Friday, March 26, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

Sure, I like pop-punk. Even when it's new! Thanks to Alan Scherstuhl for this.

•   OK, for you deadbeats who are not regular subscribers to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- and why aren't you? It's cheap, it's superb, and it offers a great opportunity to contribute to the (already in progress!) death of journalism without having to expose yourself to the cancelculture sob-stories of Substack's marquee dweebs  -- here are a couple of freebies: First, my tribute to ham-faced Erick Erickson and his much-remarked-upon plan to solve America's armed mass murder problem by literally giving everyone a gun. And let's not sleep on his prose style! Here's the lede from Erickson's latest atrocity:

Every year, I spend time on Good Friday on radio focusing on that weekend. Regardless of whether one is a believer or not, most academic and secular historians list the death of Jesus of Nazareth as one of the top five most important events in human history. Quite frequently, it is number one on those lists.

Again, regardless of the theology, when we are dealing with a day considered the most important event in human history by people who do not even believe in Christ’s resurrection, we should probably pause and not just explore it, but explore the world around us as it exists right now in relation to that event.

He makes Jonah Goldberg look like Nabokov. Also, enjoy this bagatelle about two old Republican hands confronted by the New Breed. 

•   Speaking of old alicublog recurring characters -- well, first, check out this recent scene from Sesame Street where Elmo asks Russell why his skin is brown and Russell says it's melanin and Russell's dad says, "The color of our skin is an important part of who we are, but we should all know that we all look different... many people call this race, but even though we look different, we're all part of the human race."

Sounds simple enough, even corny -- something you'd think would be non-controversial, right? Well, here's what Rod Dreher thinks, in a post called (I'm not even kidding) "Segregating Sesame Street": 

I hadn’t realized how deeply the new progressive racial obsession bothered me until I saw that clip above, and realized that woke Sesame Street is now setting out to undo all the work that had been accomplished in the generations the show catechized. You know who taught my generation of children to see color? White people who longed for segregation’s return, and black people who lived in fear of white people who longed for segregation’s return.

Now kids can get that from Sesame Street. Good job, progressives; you are the most regressive force in American society today. I guess somebody has to teach the kids why it’s good to have segregated college graduations... 

 If you're thinking, how the fuck did Dreher get that from this video? the obvious answer is he only absorbs outside stimuli after it's bounced off the fascist funhouse mirror in his skull a few times, and he thinks everything would be hunky-dory if only black people would stop making a stink. But I should note also Dreher's alleged love of earlier Sesame Street, back before all the woke-SJW "we're all part of the human race" stuff:

I was born in 1967. Sesame Street was born two years later. I don’t remember a time before Sesame Street. It was my window into a world beyond the rural South. In 1999, when my wife and I moved to brownstone Brooklyn, I remember thinking, “I live on Sesame Street” — this, because the streets there reminded me of what I had grown up with. 

Aww, that's nice. Wanna know why Dreher left Brooklyn? As early as 2001 he was lamenting that his young son "won't have taken in the smell of tobacco, bourbon and dried gumbo mud flaking off hunting boots that is my father's aroma," and would instead grow up in "an urban culture dominated--indeed, in my social and professional milieu, overrun--by men without chests" and "a permissive culture that corrodes the moral structure his mother and I will try to build." Guess he found out Sesame Street was populated by he-shes, Black Panthers and moral relativists! Then he wrote at National Review in 2003, after he had split:

...all it takes is riding the NYC subway daily, and having to live with fear and loathing of the violent, profane and altogether anti-social teenagers who make public spaces here their playpens, to understand why middle-class people get fed up and move the hell out of town to raise their kids.

Now Dreher's blubbering that the TV show version of New York he claims he thought he was living in when he briefly career-moved there has been spoiled by a couple of African-American puppets. Yeesh, what a freak. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

OOGA-BOOGA ON THE DOWNLOW.

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

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

Speaking of which, Jim Geraghty at National Review:

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 19, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

Just in the mood.

•   Weird what whets the wingnuts these days: They're cheering Putin's challenge to Biden, exultant that Biden tripped on some stairs, and their new intellectual excitement is a Republican judge's dissent in a defamation case, in which he says New York Times v. Sullivan (the "absence of malice" case*) and other protections of the freedom of the press should be done away with. From Slate:

[U.S. District Court Judge Laurence] Silberman accused the American media of “bias against the Republican Party,” calling the putative phenomenon “a long-term, secular trend going back at least to the ’70s.” He continued:

Two of the three most influential papers (at least historically), The New York Times and The Washington Post, are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets. And the news section of The Wall Street Journal leans in the same direction. The orientation of these three papers is followed by The Associated Press and most large papers across the country (such as the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and Boston Globe). Nearly all television—network and cable—is a Democratic Party trumpet. Even the government-supported National Public Radio follows along.

Silberman also explicitly condemned “Candy Crowley’s debate moderation” of the second debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on CNN, which took place nine years ago...

On and on the Reagan-appointee goes, bringing in Hunter Biden's laptop and other such wingnut totems. 

To me the most interesting part of the thing is Silberman's moan over the alleged embattled isolation of the American conservative press in the person of one non-American man:

To be sure, there are a few notable exceptions to Democratic Party ideological control [of the media]: Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. It should be sobering for those concerned about news bias that these institutions are controlled by a single man and his son. Will a lone holdout remain in what is otherwise a frighteningly orthodox media culture? After all, there are serious efforts to muzzle Fox News. And although upstart (mainly online)] conservative networks have emerged in recent years, their visibility has been decidedly curtailed by Social Media, either by direct bans or content-based censorship...

The woe-is-me blubbering that is now common among the Right aside, this is remarkable in that it suggests that conservative ideas have no intrinsic value that would be recognized and promoted by the American people unless they were propagandized specifically by Rupert Murdoch and his major properties. Silberman claims the "upstart (mainly online) conservative networks" cannot pick up the standard from Murdoch because they're suppressed by "censorship," but that's obvious nonsense -- the almost exclusively conservative makeup of Facebook's weekly top ten stories and the gigantic Twitter followings of people like Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro are some of the evidence against that claim.  

If we may impute any instinct to Silberman beyond a desire to rile up the rightwing press  -- and he sure has done that, with celebratory coverage seen at Glenn Beck's The Blaze ("In incredible dissent, federal judge launches broadside attack on SCOTUS precedent protecting left-wing press") and the Washington Times ("Judge calls on Supreme Court to revoke news media protections," of which I was informed in an email "news alert") already coming over the transom -- it may be that he realizes the traditional conservative strategy of flooding the media with old-fashioned look-out-here-come-the-minorities boob bait, as practiced for decades by Murdoch, is no longer moving the needle the way it used to, and that the alternative is not to pump the new breed of conservative outlets -- which for some reason ("censorship"? LOL, c'mon) isn't as effective -- but to cry "bias" and call on Republican legislators and the reliably rightwing Supreme Court to fix it for them by silencing the opposition. 

This is, I keep telling you, what's always at the back of their "cancel culture" bullshit: they want the road leveled and paved for themselves, and you under it. 

•  BTW WTF:

VIRTUAL EVENT: The Crown Under Fire: Why the Left’s Campaign to Cancel the Monarchy and Undermine a Cornerstone of Western Democracy Will Fail

Please join the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom and Simon Center for American Studies for an insightful discussion about defending conservative institutions and uniting to preserve the special UK-US Relationship.

Sponsored by the Heritage Foundation! With a link to an article by (I believe the expression is) limey cunt Niles Gardiner, "Meghan Markle Oprah Interview an Insult to the Queen and the British People." which is so entirely royalty-fan gossip ("Alas, the fairy-tale wedding of 2018 in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle is now a distant memory...") I'm actually embarrassed for them. National Review also carries the message that the ingrate prince and his non-white strumpet are part of a liberal conspiracy to destroy that great American institution, the British Monarchy, in several articles including this one by (I believe the expression is) jammy twat Joseph Loconte

The radical Left has seized upon Oprah Winfrey’s televised spectacle with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in a crusade to invalidate one of the most consequential conservative institutions on the world stage.

Accusations of racism within the royal family are not the point. The aim of modern liberalism can be symbolically discerned in William Walcutt’s painting,Pulling Down the Statue of George III at Bowling Green, July 9, 1776. It is to tear down everything the monarchy represents: tradition, authority, virtue, duty, love of country, and biblical religion.

LOL, go drink some tea, bitch.

*Update: Originally had this as the Pentagon Papers case, which was actually New York Times Company v. United States. Duh, me stoopid. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

NO COMPASSION.

Here's a link to my most recent Roy Edroso Breaks It Down edition, about a mass murder of racially-distinct victims by a three-named white guy and the sympathetic, one might say empathetic, one might say pathetic response of a law enforcement spokesman. Guess what the inspiration was

It's funny, I'm old enough to remember when conservatives would reflexively laugh at liberals for expressing sympathy toward killers who snapped under psychological or societal pressure. This goes back at least to Clarence Darrow and the Leopold and Loeb case -- though I'm sure some historians here will have earlier cites -- and got ugly when sociologists and psychologists suggested keeping people in ghettos was bound to result in despair, addiction, and violence. This was portrayed by the Right as mere perversity among effete leftists who cared more for the murderers than the murdered, and eventually spawned such weird reactionary bloodlust symptoms as the 1994 Crime Bill and courtroom "victim statements" (which have always seemed repulsive to me, as if what the criminal justice system needed was a little more Maury Povich sensationalism). 

Things have changed a bit. More white Americans have come to notice and disapprove of the systematic oppression of minorities in their own country. The conservative response has mostly been denialism -- witness their attempts to ban any mention of it in our education system, not to mention every conservative editorial on race ever. But they've also been trying a funhouse-mirror version of liberal perp sympathy. What else is the now-familiar trope of "economically anxious" honkies whose Trump support is medicalized as a psychological reaction to the presidency of the Kenyan pretender Obama and all the breaks those people had been given? Now instead of blacks in tenements doing heroin and crack, we are urged to sympathize with whites in hollers doing meth and opioids. The central irony -- that, for all its reforms, this country is still obviously fixed on behalf of white people, though the growing voracity of the rich is eating away at even their share of the wealth  -- is large enough to be safely ignored.  

Monday, March 15, 2021

FELLAS, IS IT GAY TO SERVE YOUR COUNTRY?

 I've unlocked today's edition of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, about the hot new thing with conservatives: Attacking the U.S. military on behalf of Tucker Carlson. Rightwing media is exulting that Ted Cruz is demanding answers from the Pentagon about some mean things soldiers said about Carlson, who basically called the Marines a bunch of sissies for having lady troops. Even for the now perpetually maddened brethren, I'd say this is a watershed.

Weird as this anti-military trend is among top wingnuts, it's even weirder down in the  fever swamps. Radio buffoon Wayne Dupree (warning: memory-hogging, possibly-bitcoin-mining link) headlines, "Don Jr Delivers Dire Warning To The Newly 'Woke' US Military…And They Better Listen." Imagine the troops hearkening to the greasy Trump scion! "No need for that 10-mile hike to keep fit, fellas -- a few rails of this will get your heart pumping like mad!" 

UPDATE. But it's crazy at the top too, with the venerable National Review outraged that the U.S. Navy has included Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, Jason Pierceson’s Sexual Minorities and Politics, and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. among its "suggested readings." Not exactly indoctrination, but the author, a "practicing attorney with previous military experience located in Salt Lake City, Utah," affects to believe this means the U.S. military is now "yet another institution that seems to have succumbed to the political persuasions of the day — a great and historic institution marred by a woke ideology that never builds, and only destroys." Better you should put your sons (not your daughters, they're just for breeding patriots) in the Proud Boys -- they're not contaminated by this left-wing book-l'arnin'! 

Friday, March 12, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

John Lennon was fully within the continuum of mid-20th-century pop.

•   Let's get to this week's Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies first: A call for patriots to do something positive about the growing shortage of problematic cartoon characters, and a meditation on the days when a worker had a little slack and why he doesn't anymore.  (Subscribe! Cheap!)

•   Peggy Noonan:

That wasn’t just a high-charged celebrity interview that everyone talked about and then it went away. Oprah Winfrey’s conversation last weekend with the duke and duchess of Sussex will reverberate and last. It was history, a full-bore assault on an institution, the British monarchy, that has endured more than 1,000 years.

To me, it was this week's stupid tabloid bullshit, which will be replaced by next week's, but I don't absolutely have to fill this space every week, and my audience is not largely comprised of gossip-addicted fossils for whom the doings of Lord Bollocks and Lady Hammerhead are of intrinsic interest. After some snide cracks (“That must be a comfort to them") to let the punters know she's with the Dear Old Queen on this one, Noonan does some deepthink:

Public life has gotten extremely, unrelentingly performative. Have you noticed you keep hearing that word? It means everyone is always performing—the politician, the news anchor, the angry activist. This gives natural actors an edge, and leaves those who aren’t by nature actors at a disadvantage. 

I would say the Royal Family are actors by training, indeed by heredity, like the Flying Wallendas. They're in the paper and on the telly all the time, and they don't have any function or skills rather than to Play Royal. Maybe Noonan refers instead to her preference of performance style?

Meghan was a professional actress.

Both Meghan and Harry speak a kind of woke-corporate communications language that is smooth and calming but also slippery and opaque. 

Ahhh I see the problem now -- Meghan and Harry are part of the wokemob cancelculture all the senior citizens are snarling over! Noonan is even moved to do some sleuthing on behalf of the House of Windsor: 

Some of what was said beggared belief. Meghan claimed that going in she didn’t really have any idea what the royal family was, didn’t Google or do any research... [Princess Diana's] funeral was watched by 2.5 billion people. Meghan Markle, home in California, was 16, presumably loved media, and went on to study acting. Is it believable she didn’t know this story, follow it, see who had the starring role?

What little girl didn't obsess over the People's Princess? Noonan obviously did, and she was 47 years old when Diana snuffed it. 

Why should an American care about any of this? 

Ugh here it comes.

I suppose we shouldn’t. In a practical way we’re interested in the royal family because we don’t have one, don’t want one, and think it’s great that you do. 

We do?

...But I think there’s something deeper, more mystical in our interest, a sense that however messy the monarchy, it embodies a nation, the one we long ago came from and broke with. The high purpose of monarchy is to lend its mystique and authority to the ideas of stability and continuance.

It's bells and smells for Proddys! 

Henry VIII, Mad King George, Victoria—these names still echo. It is rare and wonderful when you can say of a small old woman entering a large reception area, “England has entered the room.”

I cannot, as the kids say, even. 

Someday Elizabeth II will leave us and the world will honestly mourn, not only because of what she represented but because she was old-style. She performed but wasn’t performative

When my avatar steps out of her castle and does her jar-opening gesture to the crowd, it is performance; when yours does it, it's performative. I really think this is more in the realm of nostalgia and perhaps senile dementia than the realm of politics, but the worship of these living totems whose long-running show only serves to slightly distract from the clownish chaos that is Britain today does seem very conservative.

•   LOL, Andrew Cuomo quoted at The Hill :

“People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth. Let the review proceed, I’m not going to resign, I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people.”

This is yet another proof point for the position that crying "cancel culture" was always the last refuge of a scoundrel or a Substack (except mine! Subscribe, cheap!).  As in most other much-blubbered-over cancellations, the putative victim is a powerful man accused by liberals of an "unwoke" offense such as molesting subordinates. Cuomo obviously expects some wingnuts to rush to his defense on those grounds -- and he may be right, because if there's one thing conservatives believe, it's that a white man accused of crimes against the lesser breeds should always have the benefit of the doubt. 

That's why conservative propagandists like Bethany Mandel are rushing out the message that "They're Trying to Impeach Andrew Cuomo for the Wrong Thing" -- because getting Cuomo for a nursing-home cover up would further the Republican talking point that Democrats really killed those half-million COVID victims while Tubby heroically held superspreader events to try and protect them with herd immunity. Whereas getting him for groping girls -- now, who does that help, I ask you? 

The difference, of course, is that Democrats have the muscle in New York to bring Cuomo down, and history shows they're willing to expel even one of their own for such offenses -- something you can under no circumstances say about Republicans. 

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

THE McARDLING CONTINUES.

You may forget over time how awful Megan McArdle is, especially since she took her perch as Peggy-Noonan-successor-in-waiting at the Washington Post and could be safely ignored while she pupates. You scan the column titles and they seem anodyne enough -- for example, "The looming disasters we don’t prepare for." Then you read the thing and you realize it's McArdle defending Texas' decision not to winterize its electrical grid (or make arrangements to share the load with other states during heavy use periods or protect consumers from massive emergency charges) because what if the same thing happened to your liberal states, not winter storms because obviously you do have those and so you plan for them but what if it was something unexpected like "climate change or asteroids or supervolcanoes," aha, then you'd be the laughingstock because your voters don't like to spend money to prepare for these things, that is they don't like to pay taxes because, like McArdle, they haven't changed since Reagan.

Ugh. Then you perversely check more recent columns to see if they, too, stink. The title "I get the indignation. But where are the ideas, Republicans?" suggests a gentle tsk-you-Trumpers thing, but since it's McArdle she starts out beating up a liberal state -- again on behalf of Texas! 

It happened again last week: Blue America unleashed a storm of media attention and righteous fury when Texas and Mississippi announced they were lifting all their COVID-19 restrictions, including their mask mandates — only to be embarrassed when true-blue Connecticut announced that it, too, would be lifting most of its restrictions, though the mask mandates would stay. Connecticut, predictably, got a bit less attention, and a lot fewer epithets like “reckless.”

It's like the Cuomo thing: Much if not most of "Blue America" thinks Cuomo's a dick and wanted Cynthia Nixon to kick his ass and not only a bunch of Democrats and even the Democratic state senate majority leader are now demanding his resignation, yet conservatives act as if we all love him and are trying to prop him up. Similarly McArdle thinks we're all fronting for Connecticut, the Shame of the Blue States. Number one, show me anyone who is; number two, unlike Texas, which Abbott opened and unmasked universally and immediately, Connecticut is only opening select facilities (churches, gyms, libraries etc.) on March 19, and is still calling for restaurants to maintain an 8-person table capacity and bars to stay closed, and 25/100-person caps at private/commercial indoor facilities. And everyone's required to wear a mask -- a universal precaution which conservatives still think is better handled by the private sector on a voluntary what-about-my-rights basis rather than by meddlesome public health officials. 

After that cock-up McArdle passive-aggressively tries to reason with the Trumpkins. "Arguments and indignation are starting to define the limits of conservative ideas," she says, "and defiant gestures are increasingly what the party has in place of policy." You don't say! But it turns out she's mainly mad because these guys are devoting energy to culture war that she'd rather they spent on denouncing the Democrats' COVID-19 relief bill -- about the most popular legislation of the past 10 years -- because it  "bails out bankrupt union pension funds, offers blue states a federal piggy bank," and other such offenses to McArdlehood.  Shit, if I were handing out free advice I'd say the GOP might expect better returns from their cancelculture crybaby shtick than from talking down a relief effort with a 70% approval rating. 

But her latest column -- "Stimulus checks are the most indefensible part of the covid relief bill" -- is just classic:

I don’t say, of course, that no one will be helped by getting a $1,400 check. But the same can be said of almost any policy you can imagine, including leaving fully loaded Lamborghinis at randomly selected intersections with the doors unlocked and the keys inside. Giving away sports cars would still be a poor use of government funds; it would cost far more than any conceivable benefit to the car recipients, and the help most likely wouldn’t go to those who need it most.

Tee hee, Lamborghinis are for makers, not takers! (I wonder if she had "Cadillacs" in the first draft.) 

Upshot: The stimulus won't stimulate, because "the people who are out of work are home largely because we want them to be" and "giving money to someone who still has their job doesn’t make them more likely to go out to dinner if the reason they’ve stopped going out is that they’re afraid of the deadly virus." So they're just going to invest those checks in stocks or mutual funds rather than spending it on food, clothing, etc. Finally, she warns, the stimulus "may well do more to seed the next economic crisis than to fix the current one." 

Which is hilarious as McArdle is also the author of "No stimulus makes no sense" from October 2020, when Republicans were offering a gigantic program and she thought "there are good reasons for even a deficit hawk such as myself to support an aggressive stimulus." Looks like the deficit hawk has spread its long-folded wings once more!

Let's check back in a year or when Noonan clears her perch for her, whichever comes first.  

Friday, March 05, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

Pure joy.

Here's the end of yet another week of dumbassery, what with Republicans going to great lengths to sabotage the COVID bill and trying to play off the Capitol attack as harmless patriotic hijinx, and especially with the "cancel culture" guff they're using to make themselves look like victims. (Speaking of that, have some free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issues on the subject -- one about a boys' adventure series done in by the woke mob, another revealing the talking points for rightwing news outlets covering such stories.)

Even dumber than the Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss bullshit, for my money, was the scandalette these guys tried to cook up about Biden calling the latest anti-masking crazes -- like Greg Abbott's transparent attempt to distract from his Texas power disaster -- "Neanderthal thinking." Wingnuts raised such a stink about it Biden had to send Jen Psaki out to explain it as if the complaint had been made in good faith rather than as howlingly obvious victimization shtick:

Asked whether it was productive to compare governors to Neanderthals while trying to convince state officials to get on board with the White House public health message, Psaki clarified the president was likening the decision to Neanderthal "behavior." 

"The behavior of a Neanderthal, just to be very clear, the behavior of," she said, adding that it was a "reflection of his frustration and exasperation" over some people flouting COVID-19 guidance to help curb the spread of the virus. 

"Whether is was productive to compare governors to Neanderthals" -- get the fuck out of here, less than two months ago your shock-troops were trying to murder Democratic office-holders in the Capitol;  "Neanderthal" is about the most polite thing one could call your cynical and potentially lethal stunts. Yet, at Forbes

Then candidate Joe Biden ran on a campaign to bring back civility to politics, and in his inauguration speech called for unity and an end to our nation's "uncivil war." Yet, President Biden's tone and more importantly the words he used on Wednesday were in stark contrast.

Author Peter Suciu then reproduces a series of incredibly stupid rightwing reactors, some of whom even attempt to make "Neanderthal" the new "deplorable," an insult in which they take pride, as if it were the name of their prison gang. If only Biden had called them douchebags! 

The worst of the lot is Noah Rothman at Commentary. He starts out with standard-issue So Much For The Tolerant Left ordnance ("But the president was never the 'good cop' he pretended to be"). Then he tries to defend Abbott's mask-free decree:

It would have been foolish if, for example, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told his constituents that “everything’s fine” and Texans should “take off your mask” and “forget” about the pandemic. But that wasn’t what he said, nor is that likely to be the outcome of his state’s policies.

What Abbott announced was that “all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100 percent.” The executive orders put in place during the pandemic, including masking requirements, would be rescinded because “people and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate.” It would have been a premature declaration of victory over the pandemic if Abbott had stopped there. But he didn’t.

Abbott also urged Texans to exercise “personal vigilance.” “Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility,” the governor added. While his orders will foreclose on criminal penalties for people who do not wear masks, businesses can still impose masking requirements on their patrons and deny them service if they do not comply...

I am confident of two things: First, that thanks to COVID-19, most normal people understand (as polls show that they do) that government has to take a major role in combating epidemics; and second, that as soon as the curse is seen to have lifted, conservatives will get busy trying to portray government's role as a total disaster and saying that everything would have been hunky dory in March 2020 if only the Free Market and Trump had been allowed to kill even more people so that the survivors could have instant herd immunity  -- you know, the same way they talk about the New Deal.

In fact the latter half of Rothman's column is devoted to groundwork for such an effort: He cites people who think Abbott's making a big mistake, and shrugs "They might be right, and it would be terrible if they were. But..."

...the way is littered with predictions about how this virus would operate that mercifully failed to materialize. The innumerable “super spreader events” that weren’t and unfounded fears that states without masking mandates, like Florida, would be overrun with pestilence should lead Texas’ critics to be more cautious. Likewise, the suboptimal performance of states with onerous restrictions on individuals and enterprise alike, including New York and California, have led even the most zealous COVID hawks to throw up their hands in confusion. Uncertainty is the lesson here.

How can we really know anything? Like this mask thing -- sure, flu infections are massively down year-over-year, but can you prove it was masks, libs? Maybe Jesus has something to do with it! 

But there is certainty about one thing: Lifting restrictions now undermines what seems to be the Biden administration’s central objective, which is to assume credit for the pandemic’s decline. 

A lifelong public servant actually getting vaccines into people's arms vs. a thuggish grifter getting his own shot and them making a bunch of everyone else's disappear mysteriously -- sure, let's go with door #2. God, if only our education system taught even a little critical thinking. 

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

LIVE FROM RICK PERRY'S RANCH "CANCELCULTUREHEAD."

I see the rightwing word of the day is "cancelculture." Erick Erickson:

Last week Hasbro announced it was getting rid of Mr. Potato Head, except not really. Hasbro decided to rebrand as “Potato Head” because they sell a Mr and a Mrs. Potato Head. They have predetermined the genders of the potatoes instead of just sticking all the various genders up the backside of a single potato and letting individuals decide for themselves. Hasbro was trying to balance between the wokes and the non-wokes. 

Yeah I can see why anyone on the planet earth gives a shit, Mr. Ham Face.  

First, they came for Mr. Potato head. Now they're coming for Dr. Seuss.

The actual casus bellow here is that the Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the foundation that maintains Ted Geisel's literary estate, has decided that the portrayals of black people in some of the Doctor's pages are kind of gross and, rather than bowdlerize the deceased author's work, they just won't release new editions of the books

You'd think conservatives, who are usually very it's-mine-I-can-do-what-I-want-with-it when it comes to property, would understand, but what they understand better is that the Cancel Culture Scam is a great way to make themselves look like sympathetic victims rather than the psychopathic Capitol-storming, voter-suppressing monsters they are, so they're all Bari Weiss about it. Ham-Face is dumber than most, so he goes for the stretch: Since Obama said he liked Dr. Seuss books is he racist now HUH LIBS ("Does Barack Obama have to be canceled, for four years ago saying you can learn all of life's lessons on how to treat people well by reading Dr. Seuss?").

But there's plenty of self-embarrassment to go around, as Ted Cruz proved in the middle of a Senate hearing:

We've been over this a million times, guys. If someone doesn't like your portrayal of other human beings, and they decide not to patronize it, you are not being censored; if someone has second thoughts about their own portrayals of other human being, or those found in the properties they're in charge of (like the Disney executors who thought, you know what, maybe put Song of the South back in the vault), they are not violating your (non-existent) right to their work.  Cancel culture crybabies can fuck right off. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

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

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

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

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


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

•   Speaking of Rod Dreher, this is great: 

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

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

Stanford Lefties Must Swallow Their Hoover Hate — for Now

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

SPLITTERS.

 I've unlocked a newsletter item on the recent rash of secession stories -- which are a lot like other secession rashes that have flared up since the Obama years, because guess why. 

The example of January 6 at the Capitol has perhaps added salience to these fantasies. While conservatives have been trying to downplay the attempted coup as a celebration of freedom that just got a little out of hand, portraying the violence as insignificant and even suggesting the attackers didn't really kill Officer Sicknick, they're also beginning to use the attack as a warning of how far their goons may be willing to go if they don't get their way. 

At National Review Dan McLaughlin castigates the Supreme Court for kicking out a challenge to Pennsylvania's three-day extension of its citizens' vote-by-mail deadline in 2020. McLaughlin approves of and echoes the fit Justice Clarence Thomas threw over that decision, which in turn mirrors the election-fraud bullshit that Republicans are actively using to keep the Spirit of January 6 alive among its rabble. At the end of his column McLaughlin warns:

But the Court should have decided this case now, if not earlier. This issue will not go away, and it may return next time surrounded by the same sorts of popular rage that led to the Capitol riot. This was the time for cooler heads to say what the law is.

The description of the Capitol coup crew's rage as "popular" may seem weird to you, considering how badly the thing polls, until you realize that it only has to be popular among conservatives for McLaughlin to credit it as such. It's like old-time Southern Democrats and the KKK -- they don't want their prints on it, but they definitely want you scared enough to do what they say.

Friday, February 19, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

For years I abjured this kind of 70s rock but I'm kinda getting back into it.
Special kudos to Dee Murray; sometimes hyperactive bass is actually cool.

Not only have we had a good laugh about Ted Cruz's Cancun Adventure, it seems the whole world has.  Even conservatives seem to realize it's too perfectly on-brand, for Cruz and their own movement, to defend, and dummies like Dinesh D'Souza and Ben Shapiro have been reduced to bizarre, "Hey, it's not like Ted Cruz is any use at all in a crisis anyway" arguments -- as usual not likely to convince anyone but, unusually, not apparently designed to appease the yahoos who bay at their troughs either, just pro-forma ass-covering bullshit. 


Hell, some rightwing talking heads like Meagan McCain have denounced Cruz, and the Murdoch New York Post is covering him like he's Andrew Cuomo.

I'm not starry-eyed about this apparent consensus on Cruz. First, no one actually likes him; Texans are simply unable to vote for Democrats, lest they question the unreasoning belligerence that passes for manhood there. Cruz was so unloved by national Republicans in 2016 that, despite his muscling to the front of the line, they nominated an ignorant New York grifter rather than let themselves be represented by him. Genital warts aren't a "bipartisan issue" just because no one wants them. And the Cancun story plays to the simplest kind of American resentments -- people who were unmoved by Cruz's many political outrages, including his support for a fascist insurrection, are pissed that he left his poodle home in the cold.   

Also, in the bigger picture, Americans seem unsure about what to do with the Republican conservative creed that Cruz and his contempt for the needful embodies now that they've shaken off Tubby. It's not that I'm optimistic -- if America could turn back to the GOP after Bush Jr., it could do so after Trump, too. But the coup attempt seems to have shaken most of them, and they may have noticed not only that Republicans are largely OK with an attempt to murder their elected officials for Trump, but that the hardcore Republicans are busily trying to minimize the attempt, and even suggesting that the mob didn't actually kill Officer Sicknick and were generally just having a bit of a lark and that Nancy Pelosi was actually to blame for it -- an impression anyone who saw the impeachment insurrection footage would find obscene. 

This tracks with when I'm seeing in the Rush Limbaugh death coverage. I had my say about that at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, and I do believe he'll remain a totem of the rancid misogyny and racism of conservatism, and be honored as such by rancid misogynists and racists. But the brethren aren't exactly mobbing his cortege as if he were some meathead Verdi and singing "Barack the Magic Negro." In fact while they all claim to have loved his "humor," few of them are actually publicly saying, "Remember when he called Chelsea Clinton a dog? Hah? Come on lady, I laughed when you came in!" 

Apart from the outright apparatchiks blubbering over his catafalque, have you noticed how many credentialed conservatives like Michael Brendan Dougherty seem to either want to get past the subject quickly or feel obliged to admit that yes, much of what El Rushbo said went a bit too far? Peggy Noonan today, after briefly praising Limbaugh's influence ("There was a joy to it. His patriotism was real"), said this:

To have a show such as his you had to be The Guy With the View, and knock down others’ views. In the past 15 years my views on important issues diverged from his; he came to see me as an apostate and attacked me for my criticisms of Iraq policy, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and Donald Trump. His attacks turned personal: I was an elite fancy person, an establishment character of rarefied background who looked down on honest people like him and his listeners. His criticisms were at odds with the facts of our lives, and he knew it; for one thing he was damning me from his vast Palm Beach, Fla., estate. Like many male conservative media figures he made a game of pretending to class sensitivity and implying he’d had to scrap his way up. The radio station where he got his start was co-owned by his father.

Now, Noonan remains utter shit, and her complaint is of course animated by personal grievance. But this is one of those cases where "the personal is the political" really applies: How many American women, or men for that matter, noticed over the years with what cold contempt the yahoos for whom Limbaugh spoke had come to regard them? For a moment at least Noonan grasped that her years of service to The Cause counted for nothing if some other Reaganite goon, one whom she doubtless considered less talented that she, condemned her as a rich bitch, accent on the bitch, and got over with it because he had a penis. (It apparently shook her no much she no longer believes repealing the Fairness Doctrine was a good idea!) 

It's like they all had been insisting since childhood that Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In was the height of sophisticated comedy and then someone made them watch it again.

But do enjoy that Limbaugh bit, as well as my other Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie from the week, "A Message from the John Bitch Society." We could all use the laffs. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

Christgau steered me right again with this soundtrack.

There are already so many Substack newsletters devoted to cancelculture crybabies blubbering that someone changed the name of a high school or some shit, yet here comes ham-faced Jesus freak Erick Erickson – who refers to himself as “Erick-Woods Erickson” for some reason; maybe it’s a Puritan thing, like Praise-God Barebone – who today shook his fist on the subject in not one but two newsletter issues. In the first he declares “The Union is fraying and cancel culture is radicalizing otherwise reasonable people… One bad word choice, one misunderstanding, and often one false accusation can lead the mob to your employer or even to your door.” Wow, I just checked my door – all clear so far! So how’s this cancelculture thing work? 

We see this with Black Lives Matter, the organization, declaring itself against the traditional nuclear family. We see it with its activists attacking anyone who points out that Black Lives Matter maintains this position.

Erickson offers no examples, but when I think of Black Lives Matter and cancellation, I think of Colin Kaepernick, and I doubt that was what Erickson intended. Maybe he meant all the cops who were briefly subject to disapprobation when videos showed them beating up BLM protestors, before they were cleared of all charges. What else?

The Christian baker must bake the cake, but the cultural, secular left gets to opt-out when it disagrees. One side gets to impose its will on the other. 

Bake the cake? But the Supreme Court backed the gay-hating baker. He and his ilk can say "we don't make cakes for fags here" and get away with it, which is freedom! Erickson’s actually citing examples that disprove his case, sparing me the effort. But let me add another:

Jeep trots out a rabid partisan with a history of disparaging remarks towards the right and they place him in a church declaring we need the middle. If anyone objects, they’re the bad person.

Oh brother. As with most of these yahoos, the most realistic concern is that people will criticize their opinions, which colicky conservatives cannot abide. And no such rant is complete without the obligatory Look What You Made Me Do bit:

The disparity in cancellations is going to boil over to violence. We are, frankly, getting our first early tastes of this…

The seething over the disparity caused a lot of people to support Donald Trump and a great many of them were and are willing to turn a blind eye to what people did on January 6th because they know what much of the left and the press won’t admit — that side really does want to silence Trump supporters…

If the right cannot voice its views and people of the right can be punished for things the left is spared from, there will come greater antagonism that will ultimately lead to violence.

“Will ultimately lead to violence,” then, means “kiss our ass or we’ll kill you.” In newsletter two Erickson rattles the begging bowl:

As cancel culture is a thing and the Woke-o Haram terrorists continue to silence the right, your subscription to my daily emails makes it harder for them to cancel my voice, both in print and on radio.

I assume there are enough people who think “Woke-o Haram” is hilarious to keep his fat ass in clover. You good people, I'm sure, would prefer Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, the only Substack newsletter devoid of boo-hooing over big bad cancelculture, offering instead five (5) days a week of quality content – here, free to non-subscribers, are two recent examples: my transcript of a Trump impeachment lawyer’s opening statement, and my reaction to the prosecution’s new video of the insurrectionists’ depredations. Go on, have a subscription – they make great Valentine’s Day gifts! 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

ANYONE WHO CAN MAKE YOU COMMIT ATROCITIES CAN MAKE YOU BELIEVE ABSURDITIES.

Andrew C. McCarthy, former Bush AUSA, National Review author and torture enthusiast, wonders whether Capitol insurrection victim Officer Sicknick actually died at all:

Adding to the serious but vague accusation in the impeachment article, the Democratic House impeachment managers, who are the prosecutors in the Senate trial, elaborated in their publicly filed pretrial memo (at p. 28): “The insurrectionists killed a Capitol Police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher.”

It is noteworthy that the Democrats’ pretrial memo was filed on February 2, nearly four weeks after Officer Sicknick’s death. Yet, during those four weeks, significant questions about the impeachment managers’ murder allegation have arisen. It has been a bedrock principle of American due process for over half a century that if prosecutors are aware of evidence that would tend to show an allegation they made is false, inaccurate, or at least incapable of being proved, they have an obligation to disclose that fact to the accused.

So what is the Democrats’ proof that Trump supporters murdered Officer Sicknick by bashing him over the head with a fire extinguisher?

I mean he could have just keeled over -- he was 43 years old, practically at death's door. Or maybe Antifa killed him -- an Antifa operative could have been hiding in a closet or a big vase or something and, as the Trump insurrectionists were assaulting cops (non-lethally, Your Honor! You can't pin that on them), might have popped out, el-Kabonged Sicknick, and gone back into hiding, like in a Three Stooges two-reeler, leaving the Trump fans to take the rap! 

Or maybe Sicknick is still alive, held incommunicado on George Soros' private island, and his alleged coffin actually contains Kyle Rittenhouse. Anything's possible.

This is in National Review, folks -- once the most respected magazine in American conservatism. Aw, who am I kidding -- it's still the most respected; it's just that it doesn't take a lot of respect to qualify anymore.

Tomorrow I expect Tucker Carlson will tell us Sicknick died of a fentanyl overdose



Monday, February 08, 2021

SOCIALISTIC SUPER BOWL INSULTS ORDINARY AMERICANS WHO WORK FOR RIGHTWING MAGAZINES!

I actually watched the Super Bowl through the halftime show, and peeked in during the more than three hours of pre-game guff, and I have to say I got an enormous kick out of all the woke effusions, not only in the ads but also in Viola Davis' pissed-off DGAF narration on the de-integration and re-integration of the NFL and inaugural poet Amanda Gorman enlisted to introduce the COIN-TOSS (which was performed by "COVID-19 nurse manager" Suzie Dorner after being thanked for her service by the referee). It may have all been bullshit -- particularly the ads from soulless corporations professing an interest in social justice -- but it was American bullshit and thus perfect for the occasion. Sucks that Tom Brady didn't get his ass kicked, but nothing in this world is perfect and I'll take what I can get.

Part of the fun was imagining the rage of pinheads and klansmen at this grossly pro-minority entertainment. I bet Tubby was mad he couldn't vomit his rage through his customary social-media puke-funnels, though his boy Sniffy stepped up ("One comercial in and it’s already woketopia. 🙄 #SuperBowlLV"). 

We who have free souls, it touches us not. The Super Bowl spectacle outside the game itself has always been ridiculous, and what people think of as its "great moments" are actually pathetic -- like the kneeling Clydesdales commercial in the post-9/11 Super Bowl. Remember that shit? Jesus Christ, people fell for it! I was disappointed Budweiser didn't follow up over the next few years with Clydesdales invading Iraq, then piling naked prisoners of war into human pyramids (maybe they couldn't figure out out how to make a Clydesdale do a thumbs-up). 

Still, in our modern age these are the kind of microaggressions that animate rightwing snowflakes. So far the brethren seem to be aiming their rage at, of all things, the Bruce Springsteen Jeep commercial -- which, to the extent it's about anything but selling the faint echo of military ingenuity to rich suburbanites, is a corny hymn to centrism ("the geographic center of the lower 48," get it?). Funny, I thought the big rightwing message-of-the-moment was that Joe Biden is a dangerous radical dragging America to socialism

Mollie Hemingway starts by calling Springsteen a "left-wing political activist," which I'm sure is how he's best known in the caves and klaverns of wingnutdom, and announcing that his commercial "fell flat and faced mockery and opposition from many viewers." (Ever notice that the people who whine the most about cancel culture always sound like old Soviet propagandists when they approach any subject having anything to do with the arts?) 

Hemingway, after briefly admitting that "many Americans love Springsteen’s music," denounces The Boss for several paragraphs because "like so many other wealthy celebrities, [he] regularly speaks ill of Republican voters and politicians," unlike real populists such as Kevin Sorbo and the guy who drinks his own piss on YouTube. Then she complains that the ad was fake -- that's right, an ad on TV! Fake! -- because though this Springsteen fellow is "extremely well known for being from New Jersey" he was shown "wearing a cowboy hat and boots" (and "small earrings in each ear," woo woo). Also, "The Argument For Unity Was Not Made Well," because duh, what about the "74 million Trump-voting Americans who lived through four years of epithets and refusal by elites such as Springsteen to treat the president of the United States as legitimate"? And then Springsteen and his 81 million co-conspirators had the nerve to vote against Trump, resulting in Joe Biden's so-called "election"? Where's the healing?

Hemingway closes:

Jeep sales will not heal the fabric of the country. Jeep ads can’t even help toward that goal so long as they are using dishonest and manipulative partisan framing in service of car sales.

"Manipulative partisan framing in service of car sales" -- forbid it, almighty God! You sell cars by flattering the shit out of the customer, hornswaggling him with phony price points, then making him feel like he owes you something for your time -- everybody knows that! 

Well, we all did a little drinking during the Super Bowl, though some of us waited until we sobered up to write about it.  Clearly the NFL is part of the Deep State and must be countered. Get ready for USFL II!

Friday, February 05, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN

One of the blessings of modern technology:
Cleaning up these great old blues sides.

I've unlocked two of this week's Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issues for non-subscribers: A meeting between the President of Mar-a-Lago and one of his more famous supporters, and a rundown of young Republican up-and-comers.

I might say it's horrible that the other major political party in the United States is being taken over by psychotic freaks, but, really, it's not that big of a shift; it's more like the party's adherents have just begun to act out the fantasies conservatives have been promulgating all along, and are moving up the chain from "useful idiots" to "elected representatives." Government is the enemy? Check. Science, indeed any type of expertise, is suspect, even nefarious? Check. White people are the only constituency worth addressing? Check and triple check! Marjorie Taylor Greene's videotaped claim that black people are not held back by racism but by “gangs [and] dealing drugs" is just conservative boilerplate, and from there it's not a huge leap to believing in Democratic pedo rings and all the other shit that clogs her skull.

Also get a load of this, from Mainer:

Maine White Nationalist Charged in Capitol Attack Shares Racist Views of State GOP Leaders

...The Great Replacement theory has been promoted for years by former Republican state legislator Larry Lockman, who also opposed the bill to fund the jobs center in Lewiston. “The sad truth is, open-borders Leftists at the swamp want to welcome, educate and retail everyone but Mainers!” Lockman wrote in a January 2018 e-mail to supporters. “There is too much at stake to let identity politics and the Left’s War on Whites rule the day.”

In a 2019 column, Portland Press Herald editorial-page editor Greg Kesich called out a host of Maine GOP leaders for promoting tenets of the White Genocide theory, including former Gov. Paul LePage, who endorsed Lockman’s bid for a Maine Senate seat last year and is threatening to run for the Blaine House again next year; Maine Republican Party Executive Director Jason Savage, who ran a racist fake-news website called The Maine Examiner; and former Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro, who relinquished his position as Vice Chairman of the state party last month shortly after Mainer published an article linking him to another Republican official with direct ties to neo-Nazis.

More recently, Isgro and other Maine GOP leaders cheered the Jan. 6 insurrection on social media and spread racists lies about Chinese interference in last fall’s election. For example, the liberal online news outlet Beacon reported last month that state GOP Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas told a radio station the Chinese government created COVID-19 to weaken the U.S. economy, “because they knew if the economy stayed strong … our President Trump would be reelected with huge numbers,” she said. “I believe that for sure.”

So, apparently, did [charged insurrectionist Kyle] Fitzsimons...

One of many reasons to be glad about the new administration is that it appears to take seriously the threat of rightwing lunatics, and is less likely than the Obama administration was to fold on its domestic terror investigations when conservatives and libertarians (but I repeat myself) pitch a bitch fit. These nuts have been terrorizing and murdering people for years, and a huge part of the reason why they got as far as they did on January 6 was because Republicans have been acting for years as if even taking notice of this public menace was cancelculture, who's the fascist now libs, etc. I'm glad the insurrectionists are getting charged -- it's about these fuckers got some negative feedback. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

BERNIE SANDERS MUST BE LAUGHING HIS ASS OFF.

 You figure it has to be parody, but no --

Rich Lowry headline: "Biden is the most radical left-wing president in US history, period"

--it's Rich Lowry, so if anything it's self-parody (though really, don't you have to have style to be parodied? The closest thing to a style hallmark Lowry has is "bad"). Just three months ago, Lowry endorsed Trump's reelection as "The Only Middle Finger Available... a gigantic rude gesture directed at the commanding heights of American culture." But he couldn't get enough people to go along with Presidency as Fuck You, so now he's offended by the Communist Insurgency of Sleepy Joe Biden. 

Joe Biden is off to the most left-wing start of any Democratic president in recent memory. 

Just two weeks later, the dulcet tones of Biden’s inaugural address already seem an artifact of a bygone era.

Ah, the "unity" thing. At this very moment Biden is engaged in negotiations with the Republicn party -- which does not hold a majority in either house, nor the Presidency -- in pursuit of bipartisan consensus. Many of us think he's a sap to do so. What no one beside Lowry thinks is that it's divisive. 

But Lowry claims Biden is governing "further to the left of any Democrat who made his career prior to the ascendency of the cultural left" -- which date I don't see in my political timeline: Was it the birth of the Frankfurt School in 1918? The manumission of slaves? Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban/And the Beatles' first LP?  (Lowry clearly stuck this in to ward off anyone who remembered FDR.)

It isn’t new for Democratic presidents to want to tax, spend and regulate, even if Biden seeks to do more of all three than his immediate predecessors. Biden layers on top of this a cultural agenda that represents a new dimension of radicalism that would be alien and baffling to bygone Democrats, who may have wanted to extend the New Deal but never sought to transcend the gender binary. 

Those old-time Democrats might have cursed America with Social Security and Medicare, but they never would have countenanced homos and he-shes! Hell, some of them didn't even like the colored. You could talk to a Democrat in them days! 

Thereafter Lowry gives a rightwing pocket history of evil-but-no-Biden Democrat Presidents, culminating in this howler: 

Bill Clinton and Obama were both ambitious but also cared about the budget deficit and allowed it to restrain their agenda in a way that the Biden Democrats now totally reject. 

That's a new way of saying "We got Democrats trained to clean up Republican presidents' deficits, and here comes this Biden guy who still wants to give money to the suckers instead!" (Missing from Lowry's column: the words "COVID" and "coronavirus." He refers to the $1.9 trillion package simply as a "relief bill," no doubt hoping to conjure in his readership visions of welfare queens and strapping young bucks instead of virus-infected millions.)

Lowry's also mad at Biden's climate change agenda, which he says "speaks of an overwhelming hostility to fossil fuels." See, Biden talks unity, but then gives Exxon Mobil the back of his hand! Also:

There will also be a continual focus on what Biden’s chief-of-staff calls “a racial-equity crisis,” which will be a warrant for a new, more aggressive identity politics. 

People already treat racism as something undesirable  -- as Biden gets "aggressive" about identity politics, people may begin to think it's unforgivable, and then how will Republicans ever get elected? 

There are other, better reasons to root for Biden's barely-adequate package to pass, but it would also be nice to read Lowry's "Joe Manchin: Mountain State Marxist" column. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

 
Robert Christgau informed me these guys are still at it! 
 Time has been kind.

•   Republicans are so accustomed to minority rule, and so encouraged by their conspiracy-addled looney fringe (and by the customary feebleness of Democratic resistance) to believe it can never be broken, that even after they lost a presidential election by seven million votes and were disgraced by their leader's attempt to overthrow the government they can't acknowledge that they fucked up. For example: Now that the world is seeing more of QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's loony beliefs, ham-faced pundit Erick Erickson tells his Twitter followers it's the fault of poor Republican opposition research during the primaries:


Can't be that voters in a district where Erickson and others have been vomiting rightwing poison on the radiio for years found a far-right conspiracy theorist palatable -- nah! They just didn't know what QAnon was, maybe they thought it was like a Sesame Street spelling thing or a brand of athletic shoe. At this rate I expect Vermin Supreme to cross over -- except he's probably too benign for this bunch.

•   Meanwhile the awful Salena Zito has one of her usual Republican sources explain that Trump was really not so bad -- why, Trump and Obama were practically the same:

[Tom] Maraffa says that both Obama and former President Donald Trump were equally divisive — Obama was just more elegant in his delivery. The reporters who covered him missed it because they shared his cultural values.

What cultural values does he mean? Gay marriage, apparently:

"Lighting the White House up with rainbow colors — in a way, that was just sticking a thumb in the eyes of people who disagreed rather than using it as a moment to say the Supreme Court's made its decision, we don't all agree, but this is the law, and we have to move forward together" [Maraffa says].

By celebrating gay marriage Obama was being mean to people who hate gays -- just like Biden is being mean to people who show their patriotism by storming the Capitol. Oh, and Obama gets a pass because he's black: "These reporters and Democrats instantly viewed people who did not like Obama as racists because what else could it be?" 

Then Maraffa and Zito blubber over how what's wanted is "unity" and the Democrats have to meet the gay marriage opponents halfway. Thing is, polls show 70% of Americans approve of gay marriage. And I'll bet if you made a Venn diagram of the 30% who dispprove of gay marriage and the 39% who still approve of Trump, the overlap would be nearly complete. So tell me: Why should we meet these people halfway when they're nowhere near half the people?  

•   Seriously, though, this shit goes on and on and the mainstream aka "liberal" media do nothing but enable it.  The New York Times has extended its Cletus safaris into the post-Trump era -- once they were all "Let these simple souls tell us why they gave Trump an almost-majority of the votes" and now they're all "Let these simple souls tell us why it's mean to hold Trump to account for sending lunatics to murder Congress." Axios invites Tucker Carlson and Ben Shapiro to predict/threaten mayhem ("'Not a sustainable moment,' Carlson added. 'Something will break'").

And the Washington Post has former GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor in to decry what his successors are doing to the country -- but adding (I assume this was part of the deal) a bothsider bit: sure, Republicans are spreading conspiracy theories to dangerously derange our politics but whatabout The Squad -- 
And to my Democratic friends who think this is a Republican problem, I say be careful. The same pattern is already unfolding on your side as progressive activists — joined by elected officeholders, including Reps. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and “the Squad,” with aspirations of higher office — tell tales of what Democrats could accomplish if only they were willing to fight and use their power.
By "fight and use their power," they mean "vote for things their constituents want," which is pretty much the same thing as sending one's goons to kill Mike Pence -- it's a form of electoral insurrection against Republican rule, without which there can be no true civility! 

Well, we always knew we couldn't count of these idiots to save us. Put your faith in Roy Edroso Break It Down instead -- one of the only Substack newsletters that's not about how its proprietor has been cancelcultured! We have a couple freebies up from this week: A Twitter beef between two Republican up-and-comers, and the real readout from Kevin McCarthy's visit to Mar-a-Lago. Enjoy, and then subscribe (cheap!).

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

MUZZLE ME THIS, BATMAN.

Plenty has been written about the absurdity of U.S. Senator Josh Hawley declaring that he -- and America! -- have been "muzzled" on the cover of the New York fucking Post and on several TV talk shows

One might despair of pointing out the insanity of this, as those who would most benefit from the information are obviously impervious to it and to pretty much any form of reason and logic. (Many of them are apparently training their children to resist it, too.) But we must keep a record for the sake of our own sanity, and whatever posterity there may be. 

Speaking of free speech martyrs, I see now the Post has also reported that Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue has been "muzzled" by his own board of directors

"Muzzled" has apparently become wingnut word of the week  (e.g. "Singer John Rich said Thursday he’s heard from other country stars who have told him that conservative voices are being 'muzzled' by the industry"). Anyway, the Post goes on:

Goya Foods has voted to silence its pro-Trump CEO Robert Unanue following his recent television appearances questioning the results of the presidential election, The Post has learned.

The Hispanic foods giant on Friday agreed to censure Unanue, 67, for controversial remarks in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 invasion of the US Capitol building, including on Jan. 20 when he called Biden’s election “unverified” during an appearance on Fox Business.

You could read the whole thing and get the impression that this is all just over a difference of opinion over the extent of voter fraud -- Some say it's a lot! Some say it's a little! -- rather than the casus belli behind the attempted coup on January 6, the widespread support of which among Republicans shows that it's not nearly so benign.

But there are hints in the story for the cognoscenti, such as Unanue's mention of the "great reset,” which has gone from a World Economic Forum COVID-19 rebuilding concept to a psycho-nutso conspiracy theory involving Bill Gates injecting you with microchips to enslave you to Satan. If you still haven't gotten the point, look at Unanue's recent remarks about yet another innocent victim of Muzzling:

There's censorship around the world. This cardinal, Mexican cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez was censored for — by Facebook, for denouncing a new world order. So you know, Big Tech, social media is not looking just for the big prize of the United States, this is a world order.

Íñiguez, retired Archbishop of Guadalajara, had his video taken down by Facebook because they determined his claim that COVID-19 vaccines implant the vaccinated with "the mark of the beast" via a Bill Gates microchip to be disinformation. 

But who's to say, right? The only way we can test this Mark of the Beast theory out is in the marketplace of ideas -- that is, bullying private media companies into publishing it against their will. (If only we'd been this enlightened in the old Procter & Gamble satanism panic days -- we could have gotten the TV networks to address it, and that would have been the end of Tide and Bounty!)

No wonder the Goya board doesn't want this nut representing them. As I have been pointing out for years, employers fire employees for embarrassing them all the time -- only you don't hear about most of them because they're not rich rightwing crackpots with a vested interest in portraying their situation as censorship (or, to be au courant, muzzling). 

I'd be happy to see legislation that allows employees as well as executives to mouth off whatever nonsense they like without getting fired for it -- I got a list of grievances like you wouldn't believe, myself! -- but I guarantee you that none of the people proclaiming the victimhood of Hawley and Unanue or any of these assholes would ever support such a law, because their real interest is not free speech but the further mesmerization of their rubes. Unlike the COVID-19 vaccine, their bullshit really does turn people into zombies.