Friday, August 20, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Sure I like Coltrane when he stretches out, but I'm a sucker for this stuff.

•   Got a couple of freebies at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down this week. The first is a scenario for a hot new Hollywood action thriller based on the prestige press’ shitfit over Afghanistan. It’s been highly annoying to watch these idiots – many of whom were gung-ho to get us into Afghanistan and Iraq all those years ago (Eliot Cohen, for fuck’s sake!) – now crying that we should have done something different, like maybe sneak out on tiptoe so no one would notice, or go back in time and convince Trump not to surrender to the Taliban, maybe. Well, fuck them. Getting out of Afghanistan is the right thing to do and most people know it, no matter how much the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski (described by Politico thus: “whose brother Mark is Biden’s pick to serve as ambassador to Poland” – man, and I thought I had memory problems!) preens over it. 

The other freebie is about the latest breakout rightwing star, and his probable career trajectory. 

•   Like we needed more examples of creepy conservative COVID grifters, but here's Texas AG Dan Patrick

“Democrats like to blame Republicans on [the spread of COVID],” Patrick said. “Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated. The last time I checked, over 90 percent of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties”…

The latest data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows that the African American population there is not driving the increase in cases. Black residents in Texas accounted for 16.4 percent of the state’s cases and 10.2 percent of deaths as of Aug. 13. While vaccination rates are low among Black Texans, the highest coronavirus case rates are among Whites and Hispanics, who make up 34.9 percent and 35.8 percent of the state’s cases respectively, according to the latest data.

While the black vaccinated rate in the U.S. is lower than that of whites, it’s also true that black vaccinations are going up, particularly in COVID hot spots. That’s probably because black activists are working to get their people to acknowledge and respond to the danger – while, conversely, prominent Republicans, including Patrick’s boss Greg Abbott, have been loudly pushing anti-vaxxer nonsense, including the insane anti-mask mandates favored by Abbott and Florida’s DeSantis.

But Patrick’s blame-the-blacks strategy is actually quite common on the Right, from National Review’s Jim Geraghty to the lowliest Gab Nazi, for reasons that you can guess. It’s always easier for conservatives to indulge the literally suicidal (and homicidal) fantasy politics of their base if they can say "it was some black guys, I swear," and have a bunch of them automatically believe it.

Friday, August 13, 2021

HEY RUBE.

 Hey remember when everyone was fleeing New York because of crime and riots and bums etc.?

New York City adds 629,000 people, defying predictions of its decline.

New York City has grown by more than 629,000 people — or nearly 8 percent — since 2010, reaching 8.8 million and defying predictions that its population was on the decline...

But city officials said the increase was at least in part a result of getting a better count.

In recent years, New York’s Department of City Planning, which supplies data to the Census Bureau, added 265,000 housing units that had been missing from the bureau’s list, including both “hard to find” and newly constructed units.

“This allowed the Census Bureau to enumerate half a million people which they would have otherwise missed,” said Arun Peter Lobo, New York City’s chief demographer. “Because we told them, they knew exactly where to go"...

“The decline of New York City has been foretold very often — incorrectly,” [Arun Peter Lobo, New York City’s chief demographer] said. “I understand that this is largely a pre-Covid population, but adding over 600,000 people is like adding the population of Miami. It’s huge.”
Conservatives have been saying for years that New York is finished because they saw some people renting U-Hauls in Manhattan, and they really got into it during the pandemic. But the plain fact is, New York City remains very popular, as is evidenced by its high rents and prices -- which you'd think free-market rightwingers would consider a sign that people want what New York offers, if they weren't totally full of shit. 

Telling their rubes that cities are unlivable because they're full of liberals who vote for Democrats is ancient rightwing shtick, and even when crime goes down they stick to their story. Well. It's a big, beautiful country with something for everyone, and New York City is used to haters. 

UPDATE: Oh, right, on Fridays I usually release some Roy Edroso Breaks It Down stories, so here you go: An ad for the social media platform for conservatives who really want unlimited free speech -- Bunkr! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

BLAST FROM THE PAST.

The man we call Ole Perfesser 'round these here parts (Glenn Reynolds, for those blessedly unaware of our old routines) is still in the blog game. I don't look in on him much anymore -- but I don't mean that as some back-handed way of saying he's irrelevant. On the contrary: He remains very relevant to modern conservatism, which makes sense as he is one of the people who made it what it is today, as was evident in the last post of his that I mentioned here, just before the 2020 election, in which he wrote:  

What is going on in media now is not normal. It is, in fact, a species of coup. Should Biden win, many will regard his victory as essentially illegitimate because of this, and they will have a good argument.

This is the sort of thing that can, and did, encourage insurrection. And that's why I don't usually read him -- his sentiments, considered unique and bracing back in the day, are now carried by a thousand MAGA grift sites that your senile relatives devour (as seen in the "Hardcore" series at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, a project from an old blog guy to which you definitely should subscribe). 

Anyway the Perfesser is in the New York Post today, telling his followers that he saw some snooty liberals making snotty comments about the unvaccinated, and that proves snooty snotty liberals, aka the "laptop-class 'meritocrats,'" are not trying to get conservatives to wear masks and take vaccines because they actually want to halt the spread of COVID-19 and its variants that are raging through red strongholds, but as a way of actin' like they're somethin' better'n them and "garnering high-fives from people who agree and, ultimately, creating an ideological veneer for unquestioned elite rule." So why should you comply? Better to reign in a disease-ridden hellhole America than serve in Wokeistan! No, really, read his closing:

It’s also easy for politicians to capitalize on. They thrive on division, and on passions that distract people from what they’re actually doing. But if you’re making the country worse to feel good about yourself, maybe you’re not such a good person after all. And if you’re falling for politicians’ tricks, maybe you’re not as smart as you think.

So if you're considering wearing a mask in the grocery store just because some liberal told you to, Perfesser Reynolds is here to tell you it's just another "politicians' trick." And to think you almost fell for it! 

(And don't even ask about Godlstein.)

UPDATE. Elsewhere in the Perfesser's home state:


The message is getting around! 

Friday, August 06, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Shit is wild.

•   Busy today (Ha! Every day! And this is the thanks I get!) but will try to stick on some commentary later. Meantime enjoy freebies from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, the Only Substack That Matters: Today’s is the script for a trailer inspired by the latest film in which 90-year-old Clint Eastwood stars. Now, I love the guy, too – I even liked American Sniper – but you gotta admit, that’s funny; it’s up there with late Bob Hope romantic comedies. If it’s politics you crave, here’s the earlier one about Biden doing that dumb Obama thing where he has a bunch of conservative columnists over for lunch

•   Jamelle Bouie notes, in his consideration of rightwingers’ recent Orbanmania – which has been amplified by Tucker Carlson, ably assisted by favorite alicublog Figure of Fun Rod Dreher --  that conservatives really do have a soft spot for dictatorship as long as it’s not communist. He even pulls up some examples like William F. Buckley’s qualified (or mealy-mouthed, depending on how you look at it) praise for South African apartheid in 1963:

They may be wrong, as we may be: but we should try at least to understand what it is they are trying to do, and deny ourselves that unearned smugness that the bigot shows. I cannot say, “I approve of Apartheid” — its ways are alien to my temperament. But I know now it is a sincere people’s effort to fashion the land of peace they want so badly.

This is very similar to Dreher’s similarly circuitous apologies for Orban’s “illiberal” rule, as in this most recent example

OK, so what do we US conservatives have to learn from Hungary? Let’s stipulate that Hungary is a very different country from America. It is ethnically homogeneous, has a very different history, and a very different constitutional system. Some of what Orban’s government has done is legal here, but not under the US Constitution (e.g., the recent law prohibiting pro-LGBT propaganda to children and minors). My enthusiasm for Hungary has more to do with Orban’s ideals. As I see it, Orban grasps the nature of the fight in front of us much more clearly than most of his US counterparts.

One would have to be willfully blind to miss that, for all the hand-waving, if Orban or someone exactly like him could be installed as our own leader via the vote-rigging methods he has perfected (far in advance of Tubby’s), Dreher and his pals would be thrilled. 

But this is nothing new. Here’s a National Review celebration of the life and career of Augusto Pinochet on the occasion of his death in 2006. The following is from the contribution of Roger W. Fontaine, “a National Security Council staff officer in the Reagan administration”:

…Human rights did suffer under Pinochet. And Chile spent years under Pinochet recovering from his predecessor Salvador Allende’s mad dash to a Soviet style command economy. It has also lately been shown he was personally corrupt. Finally, at least for Americans, there was the small matter of the caudillo’s secret services committing murder on the streets of Washington, D.C.

But Pinochet will also be remembered as leaving the country better off than he found it. It was Pinochet who obeyed his own electorate by stepping down from power after he lost a national referendum. And unlike his fellow Latin American generals, he let market-oriented civilians lay the basis for Chile’s economy — the most productive in the region. Can his fellow caudillo in Cuba — soon to be among the departed as well — say the same?

This is who and what they are and who and what they’ve always been. The difference is they're bolder now about prescribing Pinochet measures, not just for foreigners, but also for their fellow countrymen.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

I ALWAYS KNEW HE WAS NO GOOD.

I said this about the last New York Democratic primary in which I was privileged to vote in 2010:

As a smug lieberal elitist, of course, I make exceptions for myself, and will vote for Howie Hawkins of the Green Party for Governor. He impressed me in the debate, and [Rent Is Too Damn High candidate] Jimmy McMillan, for whom I voted last time, is overexposed, and as an aging hipster I just can't follow that bandwagon. Also, as I said when I voted for Jimmy, I can't endorse a prosecutor. That's how Giuliani and Spitzer got into office, and I don't have to wait for such monsters' public downfalls to know what a menace such people can be when they achieve power.

[Turning to the audience] And then I wrote, just this past March [turning back to the piano]: 

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. 

You should read the rest of it, it's pretty good! Anyway, the point is, I caught his act long since, and I say that not (merely) to brag on my own good judgment because I think anyone could have seen it if they looked. 

I give Cuomo a lot more slack on the COVID-19 nursing home stuff than most because he was trying to figure out pandemic response on the fly as Tubby went AWOL; it wasn't like, for example, the current situation in Florida, where Governor DeSantis knows as well as anyone else what needs to be done, but nevertheless keeps racking up the kills on purpose to preserve his "Don't Fauci My Florida" cred with the fascist yokels who comprise his base. Premeditated murder is worse than mistakes under pressure.

But the James report says Cuomo did crimes, and the Democratic establishment -- which, say what you like, is much more responsive to this sort of thing than their opponents -- have all called for him to step down and make it easy on himself. I expect his hang-tough response is in furtherance of a deal that will help him evade prosecution once out of office, which cannot happen fast enough. I'm as much a sucker fot old-timey New York Democrats as the next guy and liked his old man a lot, but for good or ill (mostly good) his kind of bossism is going the way of Sheldon Silver and these charges of gross exploitation of the less powerful show why. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

YOUR-LYING-EYES WATCH.

I see the Wall Street Journal is submitting their version of the Dumbassery Defense of Tubby and his attempted January 6 coup, under the bothsidery headline “Two False Narratives About the Capitol Riot” (“As the Jan. 6 committee meets, politics drowns out the actual story”). They first try to throw dirt in our eyes by sneakily supporting Elise Stefanik’s ridiculous claim (already repeatedly debunked) that Nancy Pelosi was in charge of Capitol security and is thus to blame for letting the hordes in -- “Security oversights in the run-up to the riot are fair game,” “Questions remain about the Capitol’s unpreparedness,” etc. (Yes, an actual Questions Remain! Thought they’d retired that one. Ah well, any old bull in a shitstorm.) 

WSJ admits some badness may have happened on January 6, but it's bothsides take-backsies because the Democrats are exaggerating:

The rioters had no apparent leader and no coherent plan.

Even if they’d managed to steal or destroy the official Electoral College certificates, do Democrats think some knucklehead in face paint and a fur hat could have simply declared the election void? The public and the courts wouldn’t have stood for a rabble overturning the 2020 result. Mr. Trump didn’t have the military on his side, or even most of his own Administration. The investigations so far have turned up no guiding cabal. Rioters have been arrested and many will go to prison.

I mean, the putsch was started from a beer hall, for cryin’ out loud! And that Hitler is a total clown! I don’t see why you’re making such a big deal out it – must be cheap politics. Now back to humoring our idiot voters as they spread COVID throughout the hinterlands

Sometimes I wonder: Are they really trying to seize power or just make America such a shithole that it won’t be worth having anymore? 

Monday, July 26, 2021

A SHOT AND A BOOR.

 I’m releasing today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, about how the polio vaccine rollout may have gone down if anti-vaxxers back then were like anti-vaxxers now (i.e., weaponized and in significant positions of power). Some things didn’t need much changing – Eisenhower’s HEW Secretary Ovetta Culp Hobby didn’t like socialized medicine nohow:  

Mrs. Oveta Culp Hobby branded a Democratic plan for free poliomyelitis vaccine to all children today as a possible "back-door" approach to socialized medicine…

Mrs. Hobby appeared at a noisy session of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee. Republicans accused the Democrats of trying to make a “political football” of the polio vaccination program. Democrats replied the Administration was foisting the “evil” of a means test on children before they could get the vaccine…

Senator Barry Goldwater, Republican of Arizona, questioned Mrs. Hobby on whether the adoption of the Democratic bill would mean a demand for federal participation in other public-health programs.

“I’m sure there would be a demand for it,” she said.

“Is there any other term for that than socialized medicine?” he asked. 

Mrs. Hobby paused. She said she wanted to form a careful answer. Finally, she replied: “That’s socialized medicine through the back door, not the front door.”

This is a reminder that the seeds of modern Republican lunacy were planted long ago. But circumstances do change: Now that red states are glowing with new COVID infections, Republicans are suddenly shifting from vaccine skepticism to vaccine boosterism, and propagandists are trying retro-spin – see Jim Geraghty at National Review: “America’s cities include a lot of unvaccinated Americans, and, defying the popular perception about the unvaccinated, the odds are good that most of those unvaccinated urbanites are Democrats…” You watch; in a few weeks they’ll be asking why Biden didn’t make vaccinations mandatory. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Still haven't seen that documentary, but meantime there's the music.

•  Friday again! And once again I just have one freebie-of-the-week from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, to which you should be subscribing because it’s five days a week of premium content for pennies: The one about conservatives fluffing Bezos and Branson for their spaceshit. The McArdle, Podhoretz, and Baseball Crank licks are pretty grisly, but Rich Lowry of National Review really goes for the gusto with (vom) "The Beauty of Billionaires in Space":
Rarely has stunning human achievement been greeted with as much churlishness as when Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos managed to fly or launch themselves into space.

There may be all sorts of legitimate grounds for criticizing billionaires…
…but attaining suborbital flight under their own power doesn’t seem one of them.
“Their own power” meaning their own money, I guess, unless they used stationary bikes to crank the rockets or something. After comparing Bezos and Branson to Samuel Morse, the Wright Brothers, and Henry Ford, Lowry rhapsodizes about Elon Musk’s SpaceX, speculating that Musk’s rockets may be useful to the government someday “in any major conflict that involves rival militaries targeting each other’s satellites.” Lowry doesn’t seem to have considered that, should Musk's technology become thus useful, our enemies may offer to pay the blood-emerald heir more for it than we will, and everything about Musk suggests he would happily sell it to them instead. (Can’t imagine how Lowry missed that, considering the contempt he and his colleagues are continually heaping on Big Gummint America. Wouldn’t any conservative prefer rule by churlish tycoon to democracy?)

I guess there’s a transitive property to this toadying -- conservatives want rich people to know they’re devoted to them generally, so more of them might offer to pay them to help subvert the will of the paupers. But I’m surprised current National Review donors don’t demand more of this treatment for themselves. Doesn’t the Koch family, for example, ever wonder why they should be content with mere attacks on Jane Mayer for their money, when they could be getting publicly tongue-bathed the way Bezos and Branson are? I wouldn’t be surprised if they ceased to expect their encomia only in obituaries and start requiring up front. Isn’t a large donation worth a Betsy DeVos fashion spread? 

•  Zaid Jilani – one of the many cancelculture crybabies infesting Substack – thinks he sees artificial light at the end of his imaginary tunnel
The firm Morning Consult polled a range of Americans about their views on cancel culture, looking at different generational cohorts: Generation Z (Americans born in the years 1997 through 2008), millennials (1981 through 1996), Generation X (1965 through 1980), and the baby boomers (1946 through 1964). Of course, polls should not be treated as definitive on their own, as they are imperfect snapshots in time, and opinions can certainly change. 

Nevertheless, this new data is a hopeful indication that cancel culture may have peaked. Overall, cancel culture is quite unpopular among all cohorts, with each generation viewing it more negatively than positively. Millennials appeared to be most supportive of cancel culture: 19 percent said they had a positive view of it, while 22 percent were neutral, 36 percent were opposed to it, and 22 percent said they had no opinion.
So Morning Consult didn’t ask whether they’re against Twitter deactivating a Nazi’s account, or Facebook deactivating Trump’s, or a corporate board firing a rich executive because he’s embarrassing the company with his racist remarks – they asked whether they’re against “cancel culture.” That’s like asking if you’re “politically correct” – after decades of rightwingers using it as an increasingly random swearword, of course nobody will say they’re P.C. -- though most of those same people probably don’t like offensive comments and bigoted attitudes, which is usually what rightwingers actually mean by it. (Most of the times I've been called "politically correct" have come after I failed to laugh at someone's racist joke.) I expect that’s why Jilani professes surprise that Gen Z appears to be against cancel culture “given its progressive leanings” – these people think that if you don’t think boycotting MyPillow is a hate crime, you must be some cartoon pussyhatted hippie spooling out speech codes. They’re in for a shock when they look at what the kids think about socialism

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

TAX THE SPACE TOURISTS.

I have released and invite you to read a free issue of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down (Subscribe! Cheap!) about Bezos and other billionaires shooting into near-space, and how strenuously conservatives are defending them from the many normal Americans who have responded to their well-publicized playdates-with-destiny with mockery, insults and (most of all) calls for the fuckers to be taxed like the rest of us if not more. 

Some leading rightwingers are therein considered (McArdle, Baseball Crank, and Podhoretz, who actually compares Bezos to Magellan) but others keep speed-crawling toward the richies’ asses. A National Review editorial claims the billionaires’ “achievements should be celebrated by all who value the ingenuity of the untrammeled human spirit,” as if anyone who wasn’t already kissing their butts for the great achievement of being rich would be convinced by the fact that they got scientists and engineers to make them their own mini-NASAs and spent a few moments replicating feats achieved over fifty years ago by the despised Big Government.

I suppose if these nobs bought weapons of war on the open market and used them to invade and conquer some tiny country, National Review would demand we applaud that, too. (Though, come to think of it, isn’t that a little too close to what Reagan did to Grenada? But then Reagan, being President, was obliged to use public resources to invade, ugh! Erik Prince, it’s your time to shine!) 

NR closes:

Americans should seek to build atop these admirable breakthroughs and to ensure that, 20, 30, 40 years hence, when the next vaultingly ambitious entrepreneurs try something astonishing of their own, they, too, find a safe and welcoming reception on American soil.

And of course they’re already doing “something astonishing”: Building remote redoubts on distant islands and in mountain hideaways for themselves where – when the breakdown in order and climate catastrophe engendered by their greed and neglect (and, in the case of press lords like Murdoch, encouraged by their actions) turns America and indeed the world into an utter hellhole – they can chillax with robot slaves and private infrastructures, and maybe plan future space jaunts to see if they can’t bequeath Mars to their offspring.

Tax their asses off, I say. Most Americans agree. And some polities like Washington, D.C. and politicians like Bernie Sanders (and not just him anymore!) are getting on board. Now that’s “something astonishing” that should “find a safe and welcoming reception on American soil,” alright! 

Friday, July 16, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow that sounds convincing. 

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

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

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

Friday, July 09, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Never heard of her before. How many more such undiscovered treasures are online?

•  Sorry for the light posting; busy busy days. Here are couple of freebies from the pay site: an extended consideration of that National Review story claiming liberals refusing to date Trump supporters is discriminatory, and why it figures conservatives would think so; and another scene of Trump-in-exile, this time in Bedminster and starring former Trump Dr. Liegood Ronny Jackson. Subscribe, why don’t you? 

•  Here is some excellent coverage in the Tennessean of “community members and local advocacy organizations” and their complaints about Williamson County schools teaching this awful racism-exists stuff to the kids:

One of the most vocal groups has been the Williamson County chapter of Moms for Liberty started earlier this year. The group includes members with children in and outside of Williamson County Schools.

Ha ha I bet it does.

The head of the Williamson County chapter of Moms for Liberty, Robin Steenman, brought several books included in the curriculum and presented excerpts to the Williamson County Commission's education committee in May…

One of the books she specifically referred to was "Ruby Bridges Goes to School," written by Ruby Bridges herself. Bridges, when she was age 6, was one of the first African American students to integrate New Orleans' all-white public school system. 

Steenman said that the mention of a "large crowd of angry white people who didn't want Black children in a white school" too harshly delineated between Black and white people, and that the book didn't offer "redemption" at its end.

Boy, wait’ll the kids hear about – well, the entire civil rights movement. That is, if they ever get the chance. 

I’ve been saying that the (you’ll forgive the expression) lynchpin of the anti-“CRT” movement will be what the Oklahoma legislation makes most explicit: That telling kids racism is not just some bad phase America unaccountably passed through and never has to worry about again, but a persistent and yes, systemic problem that some people are always trying to make worse out of self-interest, has to be outlawed because it will make some kid “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.” In other words, it’s typical rightwing snowflakery -- the conviction that anything that makes them feel bad must be bad, no matter what it does to or for anyone else -- attached to “won’t someone please think of the children” moral panic. And if the papers didn’t insist on covering these pressure groups as if they were operating in good faith rather than just working the same John Birch ooga-booga they were working in the 1960s, it would be obvious to most people. Which is why it helps to show them what these guys are actually trying to do.

Friday, July 02, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


What do you think of the new Garbage album? I like it.

•  OK, OK, here’s some free content from the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down daily newsletter (though really you should subscribe, fresh copy five [5] days a week from America’s most underrated writer for approximately 35 cents an issue is ludicrously cheap): First, some future National Guard deployments we can expect since Kristi Noem rented her troops out to some gazillionaire wingnut to play Border Patrol with -- real fall-of-Rome stuff, but I got some laughs out of it. And here’s a speech from a recently released sex offender! I’d say “trigger warning” but really, these days I’d say a TW is implicit in just about any national news coverage, straight or fanciful, wouldn’t you? 

•  Speaking of triggers, Pride Month has ended, which I hope will reduce some of the intense pressure Rod Dreher seems to have been under. You will recall he’s been in Hungary studying up on how to prepare Orbán fascism for export, and though Big Vik has been banning all the gay he can ban, the persistence of happy homos abroad seemed to bother Dreher all the more – as if living the dream of anti-gay persecution in Hungary made him all the more painfully cognizant of those corners of the globe where homosexuality was not suppressed. It’s been fun, but my favorite Moment of Dreher this past week is more racism-driven, as well as a classic example of his “reader mailbag” shtick:

I had a conference call on Sunday night with two guys back in the US. Both are young conservative Christian friends who worked for the same major American media company (one still does, but the other quit a few months back). They are white males. They reached out to me via a mutual friend after my book Live Not By Lies had an impact on them. They agreed to talk to me for the record if I consented to keeping their details private. What follows is my record of our conversation, revised to honor their concerns. I sent the draft version of this post to them both to make sure I had written down our conversation accurately, and that I had protected them both. The one who still works for this company (I’ll call it ACME) has a family to support, and can’t afford to lose his job.

I will call these men Rick and Charlie. Their real names aren’t even close to this. I hate that I have to write like this, but these are the stakes. People are scared to death for their careers – and they have reason to be.

Reminds me of this:


Anyway, these two Swear To God They’re Real guys had the devil’s own time at ACME, what with all the post-George-Floyd wokeness:

Rick says that in these endless strings of meetings, ACME executives would give black people an opportunity to voice their frustrations and anger, and to talk about their “lived experiences” with racism, or what they perceived to be racism.

“Some of these things really were racism,” says Rick. “Others weren’t specific to race, but were everybody’s lived experience. Everybody gets treated badly in the same way at some point. But you couldn’t say that out loud. I sat through countless hours of that kind of meeting.”

The intended effect is, no doubt, to get readers to envision some strapping young buck bitching that his dented fender was racism, and poor Rick Nothisrealname having to listen to it for hours with his head chained up like the kid in the old Radio Free Europe ads. Anyway ACME decides to hire black people and surprise, they’re a pain in the ass:

There was one case in which the team had the budget to make a hire, and considered taking on a freelancer who had done superb work for them in the past, under budget. The problem: he was a white male.

“Someone present in the hiring meeting said, ‘White people had it good for 400 years – it’s about time they felt the sting,’” says Rick. “None of the people leading the meeting said a word about that.”

I know, you folks in corporate life hear that sort of thing all the time! 

There was another case in which a team was carrying out an expensive shoot in an environment in which a black actor hired for the shoot decided on the set that they didn’t want to subject themself to a minor inconvenience that was part of the contract. After the shoot ended, ACME offices were filled with lamentations over how racially insensitive ACME was to expect a black person to do something they didn’t want to do — even though the request was extremely minor, and the actor had signed on for it. As Rick put it, expecting a black actor to honor a professional commitment was considered intolerably racist by ACME staff.

I guess the buck wanted Van Halen treatment. So touchy, these blahs -- excuse me, those blah-lovers! 

The White Whatstheirnames also suffered from the persecution of not being Free To Be MAGA Me:

Rick is also a conservative, and was a supporter of Donald Trump. “On set, I would hear people dogging Trump supporters and Christians. I didn’t say anything. This made friendships so hollow. You just knew that if these people knew this little thing about you [your politics or religion], they probably wouldn’t want to be friends anymore.”

Think for a minute of actually believing that if the people you spend all day with knew what you were really like, they would hate you. Would you say the problem was them or you? If you said “them,” yewwww miiight be whoever's feeding this stuff to Dreher.

It goes on like that – one Whatshisname quits ACME to stay true to his beliefs, which is a big deal because “his star was on the rise,” claims Dreher – “I looked him up online at the ACME website, and he seems to have been a rising start at the company.” Meaning I guess that his company bio was flattering, as opposed to all the company bios that make their subject look like duds. 

I wonder: Do even Dreher’s loyal readers believe this shit? Or is it all an unspoken conspiracy to keep going along with the gag, in the hope that some poor dopes will wander in and mistake it for the truth? 

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.