Thursday, July 01, 2021

ACTING OUT.

Jim Geraghty is a pretty down-the-middle rightwing propagandist, the unflashy kind of guy that will never get a Fox News or Sinclair spotlight but has done the devil’s work reliably enough to hold his position for decades. But sometimes someone like Geraghty, even more than obvious nutcakes like Rod Dreher and high-profile marquee grifters like Peggy Noonan, will, in the course of his normally tedious work of justifying whatever absurd and inhumane theme the conservative movement has latched onto at any given moment, get creative – perhaps out of boredom, or because he knows he’s good at his job and wants to show off by going the extra mile. Those episodes can be especially revealing. 

The MacGuffin in this case is the evergreen rightwing sentiment that the Media Is Always To Blame – indeed the title of Geraghty's latest is “The Media’s Warped Incentive Program.” There is something to the premise, borrowed from a strenuously bothsidery Jamie Kirchick piece at Tablet (which, among other weird stretches, blames Al Sharpton’s 2004 Democratic Presidential run for Trump, notwithstanding that Democrats failed to give Sharpton a single primary win), that the media rewards freakish figures like Trump “as if he were the ‘heel’ in a professional wrestling match” because it inflates their readerships (which, I would note, have dwindled in the Biden era, which suggests that Kirchick’s claim to a liberal equivalency in hysteria is itself inflated).

Geraghty gobbles this up, and goes further: another problem with the political media circus, he says, is it distracts from the menace of ordinary, successful government operations. “The work of government is often boring,” he says, not to mention Byzantine – “the Federal Register churns out pages of new regulations in incomprehensible bureaucratese every day.” And people are missing it because it isn’t sexy:

Boring does not attract attention or scrutiny. Appropriations bills are long and stuffed with all kinds of dubious expenditures because very few people read them. The vast majority of presidential executive orders are ignored by the public, as are almost all of the reports from the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Research service, the Defense Department, U.S. State Department, and the various federal inspectors general. Our government generates nearly endless documentation and yet so little accountability.

The more boring something seems to be, the more likely it is that someone is trying to sneak something past you without you noticing.

First, journalists actually do report on the doings of these departments, which are not for the most part opaque (though some have to be aggressively FOIA’d) – here’s a Bloomberg Law story from today, “Visa Backlog at State Department Hinders Biden’s Immigration Goals.” And in fact trade publications, some of which I've done work for, read and analyze federal regs all the time. 

Second, what’s stopping Geraghty and National Review? I realize rightwing media outlets always exempt themselves from their constant media complaints, but obviously these guys have the same wherewithal as any other news org. Yet National Review is much more prone to run stories like (from the current front page) “Wisconsin’s Governor Puts the Public-School Monopoly before Families” and “The Absurdly Misleading Attacks on Anti-CRT Rules" than to investigate federal agencies (unless of course those agencies are helping black people and operatives do the legwork for them).

But the real howler comes next: After warming up the crowd with some obligatory false equivalence between “Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert” and “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Squad,” Gergahty gets to Jim Walsh, the Washington Republican state rep who went around wearing a yellow Star of David as a protest against vaccine mandates. (“Walsh wrote in [a Facebook] comments section that, ‘[I]t's an echo from history. In the current context, we're all Jews.’”) This is similar to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s COVID-laws-are-The-Holocaust shtick, and like Greene, Walsh has apologized. (One expects the apology has become part of the shtick, to be taken by the punters as something the Deep State forced them to do.)

Here’s what Geraghty thinks about Walsh’s stunt:

We can scoff at Walsh, and we should. But keep in mind, if Walsh had just done his job and stood up for his beliefs in an impassioned and articulate manner and didn’t make ludicrously insane Holocaust comparisons, you and I would never have heard of him. Doing his job the way he’s supposed to do it doesn’t get him any attention. Competence and common sense are rewarded with obscurity and yawns. The social-media and mass-media worlds have created all of the incentives to act like a maniac. This doesn’t make Walsh right. But it does help explain why it seems like you’re always hearing about insane obscure lawmakers.

In other words, Walsh had a "common sense" point – sensible public health measures are fascist – but he was forced to act like a nut, not because he is a nut, but because no one would pay attention to him unless he acted like a nut. And it’s all the media’s fault. 

Now that it looks like we’re getting that House January 6 commission, I look forward to Geraghty’s “An attempted murder of Mike Pence is the voice of the unheard” column. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 24, 2021

THE NEW BREED.

At Roy Edroso Breaks It Down I just did another one of my This Is Hardcore bits where I scan the emails sent by rightwing propagandists to your senile relatives and pick out some of the weirder bits like “WOKE MOB NOW DIGGING UP CONFEDERATE GRAVES!” for my readers' delectation. (No, I’m not releasing this issue to the public – get a subscription, guys, it’s cheap.)

Here’s one thing that strikes me as I do these things now: the bottom-feeders who run sites like Three Percenter Nation and Steadfast Clash are sort of like the modern equivalent of the fringier rightbloggers I used write about at the Village Voice – people like Bill Quick at Daily Pundit and Ace of Spades HQ, among others. (Those two are still around, by the way, and, as a scan of their sites will show, still absolutely raging lunatics, having updated their shtick with McAfee Did Not Kill Himself/January 6 Was a False Flag stories but having not, apparently, sought competent psychiatric help in the meantime.) 

What put me in mind of that was a 2011 column of mine I revisited, inspired by the ooga-booga around critical rce theory that's currently all the rage. That column was on the perennial rightblogger routine of declaring America's cities hellholes laid waste by crime, even when crime is actually going down, and making a strenuous effort to put a certain complexion on that criminality, if you know what I mean. Excerpt: 
Over the July 4 weekend, some black teens robbed a store and hit some white people in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee. The incident has been exhaustively followed up on by the Milwaukee PD, and some parents of the malefactors have even been turning their kids in. Rightbloggers didn’t notice, though, being too focused on the coming anti-white holocaust which, in their view, the crime portended. 

 “It’s really not that difficult to understand that whereas small minorities usually conform, more or less, to the behavioral patterns of the majority that outnumbers them, they cease to do so once they become the numerically dominant population,” gibbered Vox Day. “And to be fair, why on Earth should they? It’s now their territory by ancient right of conquest and modern right of self-determination"...

Coming to Day’s pre-emptive defense was Robert Stacy McCain: “Writing something like that should elicit accusations of ‘raaaaacism’ — from white liberals who wouldn’t dare set foot in Milwaukee after dark,” said McCain, who clearly thinks the post-sundown population of Brew City consists exclusively of black people and gutsy white right-wingers intent on bucking unfortunate stereotypes. (By the way, Milwaukee’s crime rate is also dropping. Soon maybe even liberals will hang out there!) 

At the Daily Caller, Jim Treacher had the brilliant idea of rewriting the story with the racial identities of the perps and victims reversed, then revealing the switch and talking about racism. Really makes you think!
Now that, in the pandemic era, crime has gone up a bit, the rightbloggers' inheritors have picked the routine up again

But most of the rightbloggers have scattered to the four winds, blown their brains out, or recalibrated their routines. (I was informed recently that Treacher has a Substack. Those people will take anybody!) But their work is carried on, indeed carried forward, by operatives who are much better funded and publicized. For example:


All four of these examples are worth tracking down, but the OAN guy calling for you and me to be executed for treason is must-see Nazi. 

 In the old days you might get this kind of froth from fringe figures, but now it’s coming from national TV and radio networks, high-profile columnists, presidential candidates and presidents. It’s hard to say that rightbloggers got what they wanted – particularly since the ones who are still at it continue to act the martyr, and probably even believe their act; nothing truly satisfies people like that. (Look at Trump – you think he’s ever actually experienced real contentment? And these guys don’t even have his money!) But they have lived to see their lunacy promoted from their little blogs and shouted into the homes and faces of millions of Americans, some of them dumb enough to buy it. And if the ideas with which they have infected the polity really take hold, it’s only a matter of time before their heirs, the present-day Hardcore subjects – who make the old rightbloggers look like James Madison – get their turn at bat, assuming we even have a civilization left for them to ruin. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

HELTER SKELTER, JANUARY 6 STYLE.

Hey, just last week I was talking about the Tea Party Town Brawls of the Obama era, in which wingnuts sent operatives to the ACA Town Halls to throw bitch fits for freedom, and their similarity to what purveyors of the new “critical race theory” hysteria are trying.  Now the bitch fits are back, as “concerned parents” in Loudon County took over a school board meeting to claim their white children were being indoctrinated with Negro jazz:

After an unruly public comment session was halted by the School Board Tuesday night, chaos and a brawl ensued between members of the public, and Loudoun deputies were called to clear the room leading to two arrests.

Over 300 people packed the board room, many of them objecting to proposed Policy 8040, which protects the rights of transgender students. The board was scheduled discuss the policy, which is required by state law, later in the meeting in anticipation of a vote on Aug. 10.

Oh, yeah, they hate trans kids, too, but that’s not as trendy as CRT, so the room was flooded with anti-critical-race-theory signs and sentiments, and the propagandists spreading the word have focused on that ("The Loudoun County School Board ended debate over the school's critical race theory indoctrination. Parents responded by belting out the National Anthem" -- Dinesh D'Souza).

Since the Republicans are having a hard time getting the rabble roused over Joe Biden, this factota flip-out is pretty obviously meant to stir conservatives in Virginia and elsewhere to rise up and rampage. It’s like Manson hoping the Sharon Tate caper would start up Helter Skelter nationwide. There’s even a race war angle in both cases! 

The similarities to the old Tea Party are obvious, but since the January 6 attempted coup – and the refusal of leading conservatives to investigate or even convincingly renounce it – it’s becoming clearer that just marching around in tricorns and knee-breeches isn’t enough for conservatives now; they want their cosplay to extend to actual violence. I’m sure that’s why some of the shouters struggled with the cops when the school board tried to clear them out – they wanted to send a signal to the brethren: Helter Skelter, she’s coming down fast! 

You see it in the more advanced (read: psycho) perorations of conservatives in journals like The American Mind, where Angelo Codevilla – who has been raving about “revolution” against “the ruling class” (which, in his imagining, is not the ultra-rich who own everything but college professors and black people) since the Tea Party days – stirs up some dark shit

Today’s ruling class leads and even forces Americans to act, speak, and think as if all that they had thought good were bad, and vice versa. Almost as if a vengeful power had conquered the country. At least half the country yearns for some kind of rescue…

Doubtless, rescuing disrespected constitutions has always required and will always require undoing any number of enemies…

In short, America has changed so much from what it had been just a half century ago that any restoration implies some sort of mutual alienation, separation, or secession, whether as a substitute for civil war or as a result of it…

Codevilla paints his liberal enemies as monsters (“The oligarchy lets rapists and robbers walk, and punishes only demonstrations against its regime… America’s Woke side regards worship of the God of the Bible as the source of the White man’s rapacity, racism, and oppression”)  and “resistance” to them as an existential necessity. All that's missing is a cry to take the Hill – but maybe January 6 also taught them to do more prep work before sounding the final trump. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: These people are mad and must be stopped

Thursday, June 17, 2021

IT'S ASTROTURRIFIC!

Here's a HufPost story from the Obamacare Town Halls of 2009:

Congressman Steve Kagen, (D-Wisc.) found himself interrupted during a town hall meeting on health care on Thursday evening which, considering the boisterous protests going on at these events all week, wasn’t much of a surprise.

But towards the end of the Wisconsin Democrat’s health care forum something a bit peculiar happened. A woman who initially identified herself as “just a mom from a few blocks away” who was “not affiliated with a political party” was outed by a reporter as a GOP operative who worked for Kagen’s election opponent John Gard as well as the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Republican National Committee.

Those Town Halls, it turned out, were thick with living astroturf from rightwing PACs and pressure groups who disguised their obstreperous operatives as Just Plain Joes and Janes so people would think their "No Affordable Health Care for Me!" message was genuine Vox Populi. 

Flash forward to the current "critical race theory" controversy, and surprise, conservatives are trying the same thing with the same kind of ringers, a number of whom have been ID'd in this excellent Matt Gertz and Tyler Monroe story at Media Matters:   

Fox has hosted Ian Prior at least 15 times to discuss various “critical race theory” stories, according to Media Matters’ database of weekday cable news guests. Fox hosts and anchors have given him various introductions including “Loudoun County parent”; a “father” who “has gone from concerned parent, like many of you, to legal activist”; and “a Loudoun County, Virginia, parent and founder of FightForSchools.com"...

What Fox personalities tend not to mention is Prior’s long career as a Republican political operative. He worked in top communications roles during the 2016 election cycle for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Karl Rove-fronted super PAC American Crossroads, and the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC that works to elect Republican senators which was founded by allies of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He then spent a year and a half as a top public affairs aide to Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions...

I especially enjoyed Carrie Lukas being identified as “a Virginia mom of five," a “VA mother,” etc. when I've been following her career as a rightwing nut for years

You may recall that some of us gave columnist Salena Zito a hard time back when she used to identify Republican operatives as simple salt-of-the-earth types with no political affiliation. Since then she seems to have stopped, which goes to show that even in the rough-and-tumble world of journalism there are limits. But in politics anything goes. I can't wait until John Barron steps to the mic

Friday, June 11, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I'm so past & out of it I didn't even know this was briefly popular, sort of.
Well, I
still like it!

•   I only unleashed one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down joint (the one mentioned last post) out of five this week on the GP.  Come on and sign up for the full subscription -- it's cheap! And I'll still be filling in the blanks over here. For instance, I just did an issue digging through what was at the time the latest offense to reason by ham-faced pundit Erick Erickson, and no sooner did it publish than he posted something at least as dumb. It is facially inspired by Hunter Biden saying "nigga" (aka the soft n-word) to his lawyer.

Erickson claims that a country musician and a high school student (Wallen and Groves, I guess their names are) got in trouble for using that word (which version of the word, alas, is not made clear), but “the major media outlets across the country that condemned Mr. Wallen and Ms. Groves are silent” about Biden fils

First of all, I never heard of the musician or the student before Erickson mentioned them. (I should add that Erickson claims “the New York Times wrote approvingly of Mr. Galligan ruin[in]g Groves’ scholarship,” which is a reductive-to-the-point-of-bullshit characterization of the Times’ actual coverage.)  

Second, at this moment if you look up “hunter biden n-word” on Google News you get, no lie, 91,300 hits. The majority of them seem to be from rightwing news sites yelling WHY WON’T LIB MEDIA HUNTER N-WORD BLARGH, true, but that just goes to show that rightwing media is "major media," and indeed the only source of “news” tens of millions of Americans choose to read or watch, notwithstanding that it’s mostly outrageously shoddy propaganda wearing a filmy g-string of journalism. I'm sure vastly more people have heard about Hunter Biden’s n-word than know, for example, that Trump’s AG seized Democratic Congressmen Adam Schiff’s  and Eric Swalwell’s records from Apple for reasons anyone who spent more than a few seconds downwind of the Trump Administration can guess. 

Also, this bears repeating: Who the fuck cares about Hunter Biden? These guys always talk as if he’s a Democratic Senator or something liberals have to defend. (Conversely, Trump’s nitwit, charity-defrauding sons constantly vaunt themselves into the political spotlight by helping their dad lie about the 2020 election.)

But then Erickson gets philosophical about the N-word itself:
The N-word has become the one word, the use of which, can destroy a person’s career. But it is routinely used in popular music that is listened to and enjoyed across racial lines. The word has become weaponized beyond the power any word should have if it can be used to selectively target and destroy.
“How come they can say n***** and we can’t” is a junior-high trope that we must expect, alas, even at the highest levels of conservatism. But it gets worse:
If the double standard cancelations continue, people will begin to use the word more, supposing the double standard is faux outrage at a word so common in parts of popular culture. Put another way, if the press will ignore Hunter Biden for the same sins of Wallen and Groves, many will presume the use of the word is not really a cultural sin and they will be bolder in use of it.
OK, gotta admit: “Liberals are making us say n*****” is a new one. 

•   Late add here but: There's a lot of good in this year's Pulitzers (besides, of course, my not getting one) but the decision to give no editorial cartooning award despite having three genuinely world-class nominees -- Ruben Bolling (Ken Fisher), Sammy Two Bulls, and Lalo Alcaraz -- stinks to high heaven. The Pulitzer committee has been dickish on drama in years past, usually because some old fart couldn't stand the newfangled young turks like Robert Wilson or Edward Albee, and Tom Tomorrow suggests on his Twitter account this year's fiasco could be even worse than that. Anyway, boo to whoever fucked this up. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

"THERE'S ROSS PEROT. DR. LAURA. MEGAN McARDLE. WAIT A MINUTE -- THEY'RE NOT SO GREAT."

Here’s a link to a free installment of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down (Subscribe! Cheap!) about how conservatives rushed to the defense of hypergazillionaires like Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett when their taxes were subjected to scrutiny in that ProPublica exposé. Their main argument seems to be that someone leaking the tycoons’ impossibly low tax rates is the Real Scandal, and that you paupers should worry that some evil journalism non-profit will publish your tax rate and forget all about soaking the increasingly soakworthy rich.  

When I wrote it I hadn’t seen Megan McArdle’s entry at the Washington Post. I haven’t been paying much attention to her since she explained why stimulus payments were pointless a few months back, and I should have known better because if anyone can be counted on to fly to the defense of the super-rich it’s her. 

McArdle starts by noticing that both Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are engaged in a literal space race of the sort only national governments could afford to engage in once upon a time, and she understands, really, why you littlebrains would “suspect they’re not paying enough taxes and reporters are eager to prove it,” sigh. But she’ll have you know that the “deductions they were taking seem to be largely legitimate ones you’ve heard of — think charitable donations, not hidden offshore accounts.” You’re not against charity, are you? 

Also, you’re not against fairness, are you? Because taxing the rich more would be unfair, because it’s more. You have to admit Bezos keeping all but <1% of the 99 billion in wealth he accumulated over four years is only fair -- how’d you like to have to pay more than that? Huh? What’s that? You do, in fact, pay a great deal more? Well, how about this: 

Ordinary Americans don’t pay income tax every time our stock portfolios go up or our homes appreciate a bit. We pay the tax when we sell. Why should American billionaires be different?

What do you mean you don’t have a stock portfolio? What do you mean you don’t have a house? Why then is Megan McArdle even talking to you? Actually she’s not – she’s just facing you while her true audience applauds from the Royal Box. But she can’t relax: Anyone can explain why soaking the rich is unfair – to prove her worth McArdle must also tug at the heartstrings with grim pictures of life under a more progressive tax structure:

…while the ultrawealthy wouldn’t be forced out of their family homes, they might be forced to sell off stock of a business they spent decades building. 

Gasp! One pictures Elon Musk, in his ratty fingerless gloves, peeling off shares to hand over to his Socialist Masters while consoling a tearful Grimes, “if things get very bad be can always pawn the blood emeralds.” 

The toffs no doubt are loving it, but McArdle still hasn’t got to her big finish: A show of contempt for the portfolio-less bums who don’t understand the ultrarich must be able to do big things like scout extraterrestrial locations for their post-climate-collapse HQ, and if you hoboes can’t see that maybe you just don’t have enough soul: 

“People should pay taxes on untaxed capital gains” is what you come up with if you just don’t think anyone should have enough money to be able to shoot themselves into space, and you think that the government should tax that money even if it doesn’t benefit anyone else — heck, even if it costs the rest of us something.

By some definitions of fairness, that’s a defensible position. But given a choice between letting billionaires spend fortunes reaching for the stars, or destroying those fortunes so that the rest of us don’t have to look at them, then personally, I’ll take the rockets.

Maybe she means that last bit literally, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the rich refugees from our destroyed planet left her at the launchpad – by then they’ll have created robots that can flatter them just as well at an even lower maintenance cost. 

Friday, June 04, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, June 03, 2021

THE SIMS 2021: FAUCI AND THE LAB LEAK EDITION.

So -- your hero totally fucked up a pandemic, telling people to take unauthorized treatments and maybe try "disinfectant," and massively lost reelection, and his successor is dishing out the vaccine at a good clip and scoring higher approval ratings than Tubby could ever dream of. 

What do you do? Relitigate on your own terms, pasting a story together from shards of news and your own bitter resentments. 

The COVID "lab leak" theory's a good bet -- it dovetails with the China Menace theme of contemporary conservatism, and there's a great new Vanity Fair article suggesting that authorities were not as thorough in exploring the possibility that COVID-19 spring from a Chinese lab rather than bats as they should have been (in part, reporter Katerhine Eban suggests, because Trump's "crackpots or political hacks hoping to wield COVID-19 as a cudgel against China" made the truth harder to pursue).

The Biden Administration is investigating, but if you're rightwing you know that's just part of the liberal cover-up. So, as Bannon bade, you flood the zone with shit. Jim Geraghty at National Review is on the case, declaring the Vanity Fair story is "evidence that the seemingly hyperbolic conspiracy theories" -- that is, the kind Eban mentioned as an impediment to the search for truth in her article --  "are true." They investigate, we instigate!

Thence follows a round of "You Liberals are the Real [Fill In The Blank]" -- in this case, your vaunted Democratic "follow-the-science" approach is all a lie, and our unconfirmed suspicions prove it! William McGurn at the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Biden has made many such statements (“we are letting science speak again”), but they have little to do with science. They are meant as continued digs at Mr. Trump. All are offered with a confidence, apparently fully justified, that a largely pliant press will run with them, no hard questions asked, unless you count asking the president about the flavor of his ice cream.

Ha ha, you reporters are all propagandists -- whom we're now quoting to prove the Chinese shot us with bug-bombs. (The Liberal Media gets a magic pass from customary conservative contempt the second it intersects with their talking points.)

R ightwing shitposters pick up the message -- the story means the Lab Leak (which I remind you is being investigated, not settled) is proven, and any explanation other than that is a fraud, just like climate change.  Thus your average Republican gets the message: China attacked Trump and America with the Wuhan Flu Bioweapon and the lying MSM (which, as is always the case, has actually provided such evidence as exists) refused to tell us until it was too late.

Also, what about that Fauci, who refused to kiss Tubby's ass and now works for Biden? Thousands of pages of Fauci's COVID-era emails have been published, and contain "at least one alert from a genomic researcher" suggesting “'some of the features look (potentially) engineered,'" says the New York Post, which the Murdoch paper says is "all the more reason for US to get to bottom of COVID origins":

For a year, we’ve been told to “trust the science” — but Fauci, our leading scientist, made declarations that certain theories were “debunked” when they weren’t. Why did he back up Daszak’s self-serving dismissal of the lab theory with no real evidence — when, in fact, he was getting e-mail evidence to the contrary? 

These revelations don’t ease the growing concern that US taxpayer cash might have helped unleash this plague.

Growing unease? Who gives a shit? Like most sane people, I'm much more uneasy about the slow rate of COVID vaccinations in red states (though the tendency of Republican governments to keep their subjects poor and unable to travel may mitigate their effect on the rest of us somewhat). But in wingnut world, a nod's as good as a wink, and the few mentions of possible virus weaponization among the emails to Fauci are now being portrayed as his active cover-up of the Wuhan Flu Bioweapon, inspiring some Q-flavored lunacy in a rash of #FauciLiedPeopleDied Twitter posts, including some calling for the good doctor to be executed

And so the alt-reality in which conservatives live is further developed: The election was stolen by Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters – with the help of the Red Chinese and Anthony Fauci -- so Biden could queer Mr. Potato Head and cancelculture all white people. Not my idea of paradise -- more like my idea of a madhouse, to be honest -- but apparently a third of the nation finds it cozy, and therein dwell dreaming of revenge, perhaps with another march up Capitol Hill. 

Monday, May 31, 2021

HAPPY PRIDE WITH ROD DREHER!

alicublog's favorite Jesus freak Rod Dreher has been in Hungary as a disguised or possibly unwitting Orbán operative for six weeks, and it has mainly just made him more like himself than ever. Here's a recent lulu, in which Dreher looks at this anodyne Kohl's Department Stores Pride Month ad...


...and sees this:

Now you have the biggest department store chain in America doing its part to normalize polygamy as the next step in Love Wins™.

Now, being a simple soul, I looked at the photo and thought, oh what a lot of nice gay-or-possibly-ally models! I didn't realize all the adults were not only fucking but married

One wonders why Dreher didn't assume the little kid was part of the tetrad because Kohl's is into pedophilia. Or would QAnon pedo stuff be a little too déclassé for Dreher -- at least for the moment?  

There's more, including some wonderfully Dreheresque Pennsylvania Dutch sampler copy, e.g.:

We got gay marriage because the Supreme Court ruled that it’s a fundamental right of people to marry those they love. Fundamental rights don’t depend on whether or not it’s good for a society if people have them.

The First Amendment doesn't mean you can say "fuck my ass dry!" in a crowded theater.  And Dreher's investigation of a gay-friendly Blue's Clues episode is -- well, look:

Happy Pride, guys, and remember: If you think Pride's tired and not worth celebrating, remember that it's still capable of raising a fine froth among the Bigot-American community. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I had this soundtrack as a teenager and loved it -- not just because of the movie 
but also because the eclecticism was very cool to me 
(even though I didn't know what "eclecticism" was.)

•   I am titrating the free access to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down in hopes some of you free-riders will take the hint and subscribe. Today's freebie is an account of my trip back to the homeland last weekend and the deep thoughts it stirred. Go on, live it up. If you want more of my prose stylings, I've started doing short bits on the front of my homepage -- updated at random, not even saved, in a spirit of wanton generosity and as an offering (as Kia liked to say) of cheese and crackers on the altar of the gods. 

•  I can either drink or I can weep, as Art Carney says in that great Twilight Zone episode. No fewer than 24 Republican-run states have blocked the extra federal unemployment payments the Biden administration had extended to their constituents.  And they'll probably suffer no ill electoral effects from it either, because while polls show voters of all kinds approve of stimulus payments, they also show that a lot of voters simply don't know that the Democrats support such payments and that Republicans don't -- per a Rural Objective PAC survey:

Americans have so far received three direct payments from the federal government in response to the coronavirus. The first two were distributed under President Donald Trump’s watch, but while not a single Republican voted in favor of the third round, only half of rural voters in a new poll gave Democrats any credit.

Oh, and remember those power outages in Texas that had residents freezing in the dark because the semi-privatized (that is, private profit/public risk) power companies didn't bother to plow their receipts into winterization? Texas is going to fix it by letting the power cos raise rates:

Most Texans will likely have higher charges on their power bills for years to come to cover gas utilities', electric cooperatives' and electric companies’ financial losses from the storm and prevent customers from having to pay huge bills in a short time.

Lawmakers are close to passing bills that would allow companies to seek billions of dollars in state-approved bonds backed by charges on customers’ bills to stabilize the state’s distressed energy market.  

See, this was a big reason why I always voted for Bernie Sanders -- at least when people listened to him, they weren't confused about whether he wanted to soak the rich or not. 

I keep thinking eventually the honkies in at least a few of these GOP states will figure out that the cheap thrills they get from the GOP's racism-and-culture-war sideshows aren't worth their every-increasing immiseration, but the 2020 Georgia results suggest the only reliable clapback is to get more black people to the polls, which is why the Republican-run states are also trying to stop that

And now the Republicans are also blocking the January 6 commission with the filibuster, that sacred institution Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are too dainty to touch. I tell ya, if Democrats don't start acting like Democrats, even I'm gonna forget what they're supposed to be in favor of. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

STREET HASSLE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 21, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


This was especially good live. Original's great too!

Not much to say this week that I didn't say at the newsletter, so go on over there and enjoy the two freebies. The first is a follow-up on my previous essay on the super-weird conservative ploy where they act like wearing a mask in public is somehow much, much worse than not wearing one. In the original essay I found their shtick was that just seeing people who wore masks somehow discouraged people from getting vaccinated (har har); by the new one, they had switched to the message that liberals wore masks because they were stupid freaks and if you didn't want to be a freak and stupid you should stop wearing them like a big freaky stupid-head.

You can imagine how they reacted whenever someone just said out loud what this kind of politicized thinking had led to. When David Hogg tweeted, jokingly I assume, "I feel the need to continue wearing my mask outside even though I’m fully vaccinated because the inconvenience of having to wear a mask is more than worth it to have people not think I’m a conservative [yikes emoji]," they rage-gasmed -- after all, Hogg was one of the Parkland kids who objected to the shooting gallery gun nuts had made of their school, and they are sworn to vengeance against him. "Any time the obnoxious Mr. Hogg is inconvenienced is a good time," snarled the Independent Women's Forum's Nan Hayworth; "Even better if he wore three masks to REALLY distance himself from conservatives." Then they'd know who to shoot! "HOGG OFFERS MOST HOGGY REASON FOR COVERING HIS FACE" hyuk-hyuked Steven Crowder; "Havard’s [sic] Pride David Hogg has some super sciency reasoning for KEEPING his mask on and LOL," gibbered Twitchy. It's the terminal stage of "You're The Real [Fill In the Blank]" thinking: Whatever you do is by definition wrong. That's why I always tell these guys not to drink gasoline whenever I see a couple.

Also free for you lovely people: The natural progression of Texas abortion laws.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

ROD DREHER'S ORBÁN RENEWAL, A MONTH IN.

As I have mentioned, Rod Dreher is in Budapest, ostensibly as a visiting fellow at the rightwing Danube Institute but, it would seem from his own accounts, to be turned and lathed by Viktor Orbán's agents for the international fascist movement. Among his many self-embarrassments that I have recorded has been his defense of the Red Chinese vs. the terminally "woke" West ("There’s an argument to be made that a country would be better off with ChiCom College than with the University of Baizuo [the Chinese term of derision for 'white leftists']"). Kinda makes sense -- the American conservative movement and the GOP have been turning hard against democracy; Rod's handlers are just getting him out in front. 

Well, after a month in Viktor's Orbit, Dreher has made great progress, emitting such fash aphorisms as "You cannot have a society in which people feel free to live however they like, and expect that society to thrive," and, as ever, raging against black and gay and trans people. He even turned over an entire blog post -- defending the new Chinese college Orbán brought in to replace the liberal arts college he drove out of the country -- to a more exprienced Orbánist operative to write, in prose even more clunkily propagandistic than his own, which must have really been tough for the logorrheic Dreher to sit for. Still, if he's going to play for the team, he's gotta learn when to warm the bench. 

One of the more bizarre tropes of Dreher's residency has been his obsession with a statue -- a replica of the Statue of Liberty back home in the corrupt West, painted in rainbow colors with "Black Lives Matter" on her plaque. He's mentioned it no fewer than five times - starting with this:

I spoke to a Hungarian man about that recently, and he said, “This is why I stand by Orbán, even though I don’t like some things he’s doing. We can see that our Left is trying to bring the same things here. Did you know that there was a Black Lives Matter statue here in Budapest? The far right tore it down, but it was there for a day, and had Lady Liberty in a rainbow flag. What is that doing in Budapest? We don’t have any black people here, but the Left is trying to import American issues.”

Of course. It’s a globalist left-wing ideology: gender fluidity, racial consciousness, soft totalitarianism. And it’s all being pushed by elites in the media and in institutions...

Then again ("Another Hungarian today brought up in conversation the recent construction of a Black Lives Matter/LGBT Statue of Liberty") and again ("the fact, though, that the left-wing Budapest city government erected a Black Lives Matter/LGBT Statue of Liberty as a protest against the Orbán government is not a good sign") and again ("Did you know that there was a Black Lives Matter statue here in Budapest?") and again ("as I wrote last week, the anti-Orbán Left recently erected a mock-up of the Statue of Liberty").   

You have to wonder why the thing eats at him so much. Maybe it's like Giuliani when he was Mayor and the "Sensations" show at the Brooklyn Museum drove him to sputtering rage back in 1999 -- only, unlike Giuliani, Dreher has no complaisant press (well, besides his high-profile buddies like David Brooks and so far they haven't gone for this one) to amplify his crusade stateside, so he signals madly like a castaway at a distant ship. Or maybe the Orbán agents who keep coming up to him and saying shit like "pardon me, stranger, I'm just a poor shopkeeper who wants everybody to live in peace but the decadent West must be purified by cleansing fire" see some percentage in working him up to mentioning it every week.

BTW, here's an article with some background on that statue from German media outlet Deutsche Welle (h/t @David_Jorgonson at Twitter). Highlights:

As a non-partisan mayor [of Budapest district Ferencváros] supported by the opposition, [Krisztina] Baranyi says she's used to being condemned by the pro-government media. But now she is being insulted on all channels and threatened with rape and acid attacks, she told DW. "All we wanted was to give young Hungarian artists a chance to show their art in public," the district mayor said.

Yeah, that tracks. Also:

Commentators on Hungarian television contributed to fueling the controversy. One of them compared the artwork to erecting a statue for Adolf Hitler. Origo, the largest government-related online news site, described the sculpture as the beginning of "incitement and hatred against whites and Christians" in Hungary. Zsolt Bayer, a notorious right-wing media figure and co-founder of Orban's Fidesz party, even threatened to destroy it.

There was also criticism of the sculpture from the government itself. Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Gergely Gulyas, called the Black Lives Matter movement "fundamentally racist" because it does not see white people as equals. "So it's not the ones who oppose a statue to BLM that are racist but the ones erecting it," Gulyas declared in December. [emphasis added

You're The Real Racists, aka Routine 9! I don't know why the boys in the bund bothered with Dreher -- it looks like he and they were already reading from the same playbook.  

Friday, May 14, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


The Hall of Fame fucks left out the Dolls, phooey! 
Here's a song I thought for years was a Dolls original, Good either way.

•   I said last week I was scaling back on the freebies from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, aka the only Substack that's not just some mope crying cancelculture (plus it has laffs!). But I can't help it, mine is a generous nature -- this week I offer two out of this week's five (5) issues, which is what I give paying customers every week (How does he do it! How long can he last!). The first shows a conference between Bari Weiss and the Kentucky Derby guy who said he was cancelcultured (i.e. caught doping his horse); the second is today's installment, about how, while the Never Trumpers have receded, the Just-The-Tip Trumpers have emerged as the Republican Party's dominant faction, led by Crazy Jesus Lady Peggy Noonan. 

•   Speaking of logrolling, I seldom do the hat-tips that were once the bread and butter of blogdom because no one gives a shit about blogs anymore (even Tubby can't get the rubes stiff with his). But I must mention that Ellis Weiner, an old National Lampoon hand, has a food blog called Learning from Linguine that anyone will appreciate who has gazed in mute horror at the increasingly atrocioius atrocities with which foodies try to wring clicks 'n' cachet out of the ancient art of cookery. This, for example, is from Weiner's response to Eleven Madison Park going meatless:

1. Learning from Linguine will, from today on, not publish any recipes using beef unless they’re really good. That will eliminate some of the beef-based recipes we have already developed and have otherwise intended to publish, which aren’t so great.

2. As for other forms of meat, we will only publish recipes which employ meats from animals that only eat plants. We will immediately shut down our research program investigating the feasibility of employing plants that eat meat, such as the Venus Fly-Trap (Dionaea muscipula)...

Mighty good copy for the pennies it costs. (Actually it's free -- even better!) 

•   Last week I documented the new rightwing craze of denouncing people who wear masks as The Real Virus-Spreaders. Now that the CDC says the vaccinated can go commando, these people are getting completely out of hand, as we can see from the cocaine-encrusted Don Junior's ravings:


Ben Shapiro does something similar ("we have known this for months"), albeit with less gums-rubbing and sniffling. Nearly as bad are the allegedly respectable rightwing outlets like TownHall:

For weeks, everyone knew you didn’t need to wear a mask after you were vaccinated. You also didn’t spread the virus when you got the shot as well; that was atrocious science fiction that Dr. Anthony Fauci and his crew peddled...

Well, it turns [out] Rand [Paul] and the rest of us who knew that mask-wearing after vaccination was idiocy were right. The experts don’t know anything. Well, first, they’re not really experts. They’re DC bureaucrats who are giving their so-called advice while also hoping to get more funding for next year’s budget so ulterior motives abound...

This is sort of a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, only dumber: Because scientists have now decided it's safe for the vaccinated to do without masks, rightwingers think it proves masks were never necessary and WHAT ELSE WERE THEY LYING TO US ABOUT!

Myself, I have a few days of mask-wearing left because my wife's vaccination is not yet fully cooked and I care what happens to people who are not me -- which is not a universal trait in this country, alas, so even after this, I'll be selective about masklessness -- like, definitely masking on buses and trains when that becomes optional, because I know the psychos who spent a year rampaging through stores without masks screaming about their rights will now just sit quietly and contentedly diffusing COVID. 

Meantime let us savor what may be the apotheosis of this nonsense -- Matt Taibbi claiming Biden only kept wearing a mask (until yesterday, that is) because he's a tyrant:

I’d be the last person to ever suggest an unvaccinated person go without a mask — I wore one everywhere since this thing started — but the symbolism of, say, a vaccinated Joe Biden still wearing a mask outdoors in defiance of CDC guidelines, or Kamala Harris releasing pictures of herself wearing a mask for a Zoom call, is increasingly obvious. For a politician, the mask is a symbol of the authority he or she has borrowed from science, and removing one is a symbol that the fear justifying emergency power has subsided. It’s hardly surprising to see a reluctance to take masks off, even when scientists say it’s fine to do so.

That Taibbi stuck this on yet another cancelculture blubberfest is just the shit icing on the crapcake. 

UPDATE on the above -- This is rich: At HotAir, Ed Morrissey is mad at Nancy Pelosi because... she wants all House members to keep wearing masks because the Republican members refuse to get vaccinated.

And … so? As someone who was masking when the CDC advised against it, I’m in better position than most to say that the risk should be transferred to those who refuse to vaccinate. I might still choose to mask up in certain situations, in large part to protect my immune-suppressed wife, but that will be my choice. There is no need to mandate me as a vaccinated person to mask up on the basis that people choose not to vaccinate, a standard that would in essence become a permanent mask mandate and put the burden of irresponsibility on responsible citizens.

Where precisely is the risk here anyway? It’s on those who choose not to get vaccinated. As the CDC finally admitted yesterday and the science has shown for months...

(Funny, I didn't know Morrissey was an epidemiologist as well as a propagandist.)

...the vaccinated have such a surpassingly microscopic risk of symptomatic infection and contagious status that no further protection is necessary. If the unvaccinated feel at risk over unmasked vaccinated people, they can either (a) mask up themselves, or (b) get vaccinated, as the vaccines are now ubiquitously available, especially for members of Congress.

If the Republicans and staffers who choose not to get vaccinated end up with an acute case of COVID-19, that’s on them.

So, even though Morrissey is still masking himself because he has an immunocompromised loved one, he's less angry at the GOP assholes who ain't gonna take no goldurned vaccine than he is at the Democrats who will mask in session to mitigate the risk their maskless colleagues willfully present. 

As I've pointed out, these assholes were bitching a few weeks ago that by staying masked Democrats were discouraging vaccination.  Now we have a perfect closed study of conservatives who won't mask no matter what, and Morrissey is bitching that Democrats are staying masked because...they're being too accommodating toward their more vulnerable colleagues, I guess, which is bad because it's mollycoddling and Republicans are ruff-tuff creampuffs

I expect next Morrissey will start yelling at grocery stores that continue to require masks-- c'mon, the responsible customers are safe, and to hell with the rest of them! And don't talk to me about "variants," I'm a conservative and I know the science was settled months ago in my favor.

Friday, May 07, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


James Chance plays James Brown.

•   There are a few unlocked Roy Edroso Breaks It Down stories on the site, but I warn you, I'll be scaling way back on these in the future in order to keep the flow of Soup For My Family going. So subscribe, ya cheap bastards! Meantime here's the newest: An announcement we may expect at any moment from the latest vacant rightwing celebrity candidate, Caitlyn Jenner. I note most of the rightwing news coverage of her absurd candidacy has been heavy on embarrassed silence -- even Rod Dreher, who's been pitching a full-body fit about trans people for years, has yet to weigh in. I see tradcath National Review writer Michael Brendan Dougherty has a paywalled thing up dek'd thus: "Caitlyn Jenner’s campaign has an undeniable, if corrupting, allure that leaves viewers — ahem, voters — wondering what will happen next." You know who else had undeniable if corrupting allure! I won't sully my conscience with a subscription, but if someone sent me the text I'd indulge my morbid curiosity. 

UPDATE -- Ugh I got to see Dougherty's first graf:
When Caitlyn Jenner said to Sean Hannity, “I love California,” I totally bought it. Despite my reservations and curled lip. The words were breathy, nostalgic, and weird, especially in that nerdy voice coming from behind that dishy hairdo. But I believed it in a way I’ve never believed anything that Sean Hannity has said. And if the Wheaties-box-Olympian-turned-reality-TV-star is going to upend California politics — a prospect about which I have my doubts and dreads — it is because, unlike the normal Republican pols, there is a real emotion behind the artificial appearance.
Or to paraphrase the old joke about Moses:  You know it's bullshit, I know it's bullshit, but business is business! NR cuts it off there, but I was actually able to hear the rest via audio version. It's too stupid to call for a thorough, diligent transcription, but here's the "best" line: "With Jenner, the organs may have been misplaced, but the glands are still pumping hormones in there somewhere." Otherwise it's the usual snarls against liberal Cali -- there's "human excrement in the street," plus, Dougherty complains, the houses cost too much! -- and ends with a half-hearted nag about gender activism, but in general he approves because lol, owned much libs. Wait'll he and the rest of them find out Jerry Brown isn't immortal and can't be called back to rebalance the books after Jenner fucks it all up. 

•   One of the most infuriating things I've seen from the alleged "Party of the Working Class" GOP is the draconian measures employed by some of its governors (more on the way, I'm sure) to force their unemployed to fill the shit-paying jobs that have gone begging pronto or get kicked into the street. Apparently the many assholes blubbering that you just can't get a good dishwasher for pocket change anymore have jerked the Republicans' chains and they in turn are putting the whip to their less-fortunate citizens.  

South Carolina governor Henry McMaster and Montana governor Greg Gianforte are actually going to deny their people the extra federal unemployment benefits they've been getting, and Florida's Ron DeSantis -- or as I like to call him, Chunky Scott Walker -- says he's re-instituting work-search documentation requirements for Floridians on the dole, so if they can't prove they hit all the fast-food joints in town looking for a sub-living-wage, they're cut off. 

I'm sure these assholes are also against the $15 federal minimum wage. And all of them sing the same refrain from the wingnut donor-class hymnal: "Employers can't find workers."  The right of their citizens to a decent job doesn't exist, but the right of their donors to an involuntary cheap labor force does.  

Naturally scumbags like Paul Mirengoff at Power Line ("ANOTHER SENSIBLE DECISION FROM RON DESANTIS") are all in favor. I can hardly think of more to say about it, except that if Dante's underworld actually existed they'd need several more circles to handle all the traffic. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

BACK ON THE D-LIST, TUBBY.

You could go to Tubby's "new" "social media" site, which Fox News finds very exciting, or you could look at it through the protective glass of my own lens. To each their own. 

As for the ravings of the brethren over Facebook's decision not to let the insurrectionist deposed leader back onto their platform, it is as you expect: Lots of blubbering that Tubby has been "censored," as if he were the Man In The Iron Muzzle trapped in a liberal prison, rather than a vicious blowhard who treated the site's Terms of Service like he treats all other rules and, in a refreshing change of pace, paid for it. 

Among those who believe there's a constitutional right to a Facebook account is Ian Haworth at the Daily Wire, who though pleased that Tubby has (as he always had!) alternative means of reaching his yahoos online, nonetheless laments that "the Left’s 'iron curtain' of speech" prevents him from forcing his ravings onto the social media brand of his choosing:

However, in the long-term it accepts the Left’s premise that conservative voices do not belong in the online public square. By accepting this premise, and shifting to conservative alternatives rather than fighting for our right to participate, we risk effectively endorsing an internet-based form of ideological segregation.

And in this form of ideological segregation, once the systems are in place, it’ll be very hard to reintegrate again.

In other words, without Twitter and Facebook Trump is nothing more than another loudmouth, and most of us will not take the few extra online steps to go to wherever he's still welcome and listen to his bullshit. He (and, by implication, any conservative voice) needs to be parked in the middle of the busiest lanes on the internet or people won't voluntarily pay attention. 

This follows the longstanding theory that without the click-hungry media training their mics and cameras on him -- and even, you'll remember, on empty podiums marked "Trump" waiting for him to arrive -- this grotesque con artist would never have ascended to the highest office in the land. And now that voters have shown this to be a grievous error, some of his enablers are backing off. Well, better late than never, I guess, though I expect once the coast is clear they'll elevate Honey Boo-Boo or some other has-been. In the meantime let us savor the blessed silence.

Friday, April 30, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

Ah, that's the stuff. I miss noise.
(Can you believe they did this in 2003? The ex-kids are alright!) 

•   Biden's speech appears to have gone down a treat among normal people -- naturally, as it was delivered by an avuncular old man who already did a good job of delivering COVID vaccinations and is now promising to similarly fix other fucked-up shit. The brethren are furiously spinning it. Ham-faced pundit Erick Erickson first tried "Republicans Should Be Encouraged By The Biden Speech," on the grounds that it was "a desperate grab for control" that's "going to cause more inflation and that's going to hurt Biden" (Gasp! Not inflation! Someone get out the old WIN pins!) and anyway "the Democrats are headed into disarray... Joe Biden's days are numbered and he knows it."

Erickson must have looked at the polls, because the next day he was claiming "two days after Joe Biden’s first address to Congress, more people are talking about Tim Scott’s response than Joe Biden’s speech." If this were true, since Erickson thinks Biden's speech was a dog I don't see how that's supposed to be bad for Democrats; also, to the extent people are talking about Scott, it's certainly attributable to fascination that there's still a black Republican in Congress, and that he claims liberals called him the n-word. (Didn't say who, though! Maybe he's saving it for his autobiography.) This routine is catnip to Erickson, who praises Scott for "exposing how must [sic] the progressive wokes really hate this country" and "reminding Americans how out of touch the elite tastemakers and opinion setters are." Candace Owens, Sheriff David Clark, and Ali Alexander must be pissed, all their dreams of joining Ron DeSantis on a You're The Real Racist GOP Unity Ticket having crumbled. (I wonder whether Scott's speech moved the 47% of Republicans who think Derek Chauvin is innocent.)

Peggy Noonan does her bit, and it's a chef's casserole of rightwing received opinion. Being smarter than Erickson she knows she'd better acknowledge that Biden seems nice, but then it's Coffee Break Over Everyone Back On Their Heads: After the snottiness that has become the new GOP SOP on Biden's social distancing and masking ("playacting Pandemic Theatre" -- guess she thinks gin kills the germs before they can get to her lungs), and some How Will You Pay for It posturing, it's time to Reacharound Across The Aisle:

The president said again he is eager to negotiate with Republicans. There isn’t much evidence of this, but here are the reasons he should be treating them with respect and as equal partners. It would be good for the country to see the Senate actually working—negotiating, making deals, representing constituencies. It would be good for the Democrats to show they’re not just playing steamroller and flattening the Republicans; they’re reasoning because they’re reasonable. Also they need Republicans to co-own legislative outcomes because whatever they are they’ll be very liberal. Negotiation and compromise...

I'm seriously asking: Does anyone believe this shit anymore? After Tubby paid off Republican donors with his trillion-dollar-plus Tax and Jobs Act, and all the pandemic spending, people have started losing their fear of deficit spending; also, they know economically things are fucked up and bullshit and even Republican voters want a higher minimum wage -- but the Republican Party is still blubbering about deficits and bootstraps, preaching Reaganism to generations who weren't around to be bamboozled by it and who probably look upon the artifacts of the Age of Alex P. Keaton with horror and disgust. How are Democrats supposed to negotiate with that?

Noonan alludes to this shift in the vaguest way possible  -- she sees "a deep reconsideration" and Americans "questioning that oldest American tradition: ambition" and seeking "something new, less driven, more communal." That could mean what the left is proposing with anti-racism and mutual aid -- or it could be evangelical home-school Bible rule. I think she sees a replay of the 1970s, when social and political upheavals led to the Reagan reactionary wave on which she built her career. But it's interesting that she won't say out loud where it will go; a true careerist always leaves the door open for a heel-turn. 

•   This week's Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies include this one about the stupid Biden Bans Red Meat thing that conservatives were spreading a week ago but you know what? Better you should just go in the front door and look at all the stories that don't have locks next to their descriptors. And then subscribe! I know some of you can afford it. 


Thursday, April 29, 2021

BETTER RED THAN WOKE!

Maybe some of you can explain this to me. You'll recall that when last we left Rod Dreher, he had removed to Budapest to study crypto-fascism under Viktor Orbán and John O’Sullivan. Since then he has been frequenting a coffee shop named after Roger Scruton, so maybe he's being surreptitiously microdosed, because some of his effusions have spun even further out of the Dreher Belt than usual. 

Yesterday:

I hope, at the end of the 20th century, when the Chinese masters of the globe write the history of the West’s decline and fall, they note that it was a suicide. Seriously, yesterday I was having a beer with a Hungarian journalist, and mentioned to him that it troubled me that the Hungarian government is going to welcome a Budapest campus of Fudan University, the first foreign outpost of the Shanghai college. Fudan U. is one of the best in China, and best in the world. My Hungarian interlocutor observed that “there won’t be any wokeness at Fudan.” As much as I recoil at the idea of Communist China establishing a beachhead in Hungary, on second thought, it would not be obvious to me that it’s more dangerous to do an academic deal with the Chinese devil than with the Western devil. As we see daily, wokeness is destroying the West. If this insanity takes hold in Hungary, it’s going to tear Hungary to bits. There’s an argument to be made that a country would be better off with ChiCom College than with the University of Baizuo (the Chinese term of derision for “white leftists”). [Emphasis added

I ask my readers who are more tuned into rightwing esoterica: What the fuck? I'm aware that conservatives would rather be ruled by Putin than by Democrats. But the Red Chinese?