaction:

The media and intelligentsia have worked themselves into a frenzy over imaginary fears that Mr. Trump will somehow remain in office by force if he loses the 2020 election. 

Chortle, chortle, and look at the innocent statement that led them to this ridiculous conclusion:

“Well we’re going to have to see what happens,” [Trump] said when asked to disavow this fantasy. “I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

Some nervous nellies think that's a threat, but you just have to know how seriously-but-not-literally listen: 

...Mr. Trump’s real point is that he wants to reserve the right to contest dubious election practices, such as post-election litigation to count disputed or late or unsigned ballots.

See, when our drooling monster goes GRRRAH KILL, he's only talking about a proportionate response to a theoretical clear provocation. Why do you liberals keep missing this? We keep explaining his incoherent roars to you, but you people just don't catch on!

WSJ leaves out Trump's "There won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation" statement -- maybe because they figure it would further overexcite their Democratic readers -- but eventually they have to acknowledge Trump demands a new Supreme Court Justice pronto to help him steal the election, and this the Journal bemoans as yet another unfortunate opportunity for the Democrats to make mischief:

This answer hands Democrats a ready-made line of attack in Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Senate Democrats will charge that Mr. Trump’s nominee is being installed to help him steal the election. They’ll also demand that she recuse herself from election-related cases.

All the damage to our sacred institutions Democrats will do, and all because our poor, drooling monster made an "oopsie." The editorial is longer than it might be because the author is obliged to talk at length about the Democrats' shameless voting-by-mail, not to mention their "thirst to be vindicated" for their paranoia with a "Reichstag fire." And plus which, I know you are but what am I:

As for a peaceful transition, last month the New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, participated in an election “war game” in which states threatened secession after a Trump electoral victory. No less an authority on defeat than Mrs. Clinton said recently that Joe Biden “should not concede under any circumstances,” in expectation of a drawn-out fight. Mr. Biden has predicted that Mr. Trump might try to steal the election. Who’s really plotting the coup?

Anticipating a coup and telling one's candidate not to concede if the head of government attempts one is, you see, the real coup. You can almost hear this poor editorial factotum wincing and wondering why they won't give her better material. At least Vince Foster was actually dead

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!"

Friday, September 18, 2020


 The Julie London version ain't bad either. 

Been busy and not on here much -- will try harder next week, but if you miss me, try my newsletter Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, wherein I'm contractually obliged to provide five (5) items every week and you only pay a party, miserly, seven (7) dollars a month for this cornucopia of content.  

Here's a freebie: Patriotic American History Education Module #1 from Trump Educational Industries. It's how I expect Trump will try to grift off his new Don't Tell Kids The Bad Things About America program. Until he can figure out how to get away with that, Betsy DeVos is peddling a "black history" thing called 1776 Unites, which has modules called "Living by the grace of God and the power of applying oneself" and "The Cult of Victimhood," which is probably how she sold it to Tubby. (Why they didn't call it Bootstraps U I'll never know.)

The first one is by Rev. Dean Nelson who, as a backwoods African-American lad, learned to shrug off incidents of racial prejudice like being called names and chased by a guy with a gun (!) but when he went to the Big City to study at Howard (cue sinister music) he got indoctrin-o-mated with "something like the thinking behind The 1619 Project narrative." As "a country boy, easily impressed by my more sophisticated urban peers," Nelson tried to get with the cool kids and "started viewing little slights in an entirely new way." Fortunately, as General Jack D. Ripper told Colonel Mandrake, he learned how to interpret these feelings correctly, and "decided that ignorant whites were no longer going to command my attention" and "I would do all I could to improve the situation of blacks in our country," which he now does by running "pregnancy centers" that browbeat "abortion-determined" women into bearing children. You can see why DeVos loves it.

Depressed? Hell, things ain't so bad as all that -- and here's another freebie with a bit of uplift to it. Toujours gai

Friday, September 11, 2020


 A treat.

•   For once 9/11 is your lucky day! There are a number of open-to-the-public issues of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down available this week (they're the ones without lock icons at the website), including today's 9/11 column. (The ending is almost upbeat!) 

On that subject, I have to say I was surprised by Paul Krugman's Twitter stream that starts with "Overall, Americans took 9/11 pretty calmly. Notably, there wasn't a mass outbreak of anti-Muslim sentiment and violence..." (The rest of it is unobjectionable and accurate about the Republican exploitation of the event.) I guess he figured, like the commentators who say police don't kill that many black people while ignoring all other forms of racist policing, that if there weren't public Muslim burnings things must have been chill. It's easy to forget that Krugman worked for Ronald Reagan and was speaking favorably of him even during the Obama Administration. This is not to suggest Krugman has been insincere in his conversion on Republican governance, but it shows that -- as with NeverTrump apostates like Jennifer Rubin and Max Boot who will occasionally remind us that they're still PNAC/glibertarian creeps under it all -- there is a distinct, clueless worldview shared by all accomplices in the last 40 years of misgovernment that in most cases persists even when the scales fall from their eyes in other respects. So of course Krugman would not think the anti-Muslim animus engendered by his old buddies -- and which persists today, not least in the form of a Muslim travel ban! -- was all that big a deal, really. It's kind of like people who say they're not racist who get pissed when you say Black Lives Matter. 

Friday, September 04, 2020



Happy Labor Day weekend. Take it easy -- but take it! 

  •   I haven't unlocked one for a while so here's my Monday edition of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, on the evolution of conservatives' that traditional hate-on for New York City; whereas after 9/11 they briefly pretended to care what happened to the City, now that it's challenged by COVID-19 they exult in fantasies of its death. 

•   As we get closer to the election, conservatives and Republicans are getting increasingly obvious about what they really stand for, and it ain't Small Government and Sound Fiscal Management. Here's a Facebook ad from Majorie Taylor Greene, a racist QAnon lunatic who stands a good chance of winning election to Congress from Georgia: 

In case you can't make it out, she's holding an assault rifle. Democratic Congresswomen Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar earned their office by proposing new policies and advocacy to their constituents; Greene apparently seeks office by threatening to kill them. And it's equally clear that while the wave of the Democratic future is young, diverse, and Democratic-Socialist, the wave of the Republican future is white supremacist violence. Remember Ole Perfesser Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, the O.G. rightblogger? He's still at it, and here's what he had to say September 1st: 
Stalin said it doesn’t matter who votes, but who counts the votes. But people know that now, and the months of (Democrat-incited) civil unrest have moved the Overton Window on political violence. If this leads to Democrats being hanged from lampposts, it’s their own fault.
You can see why double-murderer Kyle Rittenhouse has become a hero to these guys. Rod Dreher, need you ask, slobbers all over the guy; here's a post in which Dreher suggests that, because one of the guys Rittenhouse killed, Joseph Rosenbaum, turned out upon investigation to be a pedophile, Rittenhouse's vigilantism was justified. "The world would be better off with more Kyles and fewer dirtbags than the child molester he shot," ran the story's teaser, and Dreher wrote, "After reading those court documents, though, I can say without fear of contradiction that the world was not diminished by the passing of Joseph Rosenbaum." (Dreher and The American Conservative removed the line and the teaser later, I guess to show how Christian Dreher can be when his social anxieties are engaged. Him and Jesus are still cool with Rosenbaum and the other guy getting iced, however.)

There's no need to sugarcoat it: These guys are fascists, and their fight for Trump's reelection is a fight to make America a fascist state. Plan accordingly.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020


I think Rod Dreher has no more to teach us about how bad Rod Dreher is -- that is, he does not show unplumbed depths of mendacity, bad faith, and derp, he just does them like usual but sometimes dumber. We've talked a lot about his "reader" "mailbag" shtick, where he blockquotes passages allegedly sent to him by people who he sometimes vouches for ("a reader of this blog writes as a decades-long resident of the New York Congressional district just won [effectively] by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez") and which are often from liberals who are disgusted with liberalism, which always gives Rod some prodigal-son pep, and which are obvious bullshit -- either made up by Dreher himself or sent to him by conservative operatives or possibly trolls playing a deep game.

Anyway here's his recent account of a Thing He Saw On The Internet:
This is both sad and infuriating. It’s from an anonymous academic who posted it on Twitter as @publicola17:
1/ Woke anti-racism is child abuse.
My family is living the antithesis of @thomaschattwill's Self Portrait in Black and White. And I fear it may damage my children irrevocably.
Let me explain
2/ I'm white, my wife's black. When we met, we "saw each other's race," but we didn't think that was the most interesting thing about us. We foolishly thought our children would be part of a post-racial future, in which all Americans could just be human beings to one another.
3/ Then came Trump. I decided I should try to learn more about my fellow citizens, who I now realized were completely opaque to me. In contrast, my wife decided she was at war with an immutably white supremacist America.
4/ My wife began to read authors like Nikole Hannah Jones and Michael Harriot. She had a "racial awakening," concluding that she'd been "inauthentically black" all her life...
I actually had to C&P this from elsewhere because Dreher only provides a screenshot of this thing, which goes on to detail the alleged destruction of this poor guy's family as his wife does things like "regularly explain to our kids that the police want to kill black people" because "NHJ [Nikole Hannah-Jones] and [Ta-Nehisi] Coates are always telling her how traumatized she should be just because she's black in America," while the husband -- I shit you not -- looks forward to the day when his tykes can read Thomas Chatterton Williams and get clear.

Are your bullshit detectors ringing? Not Rod's! (Even though the @publicola17 account has disappeared.) He goes on for hundreds of words about what's "bizarre and twisted" about the woman and how "this is what the identity-politics left is going to bring to all of society: ruin, hatred, endless suspicion" and the Bible story about "when Jesus frees a demoniac by casting the evil spirits out of him, and sending them into a herd of swine," etc.

UPDATE: Some of you believe that the Publicola narrative is fake. You might be right. It resonated with me because, as I’ve said, I’ve known people in marriages like that...
More such gush; then --
Even if the anonymous man Publicola’s narrative is nothing but an exercise in creative writing, it still tells a truth.
 Punchline: Dreher's upcoming book, which he pimps endlessly, is called Live Not By Lies.

Friday, August 28, 2020


•   A few days after a white LEO fetishist came to Kenosha and murdered two protestors, it's Rightwing Honky Ginned-Up Grievance Time:
The Washington Times blubbers:
'It was horrific': Sen. Rand Paul threatened by protesters after the RNC
What was the threat? Here's the most violent thing in the story:
Protesters knocked one of the officers, who had a bicycle, into Mr. Paul.
I hope the poor man was rushed to the ER.

Making this snowflakery even funnier: This video report from a Washington Post reporter. Looks like both Paul and the protestors were in serious danger of being overwhelmed by news photographers. The usual suspects are shrieking over it: rightwing rageclown Sara Carter portrays Paul's hecklers as "unstable protestors and rioters" -- man, they love to call people who are self-evidently not rioting rioters -- and expressed terror that today's Washington protest will devolve into chaos and anarchy:
As crowds begin to line up early this Friday morning in Washington D.C. protesting what they say is criminal justice reform and racial equality, we must remain vigilant. Innocent protestors, police officers, businesses and citizens going about their own business will get swept up in those that are sure to attempt to riot and destroy the city. 
Worse, the fear that the situation could escalate to the point that someone could lose their life is very real.
LOL. I'll try and get over there later (goddamn job is in the way, gripe mutter) but so far the "Take You Knee Off Our Necks" gathering looks like a sedate church-crowd event. I guess Carter only knew the attendees would be black. Ooga booga!

UPDATE. Took a long lunch to run down and get a look and take some snaps. Got there as CeCe Winans was singing! !Lots of people -- probably bigger than the last big Lincoln Memorial protest I attended in June -- and a great feelings of revival, remembrance, and resolution. Had to get back to work but wish them well on their March. And as for the fools like Sara Carter who are scared of this -- in a way, you should be.

Thursday, August 27, 2020


I'm releasing today's newsletter to the public: Another White House scene, in which the latest conservative hero is groomed for greater things.

A patrol of the fever swamps shows the Kenosha assassin is very popular with the folks who usually only get to attack protestors verbally (and who also like to play internet defense lawyers for the cops who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back as well as for Rittenhouse). That figures; given the popularity of Trump, anyone who just does what he pleases regardless of law or morality to kill people conservatives have been aching to kill for years will get a big thumbs-up from the people who have really made the term "law and order" completely meaningless.

Picture mobs of Bernie Goetzes -- who was a weaponized incel avant la lettre -- going out to kill, and you have some idea of what these guys want for America. We forget how popular Goetz was and how even decent people went along because there was a lot of crime and it felt good to them to see someone hit back. But Rittenhouse didn't go into the 1980s New York subway with a concealed weapon waiting for someone to Make His Day -- he went to a Black Lives Matter protest open-carrying, confident of (and receiving!) the approval and assistance of the police. That's the New Model Army of Trumpism.

Friday, August 21, 2020


Worth slowing down for.

•   I have said many times, and meant it too, that I hate seeing anyone go to prison, but the Trump Gang has really tested my resolve on that and I must admit the prospect of former presidential advisor and current Nazi Steve Bannon going away gives me some pleasure. But who am I kidding, he'll never taste justice -- he'll either treat with Trump for a pardon or make a deal with the feds. But at least we have the joy of knowing that in addition to being an active and evangelical fascist Bannon is also the cheapest sort of grifter, one who exploits the weak-mindedness of rubes to swindle them out of their savings. True, the rubes in this case are Trumpkins and sufficiently racist that they threw their money at an obvious scam just because they thought it would keep dark-skinned immigrants out of the country, so I can't feel too sorry for them. Indeed, the saga would have some of the picaresque air of a con game movie like The Sting, but that we have the gargoyle Bannon instead of Newman and Redford, and instead of ending with "You're right, it's not enough -- but it's close!" we'd probably get the 14 Words.

Still it's nice to see the bastard pantsed. From my newsletter (on which regular production was paused this week for vacation -- new stories starting Monday!) I offer you a fantasia on the We Build The Wall theme I wrote back when the story was fresh in December 2018, starring Trump and co-conspirator Brian Kolfage. (If Trump's relative clarity of self-expression in that episode surprises you, bear in mind his mental deterioration over the past year and a half has been swift and considerable.) And here's one of my more recent Bannon episodes.

•   I see Postmaster General DeJoy is taking the same who's-gonna-stop-me hard line as other Trump goons hauled before Congress, refusing to restore the mail-sorting machines he's trashed and claiming the mail slowdown in recent weeks has nothing to do with his boss' confessed intention to fuck up vote-by-mail and will be resolved in time for the election.

No one believes any of this, though conservatives have to pretend to. One popular take has been that the Post Office problems don't actually exist and Democrats are pretending they do to make The Leader look dishonest. It's a "wildly irresponsible and baseless conspiracy theory," says Rep. James Comer (R.-Ky.) at Fox News; Tucker Carlson claims the Democrats are trying to "make America even more paranoid and fearful than it already is" and are in fact the real vote-stealers, in furtherance of which stupid point he hauls out the usual discredited charges that voting by mail is easy to rig.

This routine probably only works on rightwing true believers, since many of us have experienced the slowdowns first-hand and DeJoy more or less admitted they've been happening, so the brethren will probably switch over to a deeper, more old-fashioned propaganda cut: That public services are trad, Dad, and privatized mail is where it's at.

This is the tack taken in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial on the subject that blames "Congress," which in their 80s-vintage interpretation means tax-and-spend Democrats coddling inefficient government services: The PO is "a Blockbuster service in a Netflix world" and "overall mail volume peaked in 2006" -- all the cool kids use email! (Yes, I know about the 2007 pension law that wrecked USPS' finances -- WSJ obviously hopes other readers don't.)

"A misalignment like this wouldn’t last in private business," says WSJ, "but the Postal Service answers to politicians." Also, what to bleeding hearts looks like DeJoy's conflict of interest (a $30 million stake in USPS contractor XPO Logistics) is to WSJ a Horatio Alger story: "Mr. DeJoy built a trucking company from 10 employees in 1983 to almost 7,000 in 2014," etc.

At the Wall Street Journal it's still 1984; everybody's wearing suspenders and smoking Macanudos and thinks Big Government should make way for awesome privatization -- or, if that's too scary for you (for the moment), more Reagan-era, hostile-takeover, cut-to-the-bone "reform" that heretofore and everywhere else has meant worse service for us peons and bigger dividends for the 1%, but this time for sure free-market pixie dust will do the trick: isn’t credible to say the USPS merely needs pandemic relief. What it requires is reform. Privatization can’t pass Congress, so ignore that boogeyman. But lawmakers could give the USPS more freedom to act like a business: to raise prices if warranted; to close lonely, desolate post offices; to stop Saturday mail -- or Wednesday mail if it comes to that.
Or, if you're out on a rural route, maybe you'll get mail every couple of weeks -- it'll be your own fault for being too inefficient to make a profit on. If Biden's speech didn't convince you these guys need to be voted out of the known universe at the very least, think on that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020


Guess where I am! 

I have been on vacation, and missing the Democratic National Convention. Longtime readers know I love to cover these things, but I have to say the lockdown version didn't excite me much, and what I heard about them giving airtime to every Republican looking for an alibi for when Trump goes to the gallows for treason -- "I vas in Biden Switzerland!" -- didn't tempt me. Still, tonight I watched some of the show. I  appreciated Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton telling the folks, essentially, that their dying wish is that they vote Biden. I also appreciated the roll-call with all the black, gay, and otherwise cishet-exotic spokespeople -- a cunning plan, I am assuming, to get Republicans to run out on their lawns the next morning and describe the thing with fulsome slurs to their neighbors, who will think, "Well, I felt lukewarm about Joe Biden before but now my asshole neighbor has convinced me to look up vote-by-mail."  

Of course the wingnut response remains morbidly fascinating, like the Murdoch coverage of Billy Porter's and Stephen Stills' version of "For What It's Worth," characterizing it as "bizarre" and pointing out its "mixed reviews" [kudos to the photo editor for flouncing up the subtext!]. No doubt their dotard boomer Trumpkin fans are mad that one of their glory-days musical touchstones had to be ruined by actual relevance to current events -- not like when the song originally came out and it was all about how groovy it was to be young when the economy was doing great!

As for the Biden video with Springsteen's "The Rising" -- I'm constitutionally immune to this kind of thing. I've always thought pop songs made or repackaged for the DNC like Carly Simon's "Turn of the Tide" were weak and maudlin. And as a New Yorker I found the Boss' 9/11 stuff... well, a good effort; well-meaning, workmanlike uplift. But it never touched me the way it seemed to touch people who went in for disaster-themed group hugs and blue-collar hero talk. My hometown had just been bombed and America was invading countries that had nothing to do with it and Republicans were calling me and my friends traitors; I just wasn't into it.

But now, 19 years later, with 9/11 virtually the midpoint between Reagan's original hijack of the American dream and the Trump bust-out of the remainders, with the country being destroyed from within by a drug-addled Russian mobster and the rump of depraved shitheels who take pleasure in his brutality and racism, it hits, as they say, a little different. Der Alte in 2020! We can sweat the details later.

Friday, August 14, 2020


It's just nice, isn't it?

•   I have released another freebie from the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter (though why you're not subscribing at the low low price of $7/month I can't guess). It's an editorial note from a very serious magazine about how their very serious op-ed wasn't a birther stinkbomb.

Actually, as has been pointed out by many observers, that Eastman essay suggesting Kamala Harris, though born in the U.S.A., isn't eligible for high office on the grounds that her parents were legal immigrants rather than Mayflower descendants, is worse in a way than the birtherism aimed at Obama in the early part of the last decade. Birtherism was just a clumsy conspiracy theory to discredit an elected official, while Eastman uses Harris as a shoehorn for his crackpot blood-and-soil theory that Section 1 of the 14th Amendment doesn't mean what it plainly says about who's a citizen. (To give you some idea of what animates his "scholarship," he finds a way to work in "braceros.")

Newsweek's editorial note is just funny/sad. I'm actually very sympathetic to senior editors at publications because, however much they may have come down in the world, they are still like giant ocean liners that are difficult to pilot even under the best circumstances.  But I assume adding that editorial note was just a raw pitch for more ink and clicks; nobody could possibly believe it's the editors' place to defend this bullshit from the contempt of their own readers.

I don't care about journalism so much, but there's a reason why one of our major parties is so infested with QAnon nutcakes that it has begun nominating them for high office: Because lies that soothe and appeal to enraged honkies who see the world passing them by are no longer peddled on mimeographed sheets or scrawls on a bum's cardboard sign, but on classy-looking websites.

•   The tendency of the mainstream press to sometimes (not always, obviously, and never often enough!) let on when Trump is lying his ass off or delusional can seem weird and pathetic sometimes, like Dangerous Dan McFoo going "Mr. Wefewee, I'm not one to complain but he's got something in his glove." But a moment's reflection should remind anyone with functional medium-to-long-term memory that there's no way back from it, and if anything the press is still too kind to him. Here's a pretty good reminder: a pretend-this-is-normal, remember-who-signs-the-checks account from the New York Post:
Trump says spike in crime, high taxes could help him win New York in 2020 election
The Post regularly covers Republican campaign bullshit as if it's news, and this claim that New York, which went for Clinton 59% to 36% in 2016, will flip because New Yorkers got hit first and hardest by the pandemic and has experienced a concomitant crime surge (and has high taxes! Wow, that's a new one!) is just more of the same, GOP operatives' guff ornamented with Trump's senile ramblings ("I’ll solve the crime problem. I’ll solve their tax problem. I’ll solve all their problems. Who would not vote for me?").

But here's something from it that brought me back:
Trump brandished a map of New York’s 2016 presidential election results. 
The map showed most counties in red, meaning he won them, despite losing the state by 22 points to Democrat Hillary Clinton. 
Trump tossed the paper across the Resolute Desk toward reporters from The Post. Aides also had copies of the map and handed them out too.
Remember? It's the same thing he did after the 2016 election, handing out red-tinged maps to reporters to demonstrate that, though he got a minority of actual votes, it looks like he got a majority on a map if you don't know the difference between people and real estate. The fact that, as Trump plummets in the polls, they're still pulling this routine suggests that they have one hope: That the press, eternally terrified of giving offense to bellicose rightwingers, will help them put it over one more time. And they will. Even the Murdoch employees, who seem to handle the thing with tweezers, are doing their part by circulating it, and that's why the Trumpkins will never stop pitching it, knowing that even if reporters imply or point out that it doesn't make any sense, that will just make some voters -- the kind they depend on -- think, oh that liberal media, spreading lies about our beloved President again! Also too: Lying is all they have.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


Back on August 1, Politico came up with story seeming to predict doom for Ilhan Omar, wingnut-scaring Muslim Congresswoman from Minnesota and one of the so-called "squad" of young firebrand Democratic women: "'We don’t need someone distracted with Twitter': Ilhan Omar fights off tough primary challenge," ran the headline over a picture of Omar looking pissy. Lede:
Rep. Ilhan Omar is one of the best-known Democrats from the class of 2018, a lightning-rod member of the Squad whose outspoken liberal politics have made her an enemy of Donald Trump. 
Back home in Minneapolis, however, her polarizing national profile is complicating her bid to win a second term. 
Polarizing! Complicating! The story intimated grave danger for Omar from who-he challenger Antone Melton-Meaux:
Facing a political newcomer who raised a jaw-dropping $3.2 million last quarter — much of it from pro-Israel donors who oppose Omar’s foreign policy stances — Omar suddenly finds herself on the defensive against claims that she’s too divisive to effectively represent the solidly Democratic district.
You had to go MinnPost to find out that Melton-Meaux's backers, who had built his war chest to six times the size of Omar's by mid-July, tended to be not only "pro-Israel" but also rich -- including, MinnPost reported, big cheeses like "2019 Minneapolis mayoral candidate Tom Hoch, former University of Minnesota presidents Bob Bruininks and Eric Kaler, former U.S. attorney in Minnesota Andrew Luger, Metropolitan Council Chair Charlie Zelle... Fairview Health Services CEO James Hereford, Ecolab CEO Douglas Baker, Kelly Doran, of Doran Companies, Vance Opperman, and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, the co-CEO of Carlson Holdings."

Three-quarters of Omar's money, on the other hand, came from small donors who don't have to report their contributions, MinnPost reported. This feature of the race Politico alluded to only briefly, via an Omar ally who "criticized Melton-Meaux for receiving 'big special interest money.'"

In pursuit of their "divisiveness" angle, however, Politico was more effusive:
Yet many constituents have been alienated by her comments about Israel. Omar has been accused of anti-Semitism after suggesting support for Israel was popular due to campaign donations, that pro-Israel lawmakers had dual allegiance to both the U.S. and Israel and Israel had “hypnotized the world.” 
“Rep. Omar's past comments invoked age-old anti-Semitic tropes and rhetoric that echoed and brought about the nightmares of persecution,” said Rabbi Avi Olitzky, who leads a congregation in the district.
I realize criticism of Israel means anti-Semitism to wingnut chuckleheads, but news organizations ought to have higher standards. The "donations" bit is apparently about her "all about the Benjamins" comment -- as described in yet another Politico story: "Omar tweeted, 'It's all about the Benjamins baby,' followed by a music emoji, which suggested that [AIPAC] money was calling the tune for [House Minority Leader Kevin] McCarthy." Politico apparently wasn't listening to rap music in 1997. (And boy, saying a political action committee uses money to influence votes -- that's what Hitler did.)

The "dual allegiance" thing seems to refer to this tsimmis in which Omar remarked on (apparently) Republicans who "push for allegiance to a foreign country," which admittedly is a weird way to describe the GOP's Israel policy, which is only corrupt in the ordinary Republican way, and for which she apologized.

Politico kept it up through Monday -- "Ilhan Omar’s career on the line in tough primary" -- even giving the impression that the whole Squad was hanging on by their fingernails:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez survived her primary. Rashida Tlaib did, too. Now it’s Ilhan Omar’s turn on Tuesday — and the Minnesota congresswoman faces the stiffest challenge of any member of the Squad.
"Survived," did they? Let's look at the results -- Tlaib won 66%-34% and AOC won with 75% of the vote. Well, that was a near thing!

Politico continued:
Omar (D-Minn.), one of the group’s four liberal women of color who were first elected in 2018, has drawn national attention with her repeated clashes with President Donald Trump — as well as accusations of using anti-Semitic tropes in articulating her position on Israel.
Punchline: Omar kicked ass in her primary. "Omar led by about 17 points when The Associated Press called the primary for the safe Democratic seat," reported Politico.

We hear a lot about "horserace" political journalism, and how reporters try to make every race look like a photo finish to keep readers fascinated. That's certainly true, but in many cases, and I think this is certainly one, it's an artifact of the conservative noise machine that's been yelling "bias" for decades now, causing nervous news orgs to bend over backwards to portray even their stupidest shit as something to be taken seriously.

So since Republicans scream anti-Semite every time they see a Muslim, and have an extra-special hate-on for the attractive young hijab-wearing Somali-American -- remember their eruption over "some people did something," including Bret Stephens' absurd misreading? --  political journos are compelled to portray the district that elected Omar in the first place as they might Fritters, Alabama, and talk about any race involving outspoken liberals, no matter how well-entrenched, as competitive -- something you never see them do in reboubts where Republicans only run against Even More Republicans. Hell, they hardly gave O'Rourke-Cruz 2018 that kind of play, and Cruz won by less than three percent!

Maybe this will change as more QAnon crackpots win Republican primaries -- though given their track record I imagine this will just shift their Overton Window so that Pizzagate Pedonuts represent Principled Conservatism, currently mainstream Republicans (including the most rabid Trumpkins) are moderates, mainstream Democrats are communists, and people like the barely-"surviving," "polarizing" Squad are just de trop. 

Friday, August 07, 2020


Never a bad time for this. 
(Really missing the old town today.)

 •   Unlocked today's Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issue for the general public; it's the first-person narrative of a Concerned Citizen who realizes Trump is destroying the country but doesn't know about this Biden guy. As a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 and 2020 I yield to no one in my contempt of weakshit trimmer libs, but like Sanders (and Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky) I also realize that the current administration is a gang of vandals that has to be stopped and our ballot is the only puny weapon we have with any hope of succeeding against them.

My bagatelle is inspired by a recent wave of similar first-person narratives that are, apparently and amazingly, not meant as jokes. Take S.E. Cupp's "My vote for Biden hinges on his veep pick," which actually contains the line, "we’d be remiss not to consider that whomever [Biden] chooses could be running the country without being elected to do so." I know civics education in this country is terrible, but I do recall seeing the names of vice-presidential candidates on presidential ballots, and suspect that awareness of presidential succession law is pretty near universal. Cupp, whom I first saw doing a Tea Party event in Manhattan in 2009 (before she adopted the Google Blonde Conservative Glasses look to get on TV), describes herself as a "staunch conservative" and also as a "moderate," which will give you a pretty good idea of her sincerity here, and claims "I wish there were an actual conservative to vote for — someone who respects the Constitution, the rule of law, fiscal responsibility, national security interests, free speech and a free press," rather than the communist wrecker Joe Biden and whatever scary lady he hires to be the brains of the outfit. (Cupp says she'd be fine with Kamala Harris, and I predict she'd start with the ooga-booga about three days after Harris is announced.) 

Also on the fake reasonableness tip is, who else, Matt Lewis, who announces himself an "outspoken Never Trump conservative" which is in Roget's under "full of shit." (Longtime alicublog readers will already know this about Lewis.) He claims to have entertained voting for Biden, but decided against it: 

Let’s start with my visible (if only in an ultrasound) reason: the unborn child...

Now you, me, and everyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that serious anti-abortion people -- especially those who, like Lewis, say things like "call it a fetus if you like" and "abortion, though, is a moral issue" that "cannot be easily brushed away or bargained over as a lesser-of-two-evils decision" -- are extremely unlikely to vote for any Democrat. But Biden's been pro-Roe since 2007 at least -- why was Lewis even pretending to consider voting for this baby-killer? Apparently his NeverTrumpism made it worthwhile to him -- until he learned Biden had changed his mind on the Hyde Amendment! It was okay that he was a baby killer, but letting poor women kill their babies is a bridge too far! Plus which:

This brings us to the other (unseen) reason Biden’s newfound abortion stance matters: the notion that Biden is susceptible to being pushed leftward.

Not just a baby-killer, but a someone who might move left! On what, Lewis doesn't say; the only issues besides abortion he mentions are fracking and taxes, and he basically says he doesn't care that much about them. So, the big story is "pro-lifer won't vote for Democrat." But with a marquee byline! 

Friday, July 31, 2020


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


Shortly after his last effulgence of fame as the guy The Atlantic hired and then fired when they found out he advocated execution for women who had abortions, Kevin D. Williamson returned to National Review, where he has been honing his performatively nasty style. This week he's applying his method to a couple of rightwing classics. For one, there's the Sissy Liberals Who Are Askeered to Live With Black People. I've had this shtick pulled on me in the past: A troll once asked me why I didn't live with black people if I liked them so much. I was living at the time in Harlem and told him so, whereupon he immediately responded, "Why don't you go live in East New York." If I went to East New York I expect he would have demanded I move to the Central African Republic. Anyway, here's Williamson:
As I have mentioned before, I live in a pretty assertively lefty neighborhood (big cities in Texas are a lot like big cities in the rest of the country) surrounded by diehards who are not going to take the “Beto for Senate” stickers off their Audis. (Forgive me for quoting myself: “We admire our neighborhood for its diversity: There are white people with Audis, black people with Audis, Latino people with Audis, Asian people with Audis, gay people with Audis . . .”) But they are mostly nice people, and we rarely talk about politics. Sure, all that “Black Lives Matter” paraphernalia does sometimes give one the sneaking suspicion that these nice white progressives are trying very, very hard to elide the fact that they all live north of the street that forms a socioeconomic Berlin Wall between our neighborhood and the poor and largely non-white one to the south, that they’re all over here with the nice restaurants with vegan options and the new coffee shop and the National Review guy rather than a few blocks away with The People.
You have to wonder: Are the Audi-driving black people in Williamson's and the liberals' neighborhood also supposed to feel bad that they're not living in the really black part of town? Or maybe it's a Mexican neighborhood, or an Asian one  -- you'd think he'd tell us, so that his black and white neighbors could know before whom to abase themselves.

Come to think of it, why isn't Williamson living in that neighborhood, if he has such contempt for liberals who don't (and, it would seem, nearly all of his current neighbors)? I guess when he avoids it, it's on principled conservative grounds, like the Right of Free Association, whereas when liberals do it it's hypocrisy.

Williamson also does the one about the goddamn liberals who are sissies -- "eye-rolling dopes spilling a fair-trade almond-milk latte on my Kentucky 31" (Williamson names his grasses, that's how butch he is!) -- yet somehow also capable of bullying a Trump supporter. Williamson makes a point of showing us how tough he is, personally, at least in patter:
Random bearded hipster pedestrians passing by pointed out my neighbors’ Trump flag to denounce it. With my mouth I said, “People like what they like,” and with my heart I said, “Keep walking, hippie, and don’t slow down.”
Maybe I should have said "in patter in his heart, such as it is." Anyway, there was also a Trump sign on one of the local lawns that later vanished: "I do not know what happened to it, but it is gone," Williamson testifies. Then the aforementioned Trump flag disappeared. The evidence is clear to Williamson: "I assume somebody stole the flag or that the neighbors were bullied into taking it down."

Assume? You'd think a John Wayne type of guy like Williamson would saunter up to the Trump houses, knock on their doors and ask these salt-of-the-earthers if them-there he-shes and simps was givin' 'em any trouble and cancel-culturin' them into takin' down their Trump tat. But Williamson says:
(I haven’t had a chance to ask and haven’t really gone looking for one. Good emotional fences make good neighbors.) 
I guess the only way to keep the liberals' mind-rays from making one betray one's principles, yard-sign-wise, is by refusing to talk to them. Thereafter he gives us a lecture on neighborliness and anti-racism and ugh.

It just occurred to me what this reminded me of: Victor Davis Hanson's stolen chainsaw and the liberals he blamed for it! He and Williamson are kindred spirits.

Friday, July 24, 2020


Hey, who finally told me abut The Beths?
I want to thank them.

•  David Brooks blubbers again! This week it's about how the mean elitist liberals oppress ruff-tuff conservative he-men such as himself and his buddies.

First, to get it out of the way fast so no one can say he ignored it:
Like other realms, American intellectual life has been marked by a series of exclusions. The oldest and vastest was the exclusion of people of color from the commanding institutions of our culture.
[To be heard in an extremely bored voice and Brooks doing the jerk-off motion.]
Today, there’s the exclusion of conservatives from academic life. Then there’s the exclusion of working-class voices from mainstream media.
Brooks always conflates conservatives with the working class because he came up in an era in which hardhat-and-lunchbucket Joes loved pampered movie star Ronald Reagan, and he thinks it's the natural order of things. (Donald Trump even more preposterously pulling the same hardhat bullshit seems not to have enlightened him as to this racket.) Hence, Brooks' comical 2018 dialogue between "Urban Guy," who sounded like David Brooks pretending to be a snooty liberal, and "Flyover Man," who sounded like David Brooks after a few cocktails and a Glenn Ford movie.
Our profession didn’t used to be all coastal yuppies, but now it mostly is. Then there’s the marginalization of those with radical critiques — from say, the Marxist left and the theological right.
Tell me with a straight face Brooks is sad there are no Marxists on the editorial pages of the Times or the Washington Post. (As for the "theological right," there is no point in running editorials for people who only read the Holy Bible and Chick tracts and think compound sentences are tools of the Devil.) In a truly diverse editorial environment, Brooks would have been crushed into gravel like a five-year-old blundering into a rugby scrum.

And here we get to the real crime in Brooks' eyes: Because they were denied their rightful place in the cultural firmament, conservatives decided they would rather reign in Hell than be cancelled in Heaven:
Conservatives were told their voices didn’t matter, and many reacted in a childish way that seemed to justify that exclusion. A corrosive spirit of resentment and victimhood spread across the American right — an intellectual inferiority complex combined with a moral superiority complex.
For many on the right the purpose of thinking changed. Thinking was no longer for understanding. Thinking was for belonging. Right-wing talk radio is the endless repetition off familiar mantras to reassure listeners that they are all on the same team. Thinking was for conquest: Those liberals think they’re better than us, but we own the libs.
I feel like crying, really -- how could we do this to poor, neglected Tucker Carlson and Rush Limbaugh? They must be rehabilitated with even more attention and riches!

Coddled liberals, on the other hand, are in Brooks' view "blindsided by reality" -- LOL Trump won get over it libs! -- and are all about "fragility," "conformity," and "predictability." Shoot a few rounds of tear gas at middle-aged female protesters and they all act like it's some big thing! [Eyeroll] So expected.

Everyone's focused on this howler:
Christopher Hitchens was one of the great essayists in America. He would be unemployable today because there was no set of priors he wasn’t willing to offend.
Hitchens of course was promoted from Very Limited Use Mortifier of Rightwing Idiots to Major Media Sensation when he decided Bush was right and the wogs needed a damned sound thrashing. That's what made him Mr, Contrarian! I guarantee you that, if Trump announces an October Surprise War on Iran, some other climber will get that same gig. I hear Brooks has been rehearsing his Flyover Man voice in quarantine! (I warn you now, if Thomas Chatterton Williams gets the role expect a lot of Brooks columns on affirmative action.)

But the really funny stuff, to me, is, number one, his examples of brave intellectuals on Substack -- he ignores me, naturally, as well as the actual great journalists like Judd Legum and Luke O'Neil on Substack and focuses on rightwing journos who are bringing their followings to the platform, including Andrew Sullivan and, get this, Jonah Goldberg. (Oh, and he throws in Matt Taibbi for roughage. Maybe he can be the new Hitchens!) And there's this truly extraordinary button:
I’m hoping the definition of a pundit changes — not a foot soldier out for power, but a person who argues in order to come closer to understanding.
This would be funny coming from anyone but from a Times conservative legacy hire who got his job in the interests of perceived bothsider "balance" it's fucking hilarious.

•  And as long as we're talking about the newsletter, here's some access for non-subscribers to a few recent editions: This one about why conservatives are so committed to making everything worse, and this one depicting a meeting of America's top cancel-cultists. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2020


I guess it's time to revive one of my classics:
"I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you."
HAW HAW HAW! AW HAW HAW HAW HAW! Thassa good one! Yee-haaa! 
"I'm from the government, and I'm here to invade your city with secret police despite the express wishes of your citizens and their government, and tear gas your mayor and your mothers." 
That sounds reasonable.
In short, they're Nazis. Whoever gets elected Vice-President with Biden should give the new president a nerve-pinch immediately after the inauguration and get busy sending all these scumbags to Den Haag.

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.

Friday, July 17, 2020


Extended version!

•   I know it must seem like old news by now but there are still Confederate statue defenders out there in Conservativeland. And I'm not talking about the bullshit variants invented recently, like when someone tears down a non-Confederate statue and they blame liberals. I'm talking about straight-up hell-yeah-Robert E. Lee at National Review by Bruce Westrate, who "teaches history at a prep school in Dallas."

It's got all the hits. First, the usual Harper's-letter bellyaching about being ganged up on: "I find myself consigned by the media to the ranks of would-be Nazis... simply because I’ve always enjoyed such venues [as Civil War memorials], along with the commemorative Civil War art that abounds among them." I can't find any evidence of a Twitter or web kerfuffle over Westrate's love of Civil War stuff, so I assume he means people who know him think he's a jerk.

Westrate goes on about "young people, abetted by the feckless opportunism of politicians, turning to the likes of the Taliban" and decides "it's all about safe spaces," "all complexity is lost, and context is rendered subservient to a cleansing," etc. and similar sentiments set adrift in a river of high-flown gush. Also, "Shall the FDR monument be removed to appease the descendants of interned Nisei Japanese," ha ha shall it not answer me libs. The guy really loves him some Lee; since he's a historian he must know the General was a slaver and not an especially kindly one either, but he never mentions that, and even defends the Jim Crow era vintage of many Confederate monuments as a misunderstanding:
And while the erection of commemorative statues unfortunately coincided with the emergence of the “Jim Crow” South, there are more understandable motivations that, I would argue, took precedence. These were martial creations, after all, intended to commemorate battlefield feats. Historians have long observed that veterans typically (and understandably) avoid public remembrance and consecration of battlefield combat until decades after the event. The erection of these statues coincides with the dedication of most of the larger American battlefield parks and cemeteries. So, they were aimed less at betrayed freedmen then at kindling popular remembrance of the slain, along with the suffering wounded Confederate veterans had endured.
There, now, black folks, now let's have Jeb Stuart back on his pedestal in Richmond so you can see him on your way to work every day. Also, did you know black people were involved in the slave trade?

If you can't imagine anyone who isn't brain-damaged or already a Neo-Confederate going for this, you must remember that the salvation of the statues is a new Lost Cause, something normal people increasingly abhor, which wingnuts lament in the sort of hurt tones with which they also used to lament that America was not Great anymore before they decided to fix that by electing a senile criminal President. And now that the U.S. military has just banned the Stars 'n' Bars, I guess Westrate and his fellow Rebs have a lot more to cry about. 

•   If you haven't subscribed to the newsletter yet, here, have some freebies -- not only the previously cited cancel-culture one but also one on how amid all his crimes and catastrophes Trump is doing one good thing

Tuesday, July 14, 2020


This morning I did a newsletter issue on the galactic dishonesty of the great cancel-culture circle jerk going on among credentialed conservatives and the neoliberals who love them. And now who should enter the news but the eminent cancel-culture blubberer Bari Weiss, who has resigned from the Times and left behind an abusive and hilarious letter. This is my favorite part:
My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in.
It's like Soviet Russia! Wait, let's have some more of that graf:
There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.
It sounds like the problem for Weiss is no one at her job likes her work and feels free to criticize it, whereas she feels she should be spared such insults. Man, I really hate to say it, but: Snooooooowflake! She's a fucking opinion columnist and a fucking public figure. It seems an odd choice of profession for someone so fragile. I learned from a young age that I don't have a right to everyone's approval: how'd she miss it?

The whole thing is laughable and I will return to jeer some more, but for now I'll just say the rightwing press absolutely gets the play here: Fox News, for example, headlines, "Bari Weiss quits New York Times after bullying by colleagues over views: 'They have called me a Nazi and a racist.'" Now, who among their readership, including Donald Trump, could fail to relate? In fact, Weiss' letter is like a longer and more pseudo-literate version of a Trump tweet: A powerful candy-ass whining about how mean people have been to them.

Well, read the newsletter anyway, it's more relevant than ever,