Tuesday, September 14, 2021

THE RETURN OF JUST-THE-TIP.

 You know, in addition to my five-day-a-week gig at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down (Subscribe! Cheap!) I also follow and comment on daily events at Twitter (Follow! Gratis!), which is fun but somewhat saps the strength I would need for more longform observations of life's passing parade. But here's something I noticed that I really wanted to make a point of. 

At National Review, Charles Two Middle Initials Cooke is one among many wingnuts enraged by last night's Met Gala. But while most of them are (as usual) obsessed with hatewank object Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez ("Twitter erupts over Ocasio-Cortez's 'Tax The Rich' dress at Met Gala: 'Hypocrisy of our ruling class,'" ejaculates Fox News), Cooke is mad that the help was masked:

The photographs from last night’s event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City show a host of celebrities — including New York Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney — enjoying themselves without masks while the staff that are waiting on them are all masked up.

Why?

Guests at the event were obliged to be vaccinated. But so, per New York City rules, were the staff...

Never rule out willful obtuseness, but most people in big cities know that staff -- for example, waiters at restaurants -- are typically masked, while guests often are not -- for example, when they're eating food served by the masked servers. At the Gala, the guests were basically doing a photo shoot (what other purpose does the event serve?), hence their masklessness. 

As for the staff, it may be they're cool with being masked because it helps protect them from assholes who don't follow the rules, which service workers know allll about. 

You get some idea why Cooke is making this absurd stretch in his finale:

Is the science different for famous people, perhaps?...

If, as the president claims, unvaccinated people pose a risk to vaccinated people, then the Met chose to put its guests at risk — and those guests, by declining to mask up, went along with it.

"As the president claims." 

See, this is a variation on what I used to call Just-The-Tip Trumpers -- which, come to think of it, has always been overrepresented at National Review. Many, many conservatives have gone over entirely to COVID-hoax horse-dewormer madness, but the manicured magazine types like Cooke need to preserve their credibility with donors, newspaper editors, and Sunday morning talk show bookers. So they instead go the Just-The-Tip route -- for example, they may assure you they personally believe vaccines and masks work, maybe possibly, but liberals who say they do are big hypocrites, which they show either by failing to wear a mask or by wearing masks too much or by failing to acknowledge it's really black people making us all sick --  so, really, when you think about it, it's the MAGA people refusing treatment and getting hospitalized who have the better part of the argument. 

And the Met Gala is perfect for this routine. Look, liberals wearing fancy clothes -- they're for the "working man" so they're supposed to dress like extras in a Pudovkin movie! They think they's sumpin' better'n you, but them Hollyweird sissies are as barefaced as Cousin Cyrus at a Kid Rock concert! So tie their inappropriate glamour to COVID, and presto -- you've done your bit for the Cause without having to get down in the manure with the Base.

UPDATE: They just can't quit her -- National Review has a story headlined "Conservative Watchdog Files Ethics Complaint against AOC over Met Gala Attendance," which sounds very very serious but -- well, let alicublog commenter mortimer2000 tell it:

[National Review says] The American Accountability Foundation has filed an ethics complaint calling for a probe into whether Ocasio-Cortez accepted an “impermissible gift” to attend the gala or violated any campaign finance laws, according to Fox News.... “Without prompt investigation and enforcement of Congressional Rules, the American people are likely to lose faith in the ability of Congress to police its members,” the complaint says.

You will be shocked to learn that The American Accountability Foundation consists of two deeply not-just-the-tip Republican operatives -- veterans of the Trump administration, the Cruz for President oppo program, and Ron Johnson's staff, among other swamps.

Keep up the good work, AOC! They're obsessed with you.

Heh, indeed, get it. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND THE HORN.

Here’s something I don’t do enough:
Pimp new shit from people I know!
(Mike was the drummer for the legendary Sharky’s Machine.)

•   Speaking of new shit from people I know, I wonder how many of you are acquainted with The Underground Bunker, wherein former Village Voice EIC/my boss Tony Ortega harpoons his white whale, the Church of Scientology, practically every day. (Tony’s a real newsman so there’s lots of reporting and inside dope, not the kind of folderol I do.) And how about that very tight & cool band The Carvels whom New Yorkers can see live tonight! More log-rolling to come!

•   OK I know what you mugs want: More Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies. We have two this week: First, a history lesson inspired by Tubby’s lecture on Robert E. Lee. Next, today’s 9/11 anti-column, sorta, in that it’s about the backwash of bullshit that came in the wake of the Towers’ fall. We can be forgiven for being frightened and uncertain at a time of great stress, but the people who exploited those feelings to launch an expensive and destructive graft machine, and who kept running alongside it for years to make sure no reason or sanity could impede it, really ought to be in prison. Free-riders, why not subscribe? TODAY ONLY we offer 10% off the annual rate.

•   Speaking of grifters, I have to say I’m enjoying the shrieks of wingnuts who think Biden’s federal worker vaccine mandate -- which, I am sure you sane people will agree, is the least he should be doing -- is an infringement on their civil rights. Kudos to this cowboy for the most sputterrific logo:

In a nation where people got sterilized, lobotomized, and experimented on against their wills, it’s pretty rich that some people think inoculation against a deadly disease is Hitler. Top Republicans are trying to get on the bandwagon: In addition to screaming FREEDOM and threatening civil war (the new last refuge of a scoundrel) they’re trying the old “oh yeah what about black people you liberals love so much” thing:

Black folks are actually vaxxing up strong now, but that’s well beside the point -- which is that it’s about time we treated this goddamn emergency like an emergency. Fuck these assholes.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

TRUTH OR DERP.

One of the great things about Daniel Dale the famous fact-checker is that he's very even-handed, and has no compunction about debunking things a liberal might like to believe but which are not so. Today he informs us that a study allegedly showing horse paste made 85% of its male human users sterile is not anywhere near adequate to prove the case -- small sample size, numbers misstated, etc.

I applaud this even though, as we all well know, conservatives operate very differently and are pushing horse paste (OK, ivermectin, though horse paste is funnier and appropriate) as a cure/preventive measure for COVID-19 despite having no proof or even reasonable hope for this. No rightwing-specific equivalent of Dale exists, so when rightwing celebrities falsely claim, for example, that the guy who won a Nobel Prize for formulating horse paste said it "cures" COVID-19, they are only fact-checked by outlets they don't read. 

And I applaud it even though wingnuts use the fact that liberals are more circumspect and likely to check and correct their own work as a cudgel against them. When Rolling Stone updated a story because they couldn't verify an Oklahoma doctor's claims that horse paste users were flooding the local ERs, every anti-"Fauciite" wingnut in Christendom acted as if it proved horse paste is good for COVID because anything liberals said had to be a lie. (They probably don't take corrections seriously because, being exclusively readers of right-wing publications, they've never seen one.) 

I don't applaud it because I think our sensitivity to what's true and untrue will convince conservatives to stop spreading bullshit -- they're too far gone for that. I mean it's good for our own self-respect. Not everything is politics, after all -- in fact very little is. There are people who are paid to spin the truth to give advantage to their candidates and policies, but for that kind of work I am not only not paid, but could not be paid enough. Think what constantly living according to those calculations, and having to support such absurdities, does to a person. It's not pretty, even if they get to wear pretty clothes. Like Lemmy said: Stay clean

Friday, September 03, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

Living in one’s own world has its advantages,
but you do miss a lot of good pop music.
Were these guys as big as they sound like they should have been?

I have two freebies from the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter for non-subscribers (who really ought to be subscribig and getting this primo content on the regular!): Republicans explaining their inexplicable outrage that we got out of Afghanistan, and the one I showed you yesterday about the Texas abortion law

Speaking of the latter, I have to say I’m astonished by folks online telling me not to use the term “American Taliban” because they consider it Islamophobic. I don’t get it. I don’t associate Islam as practiced by Muslims in America, or even in most of the world, with the Taliban. Insofar as I understand them, it seems the complainants object to using foreign Islamic monsters to shame American Christian monsters. But this is the entire point of analogies, particularly in political discourse. If I compare Texas lawmakers to, for example, the Stasi because their system similarly relies on fear and informants, I’m not unfairly shaming the East German people -- I’m showing up the similarities between past events that we all know are bad and current events propagandists are busily trying to whitewash, to help you see how things really are. And normal people understand analogies, whereas lefties saying "don’t say bad things about the Taliban" may be, uh, misconstrued. What am I missing?

Thursday, September 02, 2021

A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.

I've opened to the public today's Roy Edroso Break It Down, which focuses on one fascinating aspect of Texas' insane Paid Informants Against Abortion law and the Supreme Court's evasion of addressing it:  That the religious maniacs who've been keening and snarling for decades for an end to Roe v. Wade are strangely quiet now that it's done. I mention National Review in the piece; if you go there at this moment you'll see the Texas story is barely represented on the front page. 

We can rule out guilt. The best guess -- based on the laughably dishonest readings of public views on abortion from the few of them who do address it -- is that they know this is extremely and broadly unpopular and they're waiting for more red states to enact similarly vicious laws to normalize it. Then they'll tell us the polls are fake news and everyone hates abortion rights as much as they do, always have, and this is just how it is and you have to calm down and accept it -- you know, the way they told everyone to just get over the stolen Bush-Gore election and all the depredations of Trump, and which they would have done if Tubby had managed to intimidate a few public officials into throwing him the 2020 election. (As it happened, when it came time for them to "get over it," and on much more evidence-based grounds, they went bananas.) 

As with the red states that have of late set up their elections to be more throwable to Republicans no matter what the will of the voters is, they'll probably also point to the number of states with intensely anti-abortion laws and say see, this is just how democracy is, get over it. As it stands now, while many states have virtually criminalized abortion, only one state has gone whole hog, and it's riling people up. So they're tiptoeing past their own atrocity, playing for time. 

Friday, August 27, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Can't go wrong with the classics.

•   Just one freebie from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down (subscribe! Cheap!): A call for true patriots to not stop at horse paste and to meet all their medical needs at the veterinarian’s office. With so many red state “skeptics” keeping poison control busy with self-administered ivermectin treatments, I suppose some of these people will see the light and seek the free and proven treatments offered by conventional medicine, but I fear many will decide they just haven’t been MAGA enough and will disdain doctor’s offices as Deep State snares for the unwary.  

•   I am far from the first to observe it, but it’s just waaay too rich to countenance the same ghouls and freaks who drummed up the war fever of the post-9/11 years -- Karl Rove, Paul Bremer, John Fucking Podhoretz for Christ’s sake (“As we mourn the losses of American servicemembers today in Kabul, please keep this in mind: They would not be dead if Joe Biden had not chosen to pull American forces out of Afghanistan”) -- now having the absolute nerve to denounce Joe Biden for the messy exit from Afghanistan. Ending that 20-year occupation and graft gravy train (which I notice Erik Prince is still riding right to the end) is the most positive and patriotic thing Biden has done. Seeing how hysterically he’s being vilified by wingnuts -- with Republican Senators as well as Twitter rageclowns actually calling for his resignation -- I can understand now more than ever why Obama didn’t end the occupation; if he had and anything went wrong, these people would most certainly have lynched him. And I mean that literally. I just hope Biden will hold fast and let these idiots scream themselves out. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

THE BIGGEST SNOWFLAKES AROUND.

When I saw the headline in the Washington Examiner, "The unvaccinated deserve medical care too," I was intrigued; who was arguing that they should not receive medical care? 

It would appear (though it's hard to be sure from her ass-coveringly opaque prose) Kimberly Ross -- who adds "it is unethical to suggest unvaccinated individuals should be relegated to the sidelines or refused medical treatment" -- means:

  • Dr. Jason Valentine, who "will reportedly refuse to see unvaccinated patients starting October 1" (I believe Dr. Valentine is not the only physician in Mobile, Alabama);
  • "In Florida, dozens of doctors walked out in protest at the number of unvaccinated patients coming to their hospital" (No, they didn't);
  • "NC Policy Watch recently posed the question 'Should the unvaccinated be a lower priority for health care?'" (OK, this one's close, though the NCPW author is talking about triage in overwhelmed hospitals, not refusing treatment);
  • "On Twitter, actor George Takei..." (LOL come on).

So what's Ross' actual problem? From her lede:

On Saturday, conservative radio talk show host Phil Valentine died from COVID-19. He had been a vocal skeptic of vaccines for months. While he was suffering from the virus, his stance on vaccines changed , and he vowed to advocate for them in the future. The news of his death spurred cruel mockery from some who believe he got what he deserved.

A similar reaction came when Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas tested positive for the virus. Abbott is fully vaccinated but has refused to implement another round of mask mandates, a decision that was met with anger. In the eyes of some, his positive test for COVID-19 was nothing but karma.

Clearly Ross' beef is that people are laughing at politicians and propagandists who not only loudly refuse to protect themselves from COVID but also try to convince others not to protect themselves either -- and, in Abbott's case, would use the force of law to prevent them from protecting themselves -- and then get hit in the face with a big COVID pie. 

For months we've been listening to rightwingers from Trump on down tell us that COVID is a hoax and public health officials are Hitler and vaccines are sus and wearing masks is delusional. You still see lunatics going off in town meetings and attacking schoolkids for wearing masks. Even when they're not literally violent, these people are usually enraged, belligerent, and offensive. You don't see many chill COVID skeptics and mandate deniers.

And we've all been bothsided about this: Be respectful, they have rights too, how do you know they're not right, it's a free country... Meanwhile the virus spreads through their homelands and surgeries and other medical care are delayed because of it. 

And then the virus speaks by killing some of these fuckers. 

It's like the airlock scene in Avenue 5 (above), where nuts on an outer-space vacation gone wrong convince themselves they're not really on a spaceship and clamber to "freedom" only to die immediately in the airless, frozen dark. It's funny. Grimly funny, but funny. 

And there is nothing on God's green earth that burns a conservative's butt more than being laughed at.

Something else about conservatives: When they realize their routines aren't landing, then, and only then, do they resort to pleas for comity and understanding. Thus Ross pivots to a sympathy pitch -- "In the midst of this pandemic, some are forgetting the humanity of others.. .There is simply no room for mockery, indifference, or active cruelty in the face of even the most tragic choices." 

Stop, you're killing me.

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 Orb├ín 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.