Monday, June 27, 2022

FAKE IT 'TIL YOU BREAK IT.

New, available to gen pop Roy Edroso Breaks It Down item out today, about the Dobbs defenders who pretend taking away reproductive rights is an act of love toward the newly-disenfranchised females and will be followed by a generous outpouring of pre-natal and child care from, get this, the Republican Party. The choads luxuriating in the misery they've caused are annoying, but these guys are just insufferable.

Peggy Noonan was the first one on this bandwagon, as I noted when the Dobbs decision was first leaked, saying Republicans could "use the moment to come forward as human beings who care about women and want to give families the help they need." I am sure GOP party bosses had a good laugh over that one, and one of the few bright spots of the past weekend was seeing even the Meet The Press dummies moved to laughter when she tried it on the air.  After all, Republicans have had great success by being openly vicious and punitive -- why would they act like Care Bears now? 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

FURTHER NOTES ON THE APOCALYPSE: IT'S REICHSTAGGERING!

Just wanted to note one or two things about the situation after Roe. First, let me remind you of this particular sub-plot of the January 6, 2021 coup attempted, as reported in the Washington Post last January:

Within days of President Donald Trump’s election defeat, Stewart Rhodes began talking about the Insurrection Act as critical to the country’s future.

The bombastic founder of the extremist group Oath Keepers told followers that the obscure, rarely used law would allow Trump to declare a national emergency so dire that the military, militias or both would be called out to keep him in the White House...

In an interview with The Washington Post last February [2021], Rhodes acknowledged his group had a cache of weapons outside the city, saying such a quick-reaction force was “only if the president calls us up.”

“We thought antifa might try to storm the White House,” he said, without evidence. If such a thing happened, he argued, D.C. gun restrictions would no longer apply, because “we would have been part of the military.”

The plan, it is clear, was to either cause or fake an "antifa" attack, which would immediately be taken at face value by the brethren after all their caterwauling about the the George Floyd "riots," and use that as an excuse to declare martial law and keep Tubby in office. But they couldn't raise even a piss-on of a Reichstag Fire, and the plot failed.

Just as clearly, they're trying to do something similar now, this time by claiming pro-abortion people who protest the Dobbs decision are part of an "insurrection" that can be violently put down. I mentioned National Review's recent contribution to this fraud in my last post, and there are plenty of other rightwing professions of fake concern over fantasies of pro-choice violence, such as this emission from Ted Cruz claiming "multiple Democrats" (unnamed) are "encouraging" it.

There are other plants, ranging from the sinister...


...to the stoopid:

But really, even though it is indeed quote stoopid, Insurrection Barbie's tweet portraying a normal occurrence of building materials as riot fodder is also sinister. As I've said many times, conservatives no longer feel obliged to make sense, because their frequently-false claims are not offered as evidence, in the usual sense, but as way of showing that their impunity goes beyond law and politics and straight into logic -- that is, their claims don't have to make even basic sense because, as the Bush people used to say, conservatives "make our own reality." 

That's also why the odious Tim Pool was showing pictures of that truck running down pro-choice protestors in Cedar Rapids as protestors "attacking cars." George Constanza famously told Jerry "it's not a lie if you believe it," but modern conservatives have shown that, for them, it's not a lie even if no one could believe it. 

I will not follow by saying please don't riot over Roe, because even doing that feeds this bullshit. I will say that the "Jane's Revenge" graffiti on fake pregnancy centers, plastered all over the rightwing press before the ruling, is incredibly sus, and none of these monsters deserves the benefit of any doubt because they lie, as Vince Foster said, without consequence, and the truth does them no favors. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Before Mel Brooks, there was Bradley Kincaid!

Only one free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down item this week -- a prospectus for a new, boldly-bothsider, difference-splitting, ultra-neoliberal magazine. (Look, just subscribe already, OK? Cheap!) But alas, some of my older items about the end of Roe have become newly relevant -- all the way down to the insufferable attitude of Megan McArdle, who isn't necessarily against abortion as such per se, you understand, just the ridiculous notion that American women have a Constitutional right to it, hmmph! 

I already talked about this when the Dobbs decision was first leaked, but let me add a few things. I mentioned then, as others have, that as bad as Dobbs is (and it's a nightmare), it's not all they want to do; conservatives continually dump on all the other rights based on privacy, such as those decided in Griswold (contraception), Lawrence (non-procreative sex), and Obergefell (same-sex marriage), and those will certainly be next. The weak sisters in the conservative coalition swear up and down in the Dobbs decision that, oh no, they don't mean you guys, abortion is special because the Jesus people say it's babies. But Clarence Thomas blows their scene, saying out loud that of course we should revisit those cases

Don't tell me Thomas is only one guy, and particularly twisted -- he represents the mad MAGA berserker tendency of conservatism; I'm sure a few of his fellow Justices would love to get all the way to the promised land, and the next time a minority-elected Republican president gets to replace any liberal Justice, all bets are off. I already think of this as the Thomas Court, and Roberts' wistful, whattaya-gonna-do concurrence in Dobbs suggests that he's totally given up trying to make the shit look like shinola.

I know I'm not telling you good people anything you don't already know, but there seem to be a lot of people out there who think the real thing to be worried about is cancelculture or some trans kids taking hormones. So make sure to tell them. 

As for the shock troops on the ground, this Washington Examiner essay is a good indicator of where they're at: They're promising lots of love for the little ones women will be forced to bear, even including expensive legislation for pregnant women and babies -- legislation that, for some reason, they didn't find it necessary to promise before today. But the driver of it is not love, at least not as you or I would understand the word. "The goal," the author says, is "to make abortion politically unpopular, legally unobtainable, and culturally unwanted." The bookends they have not in 49 years been able to achieve, and there's no reason to think they can do it now; but the iron fist of the middle proposition will do all the work for them. 

UPDATEHere's a good thread that might lift your spirits! I know, for many of us it's too soon, but we'll all have to lift our heads up eventually and better sooner than later.

UPDATE 2. I should mention a bit of typical (but, in context, especially ominous) rightwing shtick that’s going on now: Right-to-lifers claiming that they’re the real victims, because they heard somewhere that crazed abortion rights supporters are going to attack them. In the midst of its ululation over the reduction of women to brood-slaves, for example, National Review makes this clumsy transition:

Our fellow citizens who reject the right to life for all human beings, tragically misguided as they are, have the right to protest against the Supreme Court’s decision. 

(LOL like they believe that.)

They have no right to threaten, intimidate, vandalize, or commit acts of violence. One of the worst causes in American history — the defense of a judicially imposed regime of abortion-on-demand — appears likely to end in further disgrace. The Biden administration will be derelict in its duties if it fails to keep the peace.

“Appears likely,” huh? From communiques pulled out of their ass, I suppose. Meantime I just saw footage of a truck running down abortion-rights protestors in Cedar Rapids.  Every Republican accusation is a confession. And, since this is in fact fascism we’re looking at, expect more of it.



Thursday, June 23, 2022

THE RIGHT TO LIFE AND THE RIGHT TO KILL.

I've written a few times about how, as Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani used to brag that his administration made the city safer by getting guns off the streets...

"The Police Department's dramatic success in reducing crime is due in large part to its corresponding success in removing guns from City streets," the Mayor said. "More than 90,000 guns have been seized since 1994, and shootings have plummeted more than 74 percent. The NYPD's gun seizure success is also reflected in the murder rate, which has plummeted 65 percent since 1994, and is down another 11 percent this year over last year. The NYPD has also ensured that thousands of guns can never be used to commit a crime by destroying them and putting the metal to good use. Now, another 3,000 guns have been taken out of circulation -- permanently."

...and how, when Giuliani ran for president in 2008 and was confronted with a broader Republican electorate of gun nuts, he had to pretend flooding city streets with guns was his and the Founders' fondest wish. (Still lost, though.)

Now the Supreme Court has ruled that New York can't use even the most rudimentary checks on universal concealed carry. This is an invitation to flood the streets of New York (and D.C. et alia) with firearms and, as someone who has spent most of his life in big cities, I can assure you the result will not be "an armed society is a polite society," but the return of the Saturday Night Special.

This is what comes of giving the country over to the death cult that is conservatism. Rightwingers have been telling themselves and anyone else who'll listen that crime in the cities is out of control, despite all evidence to the contrary. With this SCOTUS decision they have a chance to make their fantasy real, thereby making it easier to scare their red state subjects out of ever even visiting a place with a diverse citizenry, museums, and libraries that are not regularly invaded by Proud Boys hunting drag queens, thus enforcing the isolation and ignorance that the survival of their creed demands. 

Pack the goddamn Court already.

Friday, June 17, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



This one goes out to all the witnesses who turned on Tubby in the hearings.

•  Busy week, but then when aren't they? Your free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down for today is a Hallmark Channel (or maybe a Ben Shapiro Family Entertainment Channel) trailer for a new rom-com based on anti-vaxx M.D. Simone Gold's recent sentencing in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Enjoy! 

•  I'm sure you guys have chewed over the hearings a good deal already, so let's switch gears going into Juneteenth weekend -- another one of those Boo Hoo Liberals Won't Be Friends With or Have Sex With Us polls has turned up:


A lot of the comments on that thread are from rightwingers going oooh you liberals are supposed to be so tolerant.  

This is pretty much an evergreen by now; I remember Dr. Mrs Ole Perfesser (remember her?) leading a strange discussion of it during the Obama Administration.  It has become a staple of the Trump era, in which red-hatted gomers are interviewed by lazy lifestyle reporters for stories like "Young DC Conservatives: No One Wants to Date Us," and emotionally stunted factota at The Federalist bark that "Your Refusal To Date Conservatives Is One Reason We Have Donald Trump." 

The idea seems to be that the tendency of liberals to not hang out with conservatives is a form of oppression, as if our company (and liberal pussy!) were some sort of public utility. 

We already know their grasp of the concept of consent is extremely weak, but this enters the realm of abnormal psychology. They constantly call us snowflakes and groomers, they're working hard to deprive us of the right to vote and as many other rights as they can get their hands on, yet they're mad that we're not trying to hang out with them. What gives? I'm getting Jeffrey-Dahmer-body-parts-in-freezer vibes from this. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

DUNGSTORE COWBOY.

Have unlocked a Roy Edroso Breaks It Down episode in which Ben Shapiro works on his cowboy act. I was astonished by how many images there are of the pint-sized pundit wearing ten-gallon hats -- and not Photoshopped mockeries, either; he actually seems to think they become him. (Listening to him deliver one of his patented speed-talking routines while thus chapeau’d is a trip -- like a new version of The Fly in which Marshall Dillon is halfway to his transformation into a mosquito.)

I also see L’il Ben’s idea of cowboying-up is throwing fits over same-sex marriages in Disney cartoons. While homophobia always riles up his fans, Shapiro’s real goal is clearly putting over the “family entertainment” company he’s creating; he reckons smearing Disney will clear a path to success. Maybe someone told him that’s how RKO Pictures went down; Adolph Zukor got it around that Jane Russell was really a man and that Howard Hughes was a groomer.

UPDATE. Had wrong first link before -- fixed now

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

THE GUN NUTS ARE NOT SENDING THEIR BEST.

An extremely mild gun control bill is on its way to being further watered down by Republicans and their Blue Dog Democrat enablers in the Senate. That it may pass even in this weakened state is evidence that, post-Uvalde, people who normally wouldn’t challenge gun nuts are convinced that our Business As Usual approach cannot stand.  

So conservative pundit Erick Erickson has rushed to explain that if we pass red flag laws, liberals will be mean to conservatives, and that’s worth any number of shot-up children. He starts with three anecdotes he seems to think will sway his readers, though if you haven’t been soaking in rightwing grievance culture for years you might not be feeling it:

In 2020, while in New York’s Central Park, Amy Cooper called 911 to report an “African-American man” was threatening her. The man, a bird watcher, had asked Ms. Cooper to leash her dog. She refused and called 911. The man, whose last name was also Cooper, recorded the incident, which went viral and cost Amy Cooper her job. She also got charged with a crime, though it was later dismissed at the urging of Mr. Cooper, the bird watcher.

This is an interesting opening, as everyone knows the story and that the woman was clearly trying to sic the cops on the “African-American man” who was not doing anything illegal, for reasons anyone who has lived more than a few years in America will understand. And her firing is not his fault, nor that of Cancelculture Run Amok, but rather an ass-covering move by her employers, empowered by employment laws that no conservative ever challenges.   

Late last week, in Raliegh [sic], NC, Wye Hill, a restaurant and brewery, canceled a reservation for a group of conservative moms who were going to get together at the restaurant. An online progressive activist who calls herself “Katherine 4 Justice” went online to take credit for pressuring the restaurant into canceling the reservation through the use of vague threats.

The “group of conservative moms” is Moms 4 Liberty, an overtly political organization that has been successfully pushing “Don’t Say Gay” laws and book-banning across the country. If Masterpiece Bakery can’t be forced to make a gay wedding cake, I don’t see why a restaurant has to cater to an openly anti-LGBT group. I don’t know what “vague threats” Erickson is referring to but Moms 4 Liberty’s supporters are now calling the restaurant owners and staff “groomers” on Twitter, which given the hair-trigger lunacy of that crowd can be considered an actual threat.

Yesterday, Rep. Eric Swalwell took to Twitter to suggest Ben Shapiro is a lunatic and that a red flag law could be used to stop Shapiro from purchasing a gun.

Swalwell made a very good joke about Half-Pint (“Please tell me this lunatic does not own a gun. Reason 1,578 America needs red flag laws”) that anyone over the age of 12 should understand, but which conservatives, due to misguided political priorities or maybe brain damage, pretend to believe is not a joke but rather an assault on Shapiro’s rights.

The Senate is currently considering red flag laws as part of its measures on gun control…

I am deeply concerned that such laws are going to start being used to attack people because of their political opinions. The left has concluded words are violence. I fear red flag laws will be weaponized by partisans over differences of political opinion.

Given our present politics, people’s willingness to view opponents as enemies, and people’s willingness to use the state, private enterprise, and the mob to exact retribution on those they disagree with, I think we should fundamentally resist a federal red flag law or a federal incentive to embrace red flag laws.

So, to nutshell it: Liberals are so depraved that they will disagree with conservatives, and make jokes about conservatives, and even choose not to voluntarily associate with conservatives, so we should let conservatives of whatever mental state have AR-15s to defend themselves from them.

The NRA must be awfully desperate if this is the shit they’re paying for now.

Friday, June 10, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Apollonia 6 riding an iceberg of Prince.

It’s Christmas in June! Along with the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down essay I gifted you folks yesterday about the media’s latest Crime In The Streets fad, I hereby release today’s edition to gen pop. It’s New York Times deputy executive editor Ned Bins’ defense of his paper’s phlegmatic coverage of longtime New York Republican politician Carl Paladino's paen to the political gifts of Adolf Hitler -- and believe me, if you haven’t seen Paladino’s rap, whatever you’re imagining that was, it’s even worse. 

I’m actually in sympathy with the Times, in a way, because they imagine themselves to be the Paper of Record and I’m sure its bigwigs -- most of whom, I notice, came of age when the Fourth Estate was still coasting on Watergate-era prestige and few noticed how poorly it was performing its traditional societal functions -- envision future readers scanning its back pages for a fair, fact-based, balls-and-strikes record of then-current events. They probably also feel their even-handed approach makes a historically accurate portrayal of any controversy (including whether or not what Paladino said was a big deal) easier to craft.

But it also reminds me of this 2019 Tablet story about the Times’ Berlin correspondent in the run-up to WWII:

At the outbreak of the Second World War, The New York Times bureau chief in Berlin, Guido Enderis, was known to sit in the bar of the city’s famous Adlon Hotel spouting “a loudmouthed defense of Nazism,” eventually provoking another reporter to complain to the Times’ publisher: “Isn’t it about time that The New York Times did something about its Nazi correspondent?”

But the Times had no intention of doing anything about Enderis. In fact, it valued his close connections to the Nazi government, as it had throughout the 1930s.

If the name “Maggie Haberman” flashed in your mind, have a cigar. 


Thursday, June 09, 2022

THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE.

I have a free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down item up now about how the recent California elections show (along with the political power of billions of dollars, but everyone knows that, right) how the ancient ooga-booga equities of conservatism are experiencing a revival thanks to the social media videos and memes calculated to Other the fuck out of the opposition. 

One of my points is, discussion of social media seems stuck on modish tropes like algorithms and brigading when the most relevant points of comparison are much more old-fashioned. I guess it makes some difference how the images are disseminated, but the real power of, e.g., multiple videos of shoplifters in drug stores is simply that they’re visual. All social does is make it possible for propagandists to send them to you and make sure you see them. The model is less Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook and more George Orwell’s telescreens, and the relevant concept of post-literacy goes back to McLuhan.

One reason I don’t write much these days about what the conservative “intellectuals” say is that, on the right, anything even resembling intellectual content is laughably beside the point anymore. It used to be (and sometimes still can be) easy and fun to dissect their idiocies, because their unenviable pig-lipsticking tasks left them naked to creative ridicule. But seriously, what am I going to do with National Review articles like “Putin the Marxist-Leninist”? They spend their time on shit like that because there’s no point in even trying to make conservative policy look like anything but what it is: a naked appeal to America’s worst prejudices, craziest conspiracy theories, and purest animal hatreds. Viral videos are not just a good tactic: they’re perfectly suited to conservative philosophy, indeed they more or less define it.

Friday, June 03, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Heard this playing at a D.C. COVID testing center last week.
One more thing to admire about public health workers!

Bleah, long hard week, me sleepy, But! You the Public have a right to appropriate entertainment so here are two (2) absolutely free items from my big underground hit newsletter (the great Digby calls it “one of my favorite newsletter[s],” and that’s no joke), Roy Edroso Breaks It Down: 1.) A transcript of Tubby’s speech to the NRA, and 2.) Upcoming Johnny Depp projects

Regarding the former, though people focused on the gross bell-ringing stunt, I was actually more interested in Trump’s contention that “inner city schools rarely have these kinds of mass shootings” because of their “stronger security measures” such as metal detectors and police presence, and he wanted that brought to schools in the suburbs. So much rightwing yak is about protecting the white enclaves (where most of their base lives) from the contagion of cities -- yet here the guy is basically admitting that suburban schools in Republican neighborhoods are happy hunting grounds for nuts with machine guns, and they can't do anything about it so they have to adopt big-bad-city precautions. Thus, the burbs are both cultural wastelands and shooting galleries! It’s amazing how much their shamelessness disguises their admissions of failure. 

As for Depp, well, I’m a fan of his performances -- some more than others -- and as a non-Zhdanovite I don’t count his personal failings against his acting. But after this trial I’m not very interested in hearing about him again. (Don’t let that stop you, though! And while you're there, subscribe -- it's cheap!) 


Thursday, June 02, 2022

WHERE THE BOYS ARE.

Here's an unlocked Roy Edroso Breaks It Down number, laying out some possible future projects for Johnny Depp. I did not pay attention to the Depp-Heard trial, and it may be that someone has laid out a coherent explanation for the verdict, though mainly what I have seen from those who approve of it has nothing to do with legal rationale and everything to do with creepy pseudo-butch displays

Against my better judgment I have been guided to Rod Dreher, whose work I haven’t looked at much since he revealed that he was getting divorced and sternly warned everybody not to read anything into it. (Everything conservatives always say about divorce culture destroying America, for example, apparently doesn’t apply to Dreher. It’s Wilhoit’s Marital Law!) He seems to have gotten even weirder since. And sure enough, in a recent post, he “responds” to this “reader” “email”:

…The news of your divorce coming around the same time as the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial has me thinking thoughts that had never occurred to me.

First of all, I can’t believe I’m riveted by a dang celebrity trial. It’s typically not something I spend any kind of time on. But riveted I am. Despite the fact that we are practicing conservative Christians, our own marriage is headed for a hard crash, because I’m confident that my wife is mentally ill. Watching the Depp/Heard trial, I learned about the existence of a condition called Borderline Personality Disorder…

When I read that, everything became SO CLEAR to me about why my marriage is in so much trouble, and why therapy has not worked for us.

(Dreher, resuming his authorial voice, follows up: “This is really something, because I have been getting a surprising number of e-mails from readers saying pretty much the same thing…” Future ex-Mrs.-Dreher, I hope for your sake you have a lot of money in a separate account.) 

The Dreher “reader” experience does seems to comport with a general observation that, whatever this particular celebrity trial was really about, all the creeps have lined up with Depp. But this is no different than what we experience in other areas of real life, whenever we see someone driving with needless aggression on the highway or yelling “Let’s Go Brandon” at a non-political event or trying to cut in line and acting the victim when they're called out: Assholes flock to assholes. Trump merely gave them an Alpha Asshole around which to cluster. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



We can all feel special on a Saturday night.


I’ve been pretty scrimpy with my free issues of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, since its income is all that’s keeping the Missus and I out of the County Home and I want people to pay for it, not lurk about and wait for me to put some out at the curb like they used to do with day-old bagels at H&H

But the Uvulde massacre inspired me to a series of three issues -- one about the immediate and expected declarations that we must do something other than threaten our precious guns, one about an example of our many gun-culture peddlers that feed America’s AR-mania, and one about Don McLean’s withdrawal from the big NRA Uvalde wrap party -- and I say, you know what, as a public service I’ll open them all up. Go soak in my righteous anger! 

Meanwhile the ongoing reaction has been repulsive as usual. The apparently fatally inept response to the shooting by the Uvalde PD has drawn, in addition to genuine and well-warranted righteous indignation, the attention of gun nuts who want to use the cops’ malfeasance as an excuse -- here are a couple of examples that infested my feed. Their message is: It’s not the guns, if we had more civilian Good Guys With Guns (read: even less gun control) the shooter might have killed slightly fewer people (or the good guys with guns might have killed slightly more -- in either case, the guns will be safe, thank God)!

(Though I have to admit it’s funny to see wingnuts throwing their beloved Thin Blue Line under the bus. That’s how much they love their assault weapons!)

After that it’s almost comforting to see the usual rightwingers doing their traditional “Guns don’t kill people, people trying to get rid of guns kill people (or at least my boner)” routine. Erick Erickson

Do Democrats want the issue or do they want a solution?  It almost seems that Democrats screaming about Republicans wanting kids to die is projection because Democrats rush in while bodies are still warm to vilify their opponents, attack them for offering thoughts and prayers, and then offer their own empty platitudes and empty solutions.

The bodies are not yet cold, and here come greedy Democrats trying to stop it from happening again, next week and every week as God intended! Don’t they know nothing can be done except stuff that has been done and doesn’t work? 

Using one failure to suggest we should abandon efforts to provide officers at all schools seems foolish.  That could get sixty votes in the Senate.  Providing a well-trained public servant in schools would more likely than not serve as a deterrent.  It might not stop all cases but could stop many.  Why let perfect be the enemy of the good?

… well-armed retired veterans at schools would be better than waiting for the police to show up.

There’s old Gumpy, our 74-year-old school guard -- whoops, shooter took him out first. Guess Gumpy’s not as quick on the draw as he used to be! 

What about fortifying school doors…

Jesus fucking Christ. The hard fact is, the only people who are still listening to these assholes are listening because they want to hear that something, anything is the reason for this never-ending mayhem except their beloved machine guns. I say just get rid of the damn things, and if some pedantic jerkoff says, ”LOL libtards it’s not a ‘machine gun’ it’s actually called a [Gunfetish Nomenclature],” we make a note to specify that shit too when we ban the rest and make the penalties for that one twice as steep.



Friday, May 20, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



A lot of the music I've been enjoying most lately
is stuff I hear at the taco shop.

•   Another long, hard week -- but sumer is icumen in, ‘round these parts anyway, so even as our nation collapses into shit, let us be grateful for that. And if that ain’t enough, here’s an extra helping of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down for them as has yet to spring for a subscription (it’s $7 a month, ya skinflints). Along with the Monday report from the Bans Off Our Bodies rally in Washington, I have unlocked the transcript of the Supreme Court majority’s recent fĂȘte at The Rectory, where in-crowd integralists gather, hosted by Wild Bill Bennett and Miz Noonan. Laugh that ye may not weep! 

 •   Hey, conservative social policy is having an effect on the school system! About a schoolteacher in Florida:

Over the years, a half-dozen children came out to her as gay or transgender. Most told her informally, blurting it out by her desk. With every student, her first question was, “Do your parents know?” If the answer was “no,” and if [Nicolette] Solomon ascertained the student’s household was likely to be accepting, she encouraged the student to come out to their parents. In these conversations, if students asked, Solomon admitted she was a lesbian, happily married to another woman.

Solomon herself came out fully in college; in high school, she told only a handful of people closest to her. Sometimes she thought about how much it would have helped to discuss her sexuality with an openly LGBTQ teacher in grade school: “I definitely would have gone to that person, because I would have known they’d be accepting.”

But as Solomon’s students made her feel needed, some of her colleagues were doing the opposite.

Early in the job, one teacher — who figured out Solomon was gay after watching Hayley help Solomon cart supplies into her classroom — told her in the middle of a casual conversation, “I like you as a person, but I don’t support gay marriage.” Stunned, all Solomon could think to say was, “Okay.”

You will not be shocked to learn Solomon has since been menaced out of her job, and gay kids at Key Biscayne K-8 Center are gonna have an even rougher time of it than before. Also, we’ve got a Republican candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives supporting a ban on contraception,  a Virginia legislator suing Barnes & Noble because it sells gay-friendly books to teenagers, etc.

But this occupant of one of America’s loftiest pundit-perches has a solution to draconian rightwing policies: Federalism is “in” so just make sure you’re living in a cool blue state.

If you don’t, and can’t afford to move to one (blue places are more expensive than the gulches and hollers of Red America, and then there’s the added cost in soap and toothpaste), guess you’re fucked. But don’t worry: When these red state laws are nationalized, as Republicans have been promising to do, you will receive the comfort that company affords to misery. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

WE'RE ALL TRYING TO FIND THE GUY WHO DID THIS.

The days are busy, and as full of bad faith and mendacity as they are I can’t keep up. (Though I make an effort at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. Subscribe, cheap!) But sometimes a piece of pixelcrap emerges that I just can’t let it pass.

At the Washington Examiner Byron York writes about George W. Bush’s unfortunate moment during a recent speech at SMU, in which he meant to say "wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Ukraine” but had to correct himself after saying "wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.” York’s conclusion seems mildly sympathetic to the old war criminal:

But most of all, Bush's words at SMU conveyed the sense of a man who made a career-defining mistake that still troubles him, two decades later. It troubles the country, too.

Boo fucking hoo. But the real howler for me is York’s portrayal of how support of the invasion and war went: 

The war in Iraq has roiled American politics for nearly 20 years. In the early years, opposition to the war became a litmus test among Democratic politicians. Two of the party's presidential nominees, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, voted to authorize the war as senators, while a third, Barack Obama, avoided the test because he was not in the Senate when the authorization vote was taken.

In the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, candidate Donald Trump agitated the GOP when he openly described the war as a disaster. Trump did it in part to rattle his competitor in the primaries, Bush's brother Jeb. But Trump did, in fact, strike a nerve among Republicans who supported the war when it began but came to believe it was a mistake. Now, no one would be surprised if Trump at some point makes use of the new Bush blunder as new ammunition in Trump's battle against what used to be called the Republican establishment.

If you had missed the past 20 years of American history, you might get from this the (clearly intended) impression that the war was pushed through by GWB and the Democrats, and opposed by Republicans, especially the ones who would later become the MAGA movement. *

But that just ain’t so. Check Pew Research in 2011, when Obama announced that, as he had promised in the 2008 campaign, the U.S. was withdrawing from Iraq (which turned out not to be entirely true, unfortunately):

Since the start of the war, there has been a wide partisan gap on the question of using force in Iraq. In March 2003, with major combat operations ongoing, the gap was substantial: 93% of Republicans supported the decision to use force, compared with 66% of independents and 59% of Democrats. This gap persisted through the first year of the [war]. Across all surveys conducted in 2003, 90% of Republicans backed the decision to use force, compared with 66% of independents and 50% of Democrats.

Over the ensuing years, support for the war has plummeted among independents and Democrats plummeted, while Republicans have remained largely supportive. In surveys conducted in 2008 — the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency — just 17% of Democrats said it was the right decision to take military action in Iraq, compared with 73% of Republicans.  Since President Obama took office, support for the decision to go to war in Iraq has increased among Democrats.

However, Americans are ready to move on — 56% believe that the U.S. has mostly accomplished its goals in Iraq, and three-quarters of the public support Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops by the end of 2011. (emphasis added)

Also a lot of us marched and otherwise made our anti-war feelings known, as Republicans pointed and laughed at the dirty liberal hippies. 

If you’re of a suspicious turn of mind -- and with York why wouldn’t you be -- you might think he’s trying to erase the cold fact of a massively liberal anti-Iraq-war opposition to make it easier to peddle Trump and his minions as Right From The Start. If that seems like a stretch, think what other fantasies MAGA, QAnon, and all the big Republican constituencies have accepted in similar defiance of evidence and common sense. 

* Oh, and in case you were wondering, York was a big Iraq War fan once upon a time -- see his June 2003 column, “The Truth About Bush’s ‘Lies’”: 

…if the administration's case was a lie, then everybody, including much of the political opposition, was in on it. Just as importantly, if it turns out that prewar estimates of Iraq's capabilities were incorrect, the Bush administration can say — truthfully — that it erred on the side of protecting American national security. 

And he seemed to think the war was a great success, as described in his December 2006 column, “In war-torn Iraq, unlike here, there’s optimism”:

Presumably without access to The New York Times, The Washington Post and television news, millions of Iraqis say their lives are better than they were last year, better than they were before the United States invasion, and will likely be better a year from now than today.

Among the measures of victory cited by York: “In 2003 (in another poll), 32 percent [of Iraqis] had a satellite dish. Now it’s 86 percent.”

Friday, May 13, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Yes, apparently it's supposed to be played this fast.

•   I originally had only one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie to offer you this week -- this one about bullshit liberals (and others) who think you’re getting too worked up about the end of abortion rights. But today I was in a generous mood and thought, screw it, these guys have been working hard all week and, after they’ve trudged home on Friday covered in coal dust and sweat, they would enjoy the refreshment of my new post about some other junk on the Internet. Generous as I am, please remember subscriptions are what make my world go around, and buy one for a friend while you’re at it -- they’ll be non-plussed to receive such high-quality prose five times a week in their inbox, and all honor with redound to you. 

•   I have mixed emotions about the disastrous recent polling on the Supreme Court:

A Morning Consult-Politico poll taken Tuesday found that “relatively few voters believe the ruling should be reversed entirely (28%). Half of voters said Roe should not be overturned, up from 45% who said the same in December.” Furthermore, “voters are more than twice as likely to say abortion should be legal nationally than that it should be illegal. … Relatively few voters believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (35%).”

Worse, from the justices’ perspective, a mere 14 percent say they have a lot of confidence in the court. Support for expanding the court is up, with 44 percent strongly or somewhat favoring the addition of justices. That’s nothing compared with the 67 percent who strongly or somewhat support term limits. In addition, 74 percent support imposing a mandatory code of ethics; 63 percent favor an age limit; and 59 percent would like the court to have an equal number of Democrats, independents and Republicans (having dispensed with the fraud that the partisans in robes aren’t political). 

Part of me of course finds this hilarious. SCOTUS has been a nest of partisan ratfuckery for years, and it’s about time its stench finally reached the nostrils of the American people. Clarence Thomas, husband of the insurrectionist Ginni, blustering about the respect owed the Court is so rich that if I didn’t know better I’d swear it was some kind of inside joke to show the rabble just how out of touch he and his fellow wingnut operatives are.  As it is conservative commentators, who have been so insistent about defending justices from the merest show of displeasure at their actions, have not to my knowledge acknowledged the contempt their actions have brought upon the Court, and that the proles now want their Black Robed Masters term-limited. Gotta admit, that’s funny!

On the other hand, though, this could be seen as a troubling new development in a decades-long trend. Conservatives have been methodically spreading contempt on government since before Reagan, rightly figuring that the more citizens mistrusted their own government, the easier it would be to elect Republican con artists who could loot the Treasury of behalf of their contractor donors via privatization. Better still for their malign purposes, it also deprived those voters of the expectation that government could render them any meaningful assistance, making it far easier to cheat them on services and safeguards, leading to the landscape of collapsed bridges, delayed and denied justice, and general resentment with which we are now cursed.

The raspberries their Respect for the Court yap is getting now from normal people shows they probably didn’t anticipate that their Drown It In The Bathtub ethos would also affect government institutions that they themselves need healthy and respected in order to further their grift. 

And it won’t stop there: Think about the curses conservatives been casting at the “woke” military, ostensibly because they have normal diversity programs but really because they failed to support the Trump program -- including the attempted coup. This is undoubtedly a big part of the reason why the military’s poll numbers are down among Americans. It’s not nearly as bad as SCOTUS’ collapse, but after a few more years of wingnut hit squads screaming that soldiers are too friendly to the people they hate (i.e. women and minorities) and too unfriendly to their Russian buddies, who knows what might happen. 

A grim thought: Neither the Court nor the military is directly answerable to voters.

Friday, May 06, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Four Go-Betweens songs. Never a bad idea.

Only one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down free installment this week, the one I mentioned in the previous post about the Dobbs draft decision. Sorry, I need more subscribers and can’t be giving it away all the time. Tell ya what though -- use this link before May 10 and you get 10% off your annual subscription. It’s already absurdly cheap so if you don’t sign up now it’s practically negligence!  

A lot of other brilliant stuff has been written about the recent unpleasantness at the Supreme Court, but as you know my specialty is the crap, and that is in abundance. (I got into it a little in today’s newsletter -- subscribers know.) Basically, the Jesus-cult conservatives who don’t have to worry about alienating any heathens in their audience are ululating ecstatically; the others are just lying their asses off. Some are acting as if the leak of the decision is The Real Outrage, to misdirect attention from the massive injury to human rights the ruling represents (and the possibility that it was a conservative who did it), and to preserve their eternal victim status.  (No matter who else gets hurt and how badly, remember, it's always the conservative who is injured, offended, and cancelcultured.)

And, as previously mentioned, some are pretending that it won’t lead to other reversals the decision’s logic pretty much demands -- the end of rights to gay marriage, contraception, interracial marriage, etc. -- which is absurd enough on its face but when it’s being dished out by such as David French -- author of “Meet the New Public Face of Abortion-on-Demand: Satanists” -- it’s just ridiculous. (French even says Obergefell won’t be overturned “because Alito said so.” Oh, well then!)

But for me the absolute worst is the sort of soft-soap dished out by Peggy Noonan -- not just because, being Peggy Noonan, she is definitionally the worst, but because her passive-aggressive shtick requires she pretend that, whatever we may feel about the decision, it’s for our own good and that her slavering theocon friends will rush to succor us with Christian love:

Advice now, especially for Republican men, if Roe indeed is struck down: Do not be your ignorant selves. Do not, as large dumb misogynists, start waxing on about how if a woman gets an illegal abortion she can be jailed. Don’t fail to embrace compromise because you can make money on keeping the abortion issue alive. I want to say “Just shut your mouths,” but my assignment is more rigorous. It is to have a heart. Use the moment to come forward as human beings who care about women and want to give families the help they need. Align with national legislation that helps single mothers to survive. Support women, including with child-care credits that come in cash and don’t immediately go to child care, to help mothers stay at home with babies. Shelters, classes in parenting skills and life skills. All these exist in various forms: make them better, broader, bigger.

This is an opportunity to change your party’s reputation.

If you have ever actually met a Republican, you know this is laughable. At this very moment, the “Republican men” (and women) of Louisiana are “coming forward as human beings who care about women” by making abortion an act of murder for which women can be prosecuted. There is no concomitant rush anywhere to provide “child-care credits” or “life skills” to the unhappily pregnant. Republicans will do what they always do -- immiserate the powerless -- and their shills will deny it as long as they can, and then turn on a dime and say that’s just what they deserve.  

Thursday, May 05, 2022

THEY GOT THEIRS -- DON'T WORRY ABOUT YOURS.

Today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie was inspired by some bullshit, of a sort you may have also been seeing, where some very serious commentators explain that the overturn of Roe v Wade and the end of a presumed Constitutional right to self-determination/control of one’s own body is nbd actually and you libtards are just being dramatic. 

This line of BS is most evident among rightwingers who, no shock, are frightened by the strong negative reaction to the draft ruling and worry that it will affect the midterms. Ham-faced pundit Erick Erickson, for example, has been swearing up and down, in such fragments of his newsletter that I can read without giving him the encouragement of payment, that no one cares about this silly old abortion thing (“abortion does nothing to help an economy that is stalling and on the verge of a recession”) -- but he keeps repeating it, more like a mantra than analysis; his recent titles have been “Abortion Meltdown,” “Hysteria Rules the Day,” and (I’m not making this up) “Roe v Wade Ending Really Won't Change Anything. That's Reality, Not Downplaying Dobbs.”  

Erickson is as close to someone just posting the talking points (under the thinnest palimpsest of the shittiest prose) as you can get, so clearly the idea is that the result conservatives have spent decades screaming and salivating for is a matter of no real importance to them (though they usually manage to sneak in somewhere that they are of course happy for the “pre-borns”) and that opposing the upending of this heretofore Constitutionally-protected right is some sort of pique or mania.

This talking point went meta today with the Washington Times headline, “Not there yet: Pro-lifers subdued despite promise of biggest victory in movement’s history.” Reporter Valerie Richardson features anecdotes that suggest the anti-abortion movement is subdued because they have not finished God's work -- for example, in some states and for the moment women will not be forced to bear their rapists’ children. But the obvious intended effect is to back up the Republicans’ “the real outrage is the leak” misdirection -- to make it look as if what is actually happening is not happening.  

But my real inspirators, referenced in the graphic, are Orin Kerr and Megan McArdle, whose glibertarian hand-waving is as annoying as it is expected. The only difference is it usually takes a while for their bullshit to be proven bullshit; in this case, the very horrors they tell us not to worry about -- abortion criminalized in blue states via a national ban, re-criminalization of gay marriage and other rights -- are already being advanced by prominent conservatives who, despite the propaganda to the contrary, are not subdued but emboldened to further immiserate the people they despise. (Which is most of us, BTW.) 

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

NO RIGHT BUT THE RIGHT TO LIFE.

You have heard the news, and may have read Alito’s draft decision, which is every bit the nightmare everyone says it is. (As to the widespread charge that Democrats rather than Republicans somehow leaked the draft, which was immediately offered by rightwingers as The Real Outrage, one would have to be an idiot to believe it, and idiots will.)

Among many other things, Alito makes much of ancient prohibitions on abortion according to “Anglo-American common law tradition,” as one might use that same tradition to defend the burning of witches and torture confessions -- not to mention laws against sodomy, contraception, interracial marriage, et alia. He is also keen on whether a presumed right is “deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” -- which happen to be the same rationales used by Justice White when he upheld Georgia’s anti-sodomy law in Bowers v. Hardwick

And of course this is the plan:  A return to the before-time where certain members of society had all the rights, on the basis of laws from the eras of slavery and feudalism. (Look up “court,” “sodomy,” and “time immemorial” and see what you get.) 

So there is no reason at all to take seriously Alito’s ridiculous assertion that any other personal liberties that were codified by other Supreme Court decisions will not be affected by this one because “they do not support the right to obtain an abortion.” If they can get this one, they can and will get the others, perhaps while assuring us that the ones they haven’t gotten to yet are still protected -- at least at first. 

It's something to have been alive both for the dawn of Roe and its demise, but it’s important to remember that history is bigger than our individual lifetimes. While Alito and his fellow ghouls reach back to the Middle Ages for their illiberal precedents, we know that there have been times more recent when liberties were affirmed and expanded, and their blessings enjoyed by people still living. History does not suggest this is a one-and-done affair and that we have to slink back to the caves. But we may have to fight to keep ourselves from being pushed into them. 


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

AN UNSAVORY MUSK.

Opinions are like assholes -- everyone has one about Elon Musk! So do I, at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, and I have unlocked it for your delectation. Unlike most of the commentariat, I have a unified theory of Musk which informs the analysis: He wants to be president, and this is his way of transitioning from “unaccountably self-regarding famewhore who blows up rocket ships” to someone we’re all supposed to take seriously. 

Like a lot of other people I was amused by David Rothkopf’s related tweet on the oligarchical pile-up in prestige media, but it also made me think about the different approaches among those oligarchs. Bloomberg, Carlos Slim, and to a great extent Bezos run their media empires in the traditional way -- quietly, without inserting themselves too much into the process. (Bezos, for example, can count on brown-nosers at the Washington Post to fluff him without being ordered to.) Gates, even more old-school, pretty much eschews content and putters with philanthropy like a Morgan or a Rockefeller. 

Zuckerberg is kind of a transitional figure -- he used celebrity and tech cachet to promote his sub-journalistic enterprise, and was wildly successful, but this also increased his need to be at the forefront and he is now condemned to endlessly travel a weary gauntlet of Congressional hearings and virtual-reality shitshows to keep it flying. Musk has inherited the model but you'll never see him performing it like a duty -- alone among these worthies, he inherited rather than hustled his wealth, and sees no reason to actually work at anything. So he just bigfoots like a cartoon villain or Adam Sandler character across the landscape, confident that everything will work out because, being insulated by unimaginable wealth, he has never suffered anything resembling an adverse result, nor hoped to achieve anything more difficult than the self-promotion that daily increases his army of sycophants. There’s a lesson in the fact that Musk is positioned to become the most powerful of them all. 

UPDATE. Along with my brilliant writing this news has spurred some utter shite, including a world-beater from the epochally awful Erick Erickson, whose "The Media's Twitter Problem" begins thus:

Elon Musk is an American success story. Originally from Africa, Musk moved to America and is now the richest man in the world. 

I'm surprised he didn't write, "Originally from Africa, Musk moved to America and, through the magic of free enterprise and his own hard work, inherited an emerald mine."

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

BEEN AWAY, WHAT'D I MISS?


I’ve been off the grid this week, seeing to some family business in London. I’m not in a position to get around much but can still enjoy some of the usual London advantages of density, argot, real beer, and other marvels. Also I can semi-forget about the garbage that is America and to semi-remember the garbage that is Britain. They’re as fucked as we are, maybe even more so, seeing as their Trumpian buffoon & oligarch’s cats-paw is still in office despite having shit the bed in, of all things, a social distancing scandal. This I had assumed was only promoted because such clown-shows distract from Boris Johnson’s real crimes, both those traditionally conservative and those uniquely his own, but now it appears the rightwing British press (which is even shittier than ours, if such a thing can be imagined) is letting it drag him down because they figure they can do even worse with someone else after watery neolib Keith Starmer inevitably steps on his own dick. 

Nonetheless I get glimpses at the homeland madness. I see one of our vat-bred Trump judges reversed the mask mandate on domestic flights (not applicable to foreign airline flights coming back home, thank God). Most Americans don’t agree with it, but our asshole press is going with the Everything Back to Normal fantasies, flogging tales of the jolly singing flight attendant and owning the libs. The U.S. 14-day new case rate is up 47% and once again Cassandra is smacking her forehead.

Oh, and yeah, I heard about Dreher. Talk about get off the cross, we need the wood! But whatever schadenfreude might be spurred by his impending mortal sin of divorce (I know, he’s not in that religion anymore -- say, maybe this is why!), it has to be blunted by the fact that, despite this back-of-wrist-to-forehead performance, he probably isn’t really suffering much -- after the nine years he’s allegedly been struggling with this, it’s probably a relief. It’s a cinch Dreher will learn no kind of charity or humility from the experience and if anything will push his customary bigotry and fascism with renewed zeal, confident that God has removed his erstwhile helpmeet to free his hand to more viciously smite liberals, gays, blacks, trans people, et alia.  The problem with these guys being monsters is, anything that might make you or I question our life choices merely makes theirs worse.