Friday, December 15, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: MOVE OVER, BARI WEISS! EDITION.

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Loved this since I was a kid.

Another week in the books! Howsabout some free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down numbers? Not the whole week’s worth – I have to hold some back for paying customers only; this here ain’t no charity – but two for a taste. 

The grimmer of the two is inspired by a trend I notice in both conservative discourse and in the prestige press that fluffs it: The attempt to make us all (except the fascists, of course) just give up even trying. Everything in this view is about the unstoppable Trump dictatorship. The wingnuts you can understand, because this has always been their dream of domination, but with the prestige press it seems like a tic – they’ve been in a defensive crouch about “liberal bias” for so long that they just wearily wave the crude absurdities of the Right through the gate as if they don’t have a choice.

You can see this shit in its tertiary stage in James Bennet’s endless crybaby column about how mean widdle kids chased him out of the New York Times over his Tom Cotton “Turn the Army loose on your fellow citizens for MAGA” op-ed, and how it means “the Times’s familiar problem, which is liberal bias” – yes, he actually says this – has turned into “illiberal bias” because the paper won’t run more rightwingers (who’s left for them to hire? Jim Hoft? Charlie Kirk? I doubt even that would satisfy him) and some of the news side journalists express a Point of View. How anyone who actually reads the Times (from the current front page: “The Debate on Wall Street: Did the Fed Pivot Too Soon?”) can think it’s in the tank for the DSA is – well, I was going to say it’s beyond me, but prestige press gotta prestige, as my (far preferable) post and many others show, so it’s to be expected.

(Oh, I will mention that today Jamelle Bouie has a column that pursues a thesis similar to mine --  that for the right "the point is the cultivation of political despair." He doesn't sweep up the prestige press in this but, ha, why would he, he's writing for the Times! As Homer Simpson would say: Still good though,)

For the second freebie I once again open the gate to our Fun Friday free-for-all; this week readers (you too!) are invited to talk about a song or other piece of music that appeared incidentally in a movie or TV show you saw and has managed to stick in your memory. I have lots of examples myself – like the little piece of “The circus is a wacky world, how I love it!” Natalie Wood is recording over and over in Inside Daisy Clover when she goes nuts. Go on, pitch in! 

Friday, December 08, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: MR. ILLUMINATI WITH THE JADE HELM AT THE FEMA CAMP EDITION.

Dumb as hell but fun as well.

It was as always a heavy week at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down – and subscribers got all five (5) issues of it! As for you non-subscribers who want a peek, normally by week’s end I have two issues open to all comers, but looking back now I find only one cleared – my account of the Wednesday Republican debate (at least the 35 or so minutes of it I could stand to watch). 

That post is fun in a cynical way, of course, but upon consideration I’m more focused on the strangeness of having, what is it, three debates so far and three more scheduled for January and it’s likely that none of them will feature the person who’s actually going to run. So in a way this is just a traveling debating society, except instead of great minds at the Oxford Union we have these idiots. 

On those terms Ramaswamy is getting the best deal – while Haley and DeSantis are just repeating the current crackpot conspiracy theories of the modern conservative movement (with Christie just there to kibbitz), Ramaswamy is pushing the insanity envelope with yak about the Great Replacement and other such fantasies; so, while the others are merely wallowing in the present state-of-the-art stupidity, because that’s all they know how to do, Ramaswamy is working to make the Republican discourse both crazier and (with his famously boorish tech-brat behavior) more coarse, perhaps in hopes that over time Republicans will become accustomed and attracted to this new level of degeneracy. Maybe they won’t have to amend Article II of the Constitution to have Musk as President after all -- because there’s an eligible asshole who’s able to replicate Musk’s shtick. 

Speaking of lunacy, I'm being a sport and also opening up this week’s Fun Friday issue (see, it’s not all high-toned polemics) which has readers commenting with their response to the prompt: What, among all the mad rightwing conspiracy theories, is one that you find hilarious? Got a good response so far, though some just wrote in to say they found the relative success of these conspiracy theories more depressing than funny. Fair enough but come on, folks, some are comedy gold – like one that a commenter brought up, the idea of some adherents to the Sovereign Citizen movement (funny already!) that “the government is controlling our minds through grammar,” with explanatory links. I now choose to think that when I correct an interlocutor’s grammar, I’m actually controlling their mind. I never dreamed I had such power! 

Friday, December 01, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: PRESS GANG EDITION.

My wings are broken and so is my hair.

The two Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies this week (free to non-subscribers, that is – subscribers get five days a week of this excellence! Sign up!) are both about media malfeasance, in a way. Today’s is about Kissinger’s death, treated by the big shots in Prestige Media as an occasion for gracious tribute, but by the average man-on-the-internet-street as either a who-he or fuck-him. 

Kissinger was a mass-murdering, democracy-toppling monster, and the press’ inability to see it, or even admit that reasonable people might consider carpet-bombings and military coups to run contrary to the ideals of their country, is funny in a way, like theater critics reviewing Tamburlaine the Great as if it were Abe Lincoln in Illinois. It’s also depressing – also it just figures, when you consider how slow the Prestige Media has been to acknowledge the menace of Trump even after he literally tried to overturn a presidential election with violence. Well, at least some of us cheap-seaters are catching on. 

The second freebie is about the ridiculous new story about Mike Pence’s decision to preside over the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021 – that he was talked into his patriotic duty by his son the Marine! Banana oil. He hauled ass to save his ass.

Friday, November 24, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: PIQUE PROTEST VOTER EDITION.

Certainly the best version.

Hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. I worked full shifts at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down this week, and a couple of items have been put on the “FREE” rack for you non-subscribers, though they’re every bit as good as the stuff people pay for. (Which you should think about doing – five days a week, $7/month; it’s like wasteful not to subscribe at these prices.)

First, I have Monday’s scene from the villain’s-lair of Elon Musk, based on what at that time was his latest embarrassment – trying to buy his way out from under his own ridiculous antisemitic comments. In real life it seemed to work on the Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt, at least, though in my version Musk’s appeal to another prominent Jewish American goes in a different direction. 

(Since then, of course, Musk has further soiled himself by suing Media Matters for reporting the truth about Twitter’s infestation with antisemites. It’s almost as if thuggery and bribery are the only ways he knows to win back lost admiration. You’d think he’d settle for the devotion of the many Weird Elon Nerds who heap mega-dittos on his every tweet – but then it's conservative SOP, isn’t it, to blubber that the people you’ve been absolute shit to don’t love you for it.)

The other freebie is thumbnail biographies of some new Democratic challengers to Joe Biden. You’d think there’d be few Democrats who would fall for the old Jill Stein routine – now the Jill Stein-Cornell West-RFK Jr. routine – and file a protest vote knowing it could deliver the presidency to a fascist lunatic who openly promises to rule as a dictator. I guess you could say the lack of faith in democracy that would drive someone who is intelligent enough to find their polling station to make such a bonehead mistake is the fault of Both Sides, but talk about cutting off your nose (or enabling the Secret Police to cut it off) to spite your face! 

Friday, November 17, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: HEARTS AND MINDS EDITION.

I heard this in a coffee shop playing the most coffee-shop mix imaginable.
Still good tho!

So much going on, more than I could keep up with at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down but I made a valiant effort. I dropped by the Israel rally in D.C. and saw on the ground mostly Jewish solidarity, fellow-feeling, and determination to get back the hostages. It was understandable and even moving — how can thousands of voices singing “Acheinu” not be? — and I wish it were not attached to the Israeli government’s insane and vicious bombing of the many Palestinians who are not Hamas (and hospitals and refugee camps, and probably whatever hostages were not already dead). 

Jeet Heer makes some good points about why the lies the Israeli government tells about their depredations are so cack-handed and unconvincing, but in the final analysis it’s simply the same reason that Trump lies as baldly as he does: Because the denial of reality is itself a display of power, showing the aggressor is so powerful that he doesn’t even have to make it look good. They believe in this manner they’ll get what they want (in Netanyahu’s case I frankly don’t think the hostages even figure in it) no matter what anyone else thinks, because there’s always another threat behind this one. 

 We’ll see. There have been some interesting side effects: On the one hand, lots of what usually gets called “cancel culture” applied to Palestinian advocates (can't wait for Bari Weiss' big expose!) and, on the other, guys like Elon Musk and Charlie Kirk deciding now’s the time to just say some absolutely crazy shit about Jews. Maybe recent events have convinced them that, since anyone showing any sympathy for the massacred people gets called an antisemite nowadays, the genuine article will go unrecognized. 

On a lighter note, sort of, we have Trump going even fuller fash than before and prestige media affecting not to notice. His “vermin” shtick dovetails nicely with the proffer videos of Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell (leaked by a conspirator’s lawyer!) explaining that The Boss did in fact know he’d lost the election and still intended to stay in office – that is, was planning the coup some people will tell you he wasn’t planning. I’m inclined to credit Tubby with a sense of humor here; he might come out with a little toothbrush mustache and brown uniform, and start throwing out Seig Heils, because he knows the Times editorial board will be like, “So, is this a Charlie Chaplin thing? I didn’t think red state voters liked old movies! Quick, gentlemen -- to the diners!”

Friday, November 10, 2023

FRIDAY ‘ROUND THE HORN: CRAZY PEOPLE LOSE ELECTIONS EDITION.

Still the best version.

Another week in the books, and what a week it was here in God’s Country, with people getting fired or muscled for showing sympathy toward massacred Palestinians and yet, somehow, not a peep from Bari Weiss or any of the usual cancelculture crybabies in their defense! Why, it’s almost as if the whole cancelculture thing were bullshit

Speaking of that, I went to last weekend’s Palestine rally in DC and my account of it is one of the week’s two (2) Roy Edroso Breaks It Down posts FREE TO THE PUBLIC thanks to a generous donation by General Dynamics. 

The theme of our other free REBID essay is Election Day and all the Republicans who got their asses kicked because their whole party be acting all crazy. As Jamelle Bouie writes it’s their whole “culture war shtick” that voters seem fed up with, as seen by the defeats suffered by the book-banning Moms for Liberty and various transphobe dickweeds. But abortion is clearly the deal-breaker – the kind of thing that gets red staters to vote against the will of their overlords as they did decisively in Ohio on Tuesday. I’m convinced it’s not just that these voters want reproductive rights – they also know that the people who are desperate to take these rights away from them are out of their minds and cannot be allowed that kind of power over their lives. 

As mentioned in my essay, it’s clear a lot of conservatives have been driven to despair and/or madness by this turn of events. Our old pal Hindrocket from Power Line, for example, headlines his post-electoral-debacle item “WHY DEMOCRATS ARE PANICKING,” which certainly is a counterintuitive take, and Yells At Cloud:

Currently, the most popular position a politician can take, even in red states like Ohio, is enthusiastic support for abortion, as often as possible up to and including the moment of birth. In several states, like Minnesota, abortion after birth–infanticide–has been made legal.

I have heard the up-till-birth-abortion bullshit many times, but “legal” “infanticide” in Minnesota is weirdly specific. Anyone know what he’s talking about? Also, how long after birth can you do it, because I have some suggestions.  

More ominously, I note Republican politicians are working overtime to keep voters from getting any more chances to make their preferences law by referenda -- and to take away those rights even after they're voted into law. That, too, is a thing with Republicans these days – preventing untoward electoral outcomes by force – so don’t let mere awareness that most Americans agree with you make you too confident of the outcome. 

Friday, November 03, 2023

FRIDAY ‘ROUND-THE-HORN: LET’S SEE IF THEY BLOCK THIS ONE EDITION.

News is grim these days, eh?
Let's lighten things up.

As mentioned last week, the prior alicublog F’R-T-H edition that Google unaccountably put behind a gate can be viewed without encumbrance at my Roy Edroso Breaks It Down Substack – as can all previous alicublog posts, and some selected REBID posts that I’ve released to the general public (pay full freight -- $7/month, cheap! -- and you get five posts a week).  

This week we’ve got a consideration of the similarities between the war-drum-beaters in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and their equivalents in the Israel-Palestine war. In both cases, there was a genuine outrage (9/11, Hamas’ attacks on Israel) followed by a lot of indiscriminate overreach that the civilized world condemned, which made the belligerents declare the civilized world to be on the wrong side of the With Us or Against Us paradigm. It’s depressing to watch an ally blow up refugee camps and ambulances and get mad when you complain, but maybe more of us remember the lessons of the last propaganda putsch well enough to stand up to the present one. 

I’ve also unlocked something for fans of satire and song parodies: A Fiorello!esque number on Speaker Johnson’s weird finances. (RIP Sheldon Harnick, btw.) I’ve seen some journalists talk about Johnson’s missing bank account records as if the issue were his inability to handle personal finances, when the circumstances – specifically his being a Republican politician, a religious maniac, and a just-plain-maniac – suggest that he’s concealing his financial arrangements, not out of modesty, but because revealing them would subject him to opprobrium or possibly criminal charges. After all the mischief they’ve caused, why do we keep giving these schmendricks the benefit of the doubt?

Friday, October 27, 2023

ANY IDEAS? (WITH AN UPDATE.)

As noted -- though, ha ha, you can't see it -- Blogger has blocked my last post and my repost of that post because they claim the posts violate "community standards" -- which they don't.  (Blogger doesn't explain their decision.) 

Google/Blogger has nothing resembling customer service. Suggestions?

UPDATE. Thanks all for your kind advice. I have added my alicublog posts -- both the one Blogger blocked, and older ones, in fact going back years --- at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. Henceforth, when Google/Blogger gets censorious with me,  you can easily go to REBID and read the posts they block rather than sign in to Google/Blogger to do so. These posts are not paywalled, either. 

The only drawback is the Disqus comments on these posts at blogspot don't port over to REBID. But you can leave comments at either site. 

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: CENSORSHIP EVASION EDITION (UPDATED).

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FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: GOP RETURN TO RELIGIOUS MANIA EDITION.

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Friday, October 13, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: JIHAD ENOUGH EDITION.

Never a bad day for it.

Line up now, and no shoving please, for the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies! First, Tuesday’s obligatory Israel post. I’ve heard the Hamas attacks called “Israel’s 9/11,” and since I remember our 9/11 I know the next step is war crimes and it sure looks like Israel’s fixing to commit them. You wouldn’t think opposition to the slaughter of civilians would be controversial, but alas! Among the lowest forms of human life there’s always plenty of engagement to be had by ginning up paranoia and cheering mass murder. 

One almost pities American conservatives, though – on the one hand, they love seeing large numbers of brown people killed; on the other, they have to countenance their bĂȘte noire Biden’s unequivocal support of Israel while their own hero Tubby praises the smarts of Hezbollah. Well, no harm no foul: In a few weeks Trump will sic them on some professor or judge, and they’ll forget all about this.

Also for free at REBID now: My essay on why MAGA people never cottoned to Ron DeSantis. Short answer: He’s a tryhard – straining to prove his viciousness while Trump just comes by it naturally. 

Nothing this week about the Speaker of the House yukfest, because how can you improve on the comic genius of House Republicans? It’s fitting that these backstabbing creeps are showing their ass every day – and predictable that the prestige press is still trying to bothsides it, insisting the Democrats have to walk one of these ghouls across the finish line so he can fuck them over. CNN’s David Gregory reaches a new low

I actually have my eye on Democrats. How long are Democrats going to stand by in the world of identity politics, and zero-sum politics, and not be part of any solution?  

One is put in mind of John Gielgud in Arthur: “Perhaps you would like me to come in there and wash your dick for you? You little shit.”

Friday, October 06, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: NOT SEE THE SPEAKER? HANG IT, I SEE TWO* EDITION.

Some of the OGs from back home, tearing it up

Listen, folks, times are tough, so I only have one (1) Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie for you this week -- "3 Bold Outsider Choices for Speaker of the House." 

I sent that on Wednesday and predicted, accurately, that Trump, who had been floated yet again (as he has been periodically since he left office!) as a candidate for Speaker by the trollier elements on the right (and the click-hungry prestige media outlets -- never forget those!) would never go for it.

The idea was always ridiculous, for the reason I cited in that story and in the previous day's -- oh shoot, let's make that a freebie, too -- Scene from the Throne Room of Mar-a-Lago: that Trump knows his people hate politicians who actually do governing work, as Speakers are obliged to do. As Speaker Trump could not, as he does now, fill his days with the fascist fan service of yammered threats and gibberish. He would have to try to persuade and coerce legislators who have even less respect for him than civilians, and then appear before the press to explain what he had fucked up. He'd look ridiculous, like a badly brought up eight-year-old trying to operate a steam shovel, and remind persuadable voters that he is in any executive role a live menace. (He likes the publicity this stupid idea generates, though, which is why I'm sure he encouraged the latest revival of the story.)

So Tubby has endorsed Jim Jordan, one of a field of eligible frauds who will step on each other's dicks as they jockey to briefly and ignominiously claim the chair. And they and their colleagues will continue to scream that it's all the fault of the Democrats for not carrying them over their own river of bullshit -- which I also wrote about and we might as well open that one up to the public, too! Oh, and here's a prominent Republican blaming Democrats for the Speaker mess (in a bothsider way, of course) that I missed: Come on down, Michael Bloomberg! 
I disagree with McCarthy on virtually every issue, but in some critical moments this year, he showed that he was willing to stand up to his party’s right-wing extremists and take the heat.
WHEN THE FUCK WAS THIS? The closest Bloomberg gets to an explanation is to claim McCarthy was "cooperating with Democrats to keep the government open and running" -- that is, he gave them a 45-day extension, presumably so his colleagues could continue their Biden-hunting antics for the cameras, and then told the Democrats to get fucked
Jeffries should’ve been willing to take the same risk, by rising above partisanship to save McCarthy’s job — if not for the good of the country, then for the good of the Democratic Party.
My ass. I tell you, Elizabeth Warren did us all a solid.

* source

Friday, September 29, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: THE GREAT BOT-AND-SCROLL SWINDLE EDITION.

Nothing in this post is to be taken as a knock on Kraftwerk.

Oh boy, have I got Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for you! Yes, I bring Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies every week, but I’m really trying to sell Roy Edroso Breaks It Down now because I’m such a hard-charging capitalist entrepreneur! 

Ha ha, OK, you all know I’m kidding – what a disagreeable old man I have become. I guess I was reminded of my lack of professional ambition by the subject of today’s REBID Fun Friday issue, which I’m releasing to non-subscribers, in which my prompt (a really shitty job experience) is answered by more-than-usually amusing comments. 

Which reminds me: Not only does Roy Edroso Breaks It Down have Fun Fridays, but also fun subscribers whose responses often outstrip my own efforts. Five days a week, friends, for seven bucks a month. If you don’t subscribe it’s like you’re cheating yourself. 

Also, here’s a freebie about the blood-chilling Meta AI launch in which Snoop Dogg and Jane Austen avatars were greeted with applause and appreciative laughter instead of screams of horror and fleeing as they should have been. I understand most of the concern over current artificial intelligence technologies that reduce creative work to amorphous “content” is that it will cost artists their livelihoods. I do sympathize – especially because the cannibalization and “reverse plagiarism” we saw just a few months ago has advanced to the point where scumbags are using real books to “train” robot authors, arguably a novel form of copyright infringement. 

But my own objection is mainly philosophical. At present almost no one who really wants to experience music, literature, and the visual arts would choose the cruddy simulacra that AI affords over the real thing. But in our hypercapitalist dystopia, increasingly the “real thing” in anything is reserved for high rollers. 

Time was the charm and coziness of bohemian neighborhoods was one of the compensations of not being able to afford anything better – but now gentrifiers have swamped those neighborhoods and raised the rent to the point where even the genteelly-poor can’t live in them. Literally no one believes the replacement of human customer service reps with robots has improved customer service for the customers themselves – yet because big money wants to maximize profits, that’s what we get. 

And we’re increasingly told by libertarian creeps that AI will empower psychotherapy bots that will make therapy affordable – when anyone who knows this rotten society can see it’ll just create shitty fake “therapy” that’ll be fobbed off on the poors as the new “telehealth” while the rich get to talk to human beings.

There are a lot of ways in which technology has improved our lives, God knows. But any sentient being must see that our overlords’ goal is not improvement of our lives – which by now is just an incidental side-effect -- but the expansion of their profit margins by any means necessary. They drool at the prospect of feeding us machine-baked mush instead of art because it’ll be more efficient – and it dovetails nicely with the closing down of all those wasteful humanities in schools. Their ideal state is one where the self-expression that has been part of the human experience since the days of the cave-painters is stamped out of existence. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: WHAT ARE YOU, MY MOTHER? EDITION.

Dig these crazy beats!

Those of us in the Northeast are feeling autumn if not autumnal. Maybe because of my somewhat recent change of address the weather shift is not exciting thoughts of death and diminution so much as curiosity – like, how will cooler weather change the pace of life in the neighborhood, and will the boiler still work? 

But whatever the season, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down goes on, five days a week, and Friday means freebies for the joy-poppers. (Get a subscription, ya cheap bastids, it lasts longer.) 

First up is one about the recent revival of the conservative “Marriage Makes You Rich” routine – you know, the idea that you don’t have to give impoverished Americans any money or job programs, you just run them through the chapel and presto, their earnings jump!   

The MacGuffin in this case is some think-tanker’s book, but I believe the wingnuts have jumped on it hard for a couple of reasons, which you’ll learn if you read the thing. Sadly I wrote it before Megan McArdle offered her contribution, which is predictably hilair:

Yet it feels nearly impossible to say “[single parenthood] is a very bad thing” as frankly — and as often — as we’ll need to if we’re going to address this critical issue, both because the first step to fix any problem is admitting we have one, and because saying “that’s bad, actually” is one of the ways that we remove risky behaviors from our cultural script.

Of course McArdle and her fellow scolds have been nagging single parents for decades, and even running marriage promotion scams based on their nagging, without moving the needle. In fact, McArdle seems to think if anything she’s been too inhibited by her fellow-feeling for single moms to nag effectively:

Yet even those of us on the center-right who privately tell pollsters that marriage is important might be reluctant to say so forthrightly in public... I cannot get through even half a sentence without an overwhelming urge to load it down with caveats, for example, that no one should ever stay with an abusive partner for the sake of the children.

So the temptation is to talk about something else, to play down the facts or, at least, sugarcoat them.

Oh, be brave, Megan! Go through the poor neighborhoods with a sound truck crying MARRIAGE MAKES YOU RICH, YOU STUPID PAUPERS!  Remember, it’s for their own good.

Even funnier in its tweetstorm version, in which McArdle answers critics who say we should help working people get jobs that can support a family first (she’s “skeptical of the power of policy change on its own,” lol) so now it’s all up to nagging and she’s tired of doing it all alone, dammit, and wants “public intellectuals” and Hollywood to help:

I’m trying to remember what the last real “marriage sux” show on TV was… “Married… With Children,” maybe? Well, now that Murdoch has left Fox, maybe at last we can get some real conservative pro-marriage programming in there! 

The other freebie, inspired by the news that Marjorie Taylor Greene is working on a book about Marjorie Taylor Greene, is an exclusive look at the book’s preface. It’s a shoo-in for a Puke-lister Prize! 

UPDATE: Rebecca Traister:

It’s not just the think-tank-economist-columnist class prescribing the marriage cure. It’s also hard-right commentators and politicians pushing policies aimed to re-center (hetero) marriage as the organizing- principle of American family life by reversing the progress — from legal abortion to affirmative action to no-fault divorce — that has enabled women to have economic and social stability independent of marriage.

Bingo. 

Friday, September 15, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: DON'T FALL FOR RETRO ROMNEY EDITION.

This reached #8 in the UK chart, and my home, somehow.


The Friday R-T-H is traditionally where joy-poppers get their free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down editions. My first one comes from a few years back – but it’s newly relevant as the Daily Mail has decided it has enough to report that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Trump factotum Corey Lewandowski are having an affair. When this first came to my attention in 2021, I thought it might be fun to see Lewandowski and Tubby engage the issue. Enjoy!  

For newer stuff, I’m unlocking my close read of that extremely generous New Yorker profile of Ross Douthat. All of the interviews are of great pals of Douthat’s, and they agree he’s the “Christian conservative who lives among liberals, writes for them, and… has their respectful attention.” Dunno whether that speaks worse of Douthat or of whomever they imagine to be liberals. They gave similar treatment to Rod Dreher, some years back, and I have to ask: Do they not simply see that these are religious maniacs trying to immanentize the eschaton with bullshit? Or has the bothsiderism that is general in what I call (with bitter laughter) the prestige press also infested the press that has (for the moment) genuine prestige? 

I might as well throw in Monday’s 9/11 sketch about the modern Republican Party’s new attitude toward that event: That is, it’s just something else to tie to the Deep State, not Islama-dama-ding-dong and whatever else they made it about back in the Early Aughts. I know there are plenty of old-timey Republicans who still do standard-issue Never Forget routines on 9/11, but the new jacks seem very influenced by Tubby’s moral relativism – as when he said about Putin, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” (That was probably just a play for the horseshoe numbskulls who mistake his nihilism for an actual analysis of America’s real foreign policy villainy; Trump’s not against killing, he just wants to make you think everyone else is as bad as he is.) Vivek Ramaswamy’s truther flirtations are just the latest frontier; by the convention they’ll be telling us Obama blew up the World Trade Center.

I will add something about that McKay Coppins story about Mitt Romney that everyone’s kvelling over. It’s certainly fun to see the old bastard calling out Mitch McConnell and J.D. Vance and all those other assholes. But it was fun when John Boehner did it, too, and he’s a piece of shit. I’ve been seeing people coo over what a wonderful guy Mittens is and how it wouldn’t have been so bad if he were elected President but let’s not get it twisted: Mister 47% (“who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care…” Remember?) is not a good guy. He’s smarter and maybe more honorable personally than most of the gremlins and creeps who run the party now, but he ran in 2012 on rightwing policies with the zombie-eyed granny-starver because that’s what he believes in. Also he is in his own way as much of a religious maniac as the evangelicals. And now he’s ready to retire and is throwing out some legacy bait. The prestige press may fall for it, but why should we?

Friday, September 08, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: A-HOLES AND PSEUDO-NICE GUYS EDITION.

Anybody else remember the rumor that the “pusher” was Soupy Sales?

Gather ‘round, kiddies, the man with the goodies is here!  And by that of course I mean Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for y’all. 

The first one is another in a series about conservatives’ ever-decreasing emphasis on policy and ever-increasing emphasis on being assholes. The hook in this instance is the people who spread the vicious rumor that Burning Man had become an Ebola superspreader event, and how, when you checked these jerkoffs’ feeds, they usually were also into classic rightwing disinfo – COVID denialism, the “stolen” 2020 election, cities “burned to the ground” by BLM, etc. Because panic and loathing and unreasoning rage are what they have instead of policies that anyone would want.

If you’ve been paying attention at all, this should be self-evident, but a National Review writer named Zach Kessel seems to have missed it; he writes about the recent rightwing rage-gasm over Julia Mazur (if you don’t know, lucky you; she posted about being happy though childless, the expected ensued) as if it only recently occurred to him that this sort of thing was going on among his fellow conservatives: 

There’s plenty that could be said about the experience of a single, childless woman in her late 20s. I obviously have very little practice being one, so I’ll address something else: the sheer nastiness in [merkin-faced clown Matt] Walsh’s post. His attack on a woman who’s simply trying to appreciate what she has in life is emblematic of a broader problem on the right: the conflation of “conservative” with “jerk.” Walsh is by no means the only offender, with many other right-wing influencers solely focusing on “owning the libs.” The “owning” often stoops to bullying. 

Reading this is like reading about the Fulcrum and Lever at this point. It would be weird to read about “right-wing influencers” who were not bullies. Kessel: 

This is a real problem for conservatism. Over the past decade or so, many elements of what once constituted the movement have crumbled, especially within much of the right-wing media ecosystem. Small government? That’s old-fashioned. Clear, universal ideas of morality? So archaic. A globally engaged United States? That’s “not where the voters are,” and even if it was, America isn’t necessarily the good guy.

They still make you? Where has this guy been? Again, these concepts just weren’t pulling – everyone knows by now “small government,” for example, means tax breaks for the wealthy and the rest of us get shit – so now the con is all fascist funhouse garbage. Why does he think Trump and his less talented twins DeSantis and Ramaswamy command about 80% of Republican presidential race support, while the serious and pseudo-nice-guy candidates scramble for scraps?

Can this guy ever get it? Doubtful:

One only needs to look to national politics to see the impact the Right’s approach could be having on voters. Young women have only become more liberal in recent years, and it’s not far-fetched to say the “trolling” streak in some corners of the Right is a turnoff.

“Trolling” – guy, might the aggressively anti-abortion politics shared by both the asshole conservatives and the pseudo-nice-guy conservatives have “young women” convinced all conservatives/Republicans consider them rightless broodsows? Maybe, by being assholes, these guys are not distracting from their beliefs – they’re affirming them.

Anyway: Here’s a less-grim freebie from Labor Day, about how increasingly screwed Americans might just be ready to go for bread and roses again. Solidarity! 

UPDATE. Speaking of those abortion policies that Zach Kessel doesn't think affect young women's feelings toward conservatism, LOL -- from his own magazine

After suffering a string of electoral losses on the issue of abortion, Republican lawmakers are considering moving away from the term “pro-life” to describe their position on the issue...

“Many voters think [‘pro-life’] means you’re for no exceptions in favor of abortion ever, ever, and ‘pro-choice’ now can mean any number of things,” said [Republican Senator Josh] Hawley. “So the conversation was mostly oriented around how voters think of those labels, that they’ve shifted. So if you’re going to talk about the issue, you need to be specific"...

I know we said it was murder, ladies, and it is -- you're all murderers! But we're allowing some murders as a political calculation. There! Don't you feel better about the Republican Party?

Friday, September 01, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: BELABOR DAY EDITION.

Some homies from the old country, grinding the core.

Let us celebrate American Labor:

Some 3.6 million salaried workers would newly qualify for overtime pay under a proposed rule unveiled by the US Department of Labor on Wednesday. It would guarantee overtime pay of at least time-and-a-half for most salaried workers earning less than $1,059 a week, or about $55,000 a year.

The current threshold is $684 per week, the equivalent of roughly $35,600 a year, which was put in place by the Trump administration in 2019.

The proposed rule would transfer $1.2 billion in wages from employers to employees, mainly from new overtime premiums or pay raises to maintain the exempt status of certain affected employees, the agency said.

Like Gompers said: More! Also, like Woody said, take it easy, but take it.

Speaking of labor, here’s a few (2) freebies from the five (5) Roy Edroso Breaks It Down editions I worked my fingers to the bone on this week. First, my gloss on A.R. Moxon’s essay about conservatives who think liberals should be friends with them but who extend none of the courtesies usually extended by people who want to be friends. It’s a rich subject with many angles, which may why I’ve seen people misapprehend it, thinking it means liberals who reject the (obviously insincere) overtures of conservatives are virtue-signaling because morality, in their view, has nothing to do with friendship.   

But, for one thing, the right of free association belongs to all of us – we don’t need an epiphany nor special permission to claim it. For another, it’s not like we’re making Do Not Befriend lists – we’re rejecting the premise that throwing gay, black, trans, and other people to the wolves -- which conservatives treat as a modest concession because they don’t consider those people fully human -- is a suitable price of friendship. (Notice also the premise that only non-gay, non-black etc. liberals are even in the running for the exalted title of Friend to MAGA.)

This is made crystal clear whenever rightwingers talk about “losing their friends” over their beliefs as if those friends were bound to them by a formal contract and are unfairly breaking it, depriving the rightwingers of an audience for their slurs, as the malignant Ben Stein does here:

More explanation than they deserve, but I got time today. Freebie #2 is on its face about Tim Scott’s campaign for Vice-President, but it’s obliquely about all the coverage Vivek Ramaswamy is getting now that he’s figured out how to combine the Republicans’ desire for a See, You Libs are the Real Racist ™ black candidate with Trumpian viciousness. Scott has himself shown some skill as a panderer – launching his campaign, for example, with footage of Fort Sumter, as if inviting Republican honkeys to imagine him loading cannons for the Confederacy. But Ramaswamy’s Adderall Express runs straight down their hateful street, and it’s amusing to imagine Scott trying to match his ugliness while clinging to his Nice Guy image.

Friday, August 25, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: MISHEGOSS IN MILWAUKEE EDITION.

Novelty hot dance with vocals

Another outstanding week in the End Times! I see people are hot about Tubby’s mugshot. Me, I’m not getting excited until he’s put away where he can do us no harm, but I will say this: My old buddy Steven Baker points out that Trump’s attempt at a menacing glower resembles the rendering of Big Brother in just about every film and TV version of 1984. It is noteworthy that while Trump’s fans are always yelling about freedom and liberty, their hero never misses an opportunity to act like a tyrant or a mob boss. That’s not accidental: Rule by Goon is their idea of freedom because the only thing that really makes them feel oppressed is the continued existence of people they believe should be annihilated, and they count on him to do it. That’s why MAGA peeps from the lowliest Twitter howler to Sarah Palin are calling for “civil war” over this rather straightforward legal case against their beloved: If, the original civil war being lost, they can’t have their slaves back, they feel they should at least enjoy the measure of superiority that having a Master above the law would afford. 

Anyway, some of you I know want Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies – though I still strongly recommend you subscribe and get five days a week of this stuff for the low, low price of $7 per month or $70 per year – and you shall have them. 

Click here for the one I released yesterday about the Republican debate – an event already forgotten by all except the entrail-readers of the media who seem to be of the impression that second place in the Republican presidential nomination race comes with some kind of prize. I suppose one could say Tim Scott benefited from the slight increase in media exposure, because I believe Tubby would love a POC Veep candidate for You’re the Real Racist ™ points (Nikki Haley would go for the job, I’m sure, but I’m confident Tubby II will be a no-girls-allowed affair). Generally, low as my estimation of Republican voters may be, I can’t believe even they looked at that train wreck with anything other than contempt.

Speaking of which, click here for the one about debate cynosure Vivek Ramaswamy, or rather about the effusion of media interest that comes from being the “Look At Me, I’m Crazy” candidate while Tubby sits it out. To me, Ramaswamy is just the latest iteration of the GOP Business Prick candidacy – previously held by Steve Forbes, Mike Bloomberg, Ross Perot, and Herman Cain -- which slot Trump managed to break out of. With Trump still hogging the cockpit there’s no chance for Ramaswamy to move up and, as a pure political calculation, there’s no percentage in Trump unbalancing the ticket with an obvious lunatic for VP (there’s a reason why they foisted the Bland Boy of Indiana on him last time). I imagine given Bloomberg’s history the Republican Party of some city with a tech-heavy overclass and low standards may push him for mayor, but my guess is Ramaswamy’s more interested in using his new fame to cultivate financial markets in, say, Russia.  

Thursday, August 24, 2023

BUT REALLY, THEY’RE ALL WIENERS.

I took in as much as I could stand of last night’s Republican debate and wrote about it. From the post-mortems I take it I didn’t miss much, and my first impression was correct: That Trump imprinted the party so indelibly with a fake wrestling ethos that the candidates had either to act sensible and recede, or bellow and bully and reveal themselves unfit to govern. 

The New York Times’ doofuses proclaim Haley the winner, which in my estimation means that her seriousness and (groan) moderation appealed to them while her singularity as the Woman of Color (Sort Of) kept her from sinking into the Hutchinson/Burgum morass. “If there’s any life left in the old G.O.P., Haley gave it hope,” quoth the malignant David French, meaning Not a Chance in Hell – though since these birds are all auditioning for Tubby’s Veep, he may yet decide to lady-up the ticket with Haley and she, having no actual principles, would certainly accept.

The whole Times thing is hilarious. Ross Douthat, rushing to the aid of his fellow petulant bigot Ron DeSantis, says he “stuck to a message designed for a front-running and unifying campaign — but he isn’t the front-runner, and he desperately needs more deftness and finesse.” Of course Douthat can’t even pretend DeSantis is the front-runner, but in what sense is his message designed for a “unifying campaign”? He hates trans people and Anthony Fauci and loves propaganda and brutality – it’s not so much outreach as reach-around; all the MAGA shitheads believe in these things, but not in him.

A bonus to whoever decided to bring on the libertarian clown Katherine Mangu-Ward, who is as one would expect the one Ramaswamy fluffer besides the negligible Daniel McCarthy. Even Mangu-Ward, however, couldn’t avoid acknowledging that some of Ramaswamy’s ideas are “bananas" (nor using the word "manically," one of the more polite descriptors appropriate to his bugged-out affect); but she did coo, “I enjoyed his Reaganite desire to abolish a variety of federal agencies, including the Department of Education…” Still, no rose without the thorn: “…while I found his zeal to close and militarize the southern border deeply troubling.” As usual, I wonder whether libertarians ever wonder why the politicians who excite them always turn out to be moral monsters, and as usual I answer myself: Who cares? 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

SATURDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: PROMOTION OF THE PUTZES EDITION.

Poison fishes and they're freakin' me out, man/
They're so delicious and it's freakin' me out

Yeah, a day late and many dollars short. But look, I have free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down posts! They make great icebreakers at parties, assuming you still go to those. 

I already came across in the previous post with a freebie on the Trump defense taxonomy, so now I’m releasing the PragerU “Slavery as Vocational Training with Frederick Douglass” outtakes to gen pop. Anyone with any sense can see that Florida’s employment of the uncredentialed rightwing bullshit factory PragerU to help teach alternative history to schoolkids is a cynical con job designed not only to misinform the kids but also to discredit the very idea of education (because conservatism thrives on ignorance, and how better to promote ignorance than by turning schools into indoctrination centers that no one, including the kids, can take seriously). 

But what really gets me is that the gig fell to Dennis Prager, truly one of the stupidest wingnut factota around. I still remember his 2008 articles (yes, more than one!) arguing that women who didn’t feel like having sex with their husbands should do it anyway because, well, because daddy horny, that’s why. As I observed at the time:
And here's an analogy that should really win the ladies over: "Why do we assume that it is terribly irresponsible for a man to refuse to go to work because he is not in the mood, but a woman can -- indeed, ought to -- refuse sex because she is not in the mood?" That's why it's called a blow job, girls.

Even more disturbing than his argument is his sheer doggedness in pursuing it. I can understand begging, pleading, emotionally manipulating, and even dressing up nice, buying dinner, and pretending to be a nice guy to obtain sex, but writing two columns for Town Hall is where I draw the line.
Over the years I’ve gotten perverse pleasure from his ravings, the absurdity of which often increases with age as whatever bat was banging around his belfry when he wrote them passes out of living memory (e.g., “If the most left-wing major city in America starts arresting Jews who have their children circumcised there, some American Jews might awaken to the threat to Jews posed by the Left”). I assumed the conservative establishment would have found Prager too bizarre and unstable to entrust with big jobs like the destruction of public education, yet here we are. Well, we saw what chaos The Best and the Brightest wrought on public policy – I guess it's time to find out what The Worst and The Stupidest can accomplish.