Monday, June 05, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...on, in roundup fashion, Kathy Griffin, the Paris Accord pullout, and the London Bridge attacks. Among the director's-cut bonuses: alt-right dummy Jack Posobiec explaining why terrorists don't bomb Fritters, Alabama:


Yeah, suicide bombers don't go to car races because they're afraid they might get hurt. At this point it's a given that rightwing residents of America's hollers, junctions, falls, bluffs, and whatnot are terrorized by the exceedingly unlikely prospect that jihadis will come to the Father-Daughter Dance and blow them up, while those of who live in actual terror target towns keep calm and carry on. But it's still ridic.

By the way, I hear Wonder Woman broke $100 million at the box office last weekend, despite men being kept out of a few screenings. I notice Stephen Miller, the wingnut who said he was going to force himself on an Alamo Drafthouse all-female showing, hasn't declared victory, but who knows -- maybe he watched through a hole in the wall, like in Porky's.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

THE WIND AND THE LIARS.

Trump heaved America out of the Paris accords, and propagandists are hard at work manufacturing reasons why this isn't plain stupid and belligerent. At National Review Charles Two Initials Cooke argues, like a lot of his fellow conservatives, that it's good because blar har u stupid liberals; but, since he is an British-accented American conservative, he must preserve his snob appeal to remain marketable, so Cooke is never so crude -- he goes ahem like one of them English butlers and quietly suggests maybe this climate business isn't quite a "hoax" but, sadly, liberals make it impossible to solve with "the hysteria that grips this topic":
For far too many environmentalists, disagreement with their coveted remedies – or even their nonbinding accords! — is akin to “denial” of the ailment per se. Thus to oppose, say, a carbon tax is to be accused of “hating science”; to dislike the Paris Accord is to be “pro-coal”; and to propose that we are just as likely to lower emissions sustainably by replacing traditional methods of energy procurement with fracking or nuclear power as to give carte blanche to Tom Steyer is to be a wannabe killer of Indonesian kids...
We conservatives are rather fond of the environment ourselves; though we oppose all legislation associated with it, we demonstrate our affection by sending our children to Africa to kill large animals. Yet you have the audacity, sir, to call us child-murderers -- the citation is around here somewhere, never mind, you know what you did -- so we are obliged to support The Leader's gibberish.
Today we are being told simultaneously that the Paris Accord wasn’t worth leaving because it was non-binding — that, in the words of MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, it does “LITERALLY NOTHING” — and that leaving it is a major blow to the survival of our species. When these are the choices, it’s unsurprising that people who have more nuanced views choose instead to go to the pub.
Hayes didn't say it does nothing -- he said it imposes nothing, which is not the same as no agreement, any more than a mission statement means to hell with it, let's all go home. Cooke is disingenuous, but you have to admit he's not hysterical. (Oh, the pub, ha ha! Did I tell you he's British?)

One other thing:
That this [liberal strawman] is a farcical way of looking at the question becomes obvious if we transpose the setting of the debate. Imagine, by way of example, if anyone who agreed that ISIS was a threat was informed that they had therefore to acquiesce to an invasion of Syria. Would they not laugh? And imagine if that person, having expressed opposition to the idea of an invasion, was then told that they “didn’t care” about ISIS. How, I wonder, would we expect them to react?
Those of us who were called traitors for opposing the ridiculous Iraq invasion will find this rather rich, but we don't have to go back even that far: Here's that old neocon Fred Kagan just last March,  insisting that "The U.S. must therefore shift the focus of its efforts to southeastern Syria... we must send troops to fight alongside the tribes, first against ISIS, then ultimately against Al Qaeda, Assad, and the Iranians." Think the guys at National Review or at any other rightwing coven laugh at that? Indeed, if they could get up a party in Congress for a Syrian/Iran invasion, they'd be enlarging their flag pins and calling us all traitors for opposing them once again.

But that wouldn't be hysteria -- only liberals do that. It'd be patriotism. Similarly, the current brutish reaction by Trump to something about which he probably only knows 1.) sissy tree-huggers like it, 2.) the Republicans whose consent he needs to grift don't mind if he kills it, and 3.) most importantly, it was done by Obama and therefore must be destroyed -- that isn't hysteria, either. It's -- what is it, David French? Ah, here: "Trump Defends the Constitution and the Economy." Trump surely doesn't know what's in the Constitution, and would probably cite the No Fat Chicks Clause if asked what part applies here, but if he does anything opposed by liberals, even that Old NeverTrump Gang will put up a statue of him clutching a copy of The Federalist Papers. In the age of Trump, heedless, belligerent opposition is their only remaining standard for virtuous conduct.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

UP TO A POINT, LORD FARTER.

I've been laughing at the collapse of conservative NeverTrumpism for a while now, and it never gets any less funny. Check out Jonah Goldberg trying to reason with Dennis Prager -- I know! Funny already, right? -- because Prager accused NeverTrumpers of purity policing. Talk about the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible! Prager barks at the wets that "Trump, with all his flaws, is our general. If this general is going to win, he needs the best fighters"; Goldberg clears his throat and pipes up, finger aloft, "Donald Trump is literally no one’s general, because the president isn’t a general." Aaaagh! It's like Pee-Wee and Francis. And we haven't even got to Goldberg's objection to "another problematic turn of phrase" by Prager (and try to imagine any of Prager's yak qualifying as a 'turn of phrase' rather than as, say, a spume of stupid) -- that is, that NTs have a "utopian streak," to which Goldberg rejoins, basically, nuh-uh (and of course farrrrrt).

Vanitas, vanitas: This is just the rightwing version of virtue-signaling. As I've shown in the past, Goldberg is only NeverTrump up to a point -- the point where it becomes obvious that Trump is doing everything conservatives want and the only worry for such as Goldberg is that he isn't making it look nice and patty-cake, like something he can be House Intellectual of. When Goldberg gets too close to that point, he farts and stammers out gibberish like "What worries me about the nascent Trump administration is that he is making it difficult to defend Trump on the merits." Similarly he has to treat Prager like a misguided comrade ("If Dennis had used the phrase 'culture war' or some such, I think he’d be entirely right") in order to maintain the fiction that they are still united in a "movement" rather than competing for whatever rich donors and brutish Snopeses they can bamboozle into entering their pigeon coop.

Another up-to-a-point man is Jay Caruso, who sometimes says mean things about Trump but still has to make excuses. Today Trump continued paying off his Moscow enablers by starting to return two spy compounds Obama had seized from them. Everyone sees and everyone knows, but here's Caruso:
Trump Administration May Return Seized Russian Compounds Proving Nobody Over There Understands Optics

Almost anybody with a cursory familiarity with politics understands the value of optics. When something looks bad, people are going to think it’s bad.
If only the Trump people knew how this would look! Cut to Sergei Lavrov sneering at reporters about the firing of James Comey, then going backstage to laugh his ass off with Trump and Kislyak. Champ, these people don't care how it looks. If anything, they want people to see how little they care how it looks, so they'll get discouraged and stop caring themselves.

Their little tut-tuts ain't doing shit. But then, they don't want them to.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the conservative male rage over female-only Wonder Women shows.  It's a small thing but very typical of the new conservatism which, as I mention in the column, appears to eschew normal conservative politics (which Trump has rendered embarrassing) in favor of culture-war bullshit.

Monday, May 29, 2017

HELP WITH A TROLL, PLEASE.

After a blessed interval, we've been getting more offensive (and quickly removed) comments from a particularly persistent, foul-mouthed and stupid troll who for years has had it in for someone named "Frank" or "Francis," presumably a reader of this blog. I'm preparing to have this piece of shit taken care of once and for all, and need some background data. Please leave in comments or email/PM me. Thanks.

Friday, May 26, 2017

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Hadn't listened to this for decades before yesterday. It's even better than I remembered.
The Stiffs Live version is kinda better, right?
But the 2002 retake may be my favorite. Which do you prefer?

• I worried a bit when Barry Levinson's The Wizard of Lies introduced the TV-movie version of a victim-impact statement, a montage of sad stories from Bernie Madoff's victims -- it seemed at first too much like the sort of thing makers of cheap docudramas stick in to show that they're not glamorizing their wicked subject. After a while, though, I realized that I needed it -- not because the film was having too much fun with Bernie, but because Robert De Niro is so mesmerizing that the human cost of Madoff's fraud is easy to overlook. And that's sort of the point. De Niro's Madoff is outwardly a schlub and a cipher -- a guy who offers his marks "great opportunities" with the same sharklike sangfroid when he's winning as when he's trying to avoid prison; when he loses his temper, he doesn't burst into rage so much as wander into it. (One of the targets of his rages: The "rich bastards" he does business with when they won't give him more money.) You keep watching him, because the outlandish things he's done and is doing make him impossible to ignore. But in the end there's nothing there but the wreckage he's left -- he really was a schlub all along. Near the end, after not only ruining the lives of hundreds of outsiders but also those of his wife and children, Madoff looks back on his high school lifeguard gig and reminisces, "Best job I ever had; I never had to save anybody." There's a constellation of meaning in that line. Credit also the Sam Levinson-John Burnham Schwartz-Samuel Baum script, and the director, who knows when to just let his stunning cast of actors work and also, as he especially shows in one particularly tragic scene, when to do some work himself.

Assailant Greg Gianforte's win in the Montana Congressional race is just another Trump-era joke; nothing about it is as rich as Gianforte's outrageous lie that Mark Jacobs attacked him, less than a day before he apologized for attacking Jacobs. Well, nothing except the emissions of rightbloggers. I'll keep my powder dry, but offer this closing section from a column by William "Those Who Can't Do" Teach as a good example:
In other words, a lot of people really didn’t care. A lot of people have little to no respect for the news media. And for all those Democrats freaking out about Gianforte, there’s something to consider:

[Republishes his own tweet: "For Democrats complaining about election of Greg Gianforte, 4 words: William 'Cold Cash' Jefferson"]

Let’s not forget they had no problem supporting Hillary Clinton, who was being investigated by the FBI.
As I've said more than once, when you're this invested in defying logic, your columns inevitably turn into Mad Libs.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

ALSO IF YOU HAVE GROUP SEX IT'S JUST LIKE GILEAD SO WHO'S THE FASCIST NOW LIB.

When I found "The Surprising Pro-Life Message In Hulu’s Adaptation Of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,'"
I thought I'd found the craziest possible Federalist column on the subject -- but it's a crowded field, apparently, and Collin Garbarino, "an associate professor of history and the director of graduate programs in humanities at Houston Baptist University," may have surpassed it. His essay starts slowly, as these things go --
How ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ May Be Too Close To Reality In California
What if it already has happened here, and we didn’t notice because we focused on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’s’ religious hang-ups rather than its comments on the intersection of politics and sexuality?
-- but then you read down and find --
...But what if it already has happened here, and we just didn’t notice because we were too focused on the book’s religious hang-ups rather than what it says about the intersection of politics and sexuality? In reflecting on the themes of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” I began to feel that some of the practices of the Republic of Gilead bear a striking resemblance to California’s laws regarding gestational surrogacy.
[Blink. Blink.]
...Making a child ought to require a very personal interaction between a man and a woman, which is why we’re horrified when we read about sex in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” In the novel, three people are involved. The husband has sex with the handmaid while she’s forced to lie between the wife’s legs. Moreover, the wife holds the handmaid’s hands so the handmaid can’t touch the husband. 
This is depersonalized procreation and sex, and it disturbs us when it’s in literature, but when it happens in California, we don’t mind as much. Three people are needed to make a baby—a sperm donor, an anonymous egg donor, and a surrogate—and none of these people need to touch each other, much less have a loving relationship.
Remember when intellectuals comparing intercourse with rape was considered a sign of leftist lunacy? Boy, those were the days.

As usual, the very concept of consent eludes them. I only wonder whether this Blood and Soil cult is online-only, or if Sean Davis has quonset huts full of breeders out in the desert somewhere, squeezing out weiße Kinder for the New Order.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

THE SOUTH'S GONNA DO IT AGAIN (LOSE).

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a very fine speech about the city's decision to remove Confederate monuments from public places, and I commend it to you. Excerpt:
The historic record is clear: the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.

First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy.

It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.

These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city.
But we are not usually concerned with good writing here, so let's turn to its opposite, the Mayor's coverage by one John Binder at Breitbart. Here's his lede:
The monument to General Robert E. Lee was removed from its pedestal in Lee Circle at the heart of the city of New Orleans. Mayor Mitch Landrieu used the event to claim victory for political correctness.
Some people say they're amazed by the Trump-era paradox of onetime McCarthyites ferociously defending Russia, but their propaganda has been Soviet in nature for quite some time.

Binder also works a waste-of-taxpayer-money angle ("as New Orleans Police Department [NOPD] and New Orleans Fire Department [NOFD] officials were present at each of the removal processes"), and tries to give his Lost Cause a touch of Confederate class by claiming "historians" had been "asking [Landrieu] to add context to the monuments, rather than removing them altogether." Binder gives no supporting link for this claim, so maybe he's talking about "historians" in the same sense that this 2015 PJ Media story talks about "historic preservationists" -- that is, people who offer no credentials but who consider Robert E. Lee "history" they wish to "preserve," i.e. treason in defense of slavery.

Binder climaxes, perhaps literally, by disputing Landrieu's claim that that the statues have "run people out of the city":
Historians have refuted this claim in 2015, when Landrieu first demanded the monuments come down. They argued that the city serves tourists and locals as a public history museum, unlike any other city in the U.S.
Because that's why people come to the Big Easy -- to meditate on the Confederacy. What after all is there about statues of prominent Confederates that would drive people away -- well, white people, anyway?

Man. After 150 years, they're still sore losers.

Monday, May 22, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about further damage control on Comey and the Saudi adventure. I wanted to show how gutlessly the brethren tergiversated on Trump once things started to look bad for him, since I'm sure as soon as there's a break in the clouds they'll be all AMERICA IS BACK and so forth. But I could have spent the whole thing on the hilarious Saudi visit. And if you thought Toby Keith playing a sharia-compliant show for the occasion was funny, get this perspective from The Washington Feed:
Saudi Arabia rolled out a massive red carpet for President Trump’s visit. As they should...
Because they don’t hate him, in fact, the total opposite. They had been begging Obama to start making smart moves in that region to help contain ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorists. 
To show their appreciation for Trump’s bold decision, and to show America and especially the American media how much they respect Trump they had a huge surprise waiting for him when he got off the plane. 
One of his favorite performers – Toby Keith. The man who courageously played Trump’s inauguration despite all the liberal attempts to destroy his career.
I like to imagine Keith getting a call: "Hey Tobe! It's me, Faisal. How'd you like to pick up a quarter mil easy money? All you have to is change some lyrics -- you know, 'Pellegrino for My Horses, Mango Nectar for My Men.'" Or maybe it's not that kind of relationship, and Keith came wrapped in a rug?

Friday, May 19, 2017

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Damn thing's been in my head for days. Here, you have it.

•  I know New Yorker profiles are not endorsements, quite, but I could barely get through the one about Tony Blair. I mean get a load:
Over the weekend, focus groups carried out by HuffPost U.K. brought back news of a “Tony Blair-shaped hole” in the political landscape.
It's called a cloaca.
One of Blair’s defining qualities as a British politician was his indeterminacy: of place, of background, of ideology. And his voice was the ultimate classless artifact... 
Sincerity was Blair’s genius, and we have not forgiven him for it.
Arrgh. It's much easier for me to believe the Brits wanted Brexit than it is to believe they want their Blair-holes re-engorged  -- though I do understand why the trimmers and feebs whom Corbyn annoys want him, and certainly why the moneyed interests who give him millions of Euros worth of their run-off want him as well. And apparently he still believes himself the Savior of Baghdad. If he had a scrap of conscience he'd have long ago fucked off to the woods like the Mayor of Casterbridge. As it is the only interview question anyone should be asking him is "Have you any last requests?"

•  I got in touch with an old high school friend recently and found out he's a digital archivist -- ha, like who isn't these days, right? -- and that he also reviews books, mostly but not exclusively history. You can see his stuff at this site. He's much more a descriptive than prescriptive critic, and pretty meticulous, so if you want to know what's in books like David O. Stewart's Impeached, Robert Strauss' Worst. President. Ever., Holger Hoock's Scars of Independence, et alia, and a bit about what a very astute reader thinks of them, you should take a look.

•  Among the latest clot of help-me-help-you Trump crap from aggrieved wingnuts is Ben Shapiro's. I draw your attention to one particular passage:
Yes, dealing with Congress is like trying to herd cats. But you can’t herd cats if you’re too busy shooting yourself in the foot. Yes, dealing with media is like attempting to feed a pack of hyenas. But you can’t deal with them if you’re too busy providing them red meat to dissect.
[gasface] This calls to mind Twain's jest that an aspiring writer should write until offered pay, and if no one offers after three years, "sawing wood is what he was intended for." We should remember, though, that wingnut welfare did not exist in Twain's time, and that Shapiro makes a handsome living disgorging literary stillbirths such as this. I can see taking the money, but it still surprises me that he signs his name to it. I guess they really are shameless.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY.

Some people think the sudden hiring of Robert Mueller as special counsel means light at the end of the Trump, but let's not get carried away. The enthusiasm, however muted, of Jason Chaffetz is an ominous sign. So is the -- what's the word they like to use? -- virtue signaling of prominent rightwing fatheads. This Bret Stephens column some people think highly of is a classic case. It's full of howlers, e.g.:
“If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America,” Lyndon Johnson is reputed to have said (perhaps it’s apocryphal) after the CBS anchorman said in 1968 that the Vietnam War was unwinnable. 
Just so for Trump: If he’s lost Coulter, he’s lost angry America. That’s not his entire base, but — let’s face it — it’s a critical fraction of it.
Look -- first of all, Ann Coulter is, let us say, highly changeable; secondly, most Trump voters don't know who Ann Coulter is -- the people who take her seriously are the same rageaholics who lost the 2008 and 2012 elections and who this year supplemented, and did not spearhead, a voter mass who mostly spend Sunday mornings either in church, at work, or hungover, not watching Meet The Press. The idea that she means big tidings in today's not-monoculture is as ridiculous as -- well, as the idea that Stephens does. Oh, here's another good one:
John Podhoretz in the New York Post and later The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page each compared Trump to Jimmy Carter — the most damning of all conservative indictments.
These guys remind me of the crazy military dad trying to kiss Kevin Spacey in American Beauty. They have no idea.

It is at least as likely that the villains are convinced the big boys are safe from (and their secrets inviolable by) Mueller as it is that the jig is up. Maybe it's because I just read Laton McCartney's Teapot Dome book, but at present I expect nothing better than a couple of murders, a few minor players to do mild prison time, and for the boss to have a "heart attack" in office.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

YOU THINK YOU CAN KILL ME EASY?

(reference)

Don't get your hopes up. As I keep saying, he gives them the policies they want, and they let him grift; that's the arrangement. Why would they blow the deal now?

I know, Pence; but the American people -- or at least a near-plurality of them -- didn't vote for Barebones Feargod; most of them find small-smiling Mother-wived Bible creeps like him as repulsive as you do; if they didn't, they'd have nominated Ted Cruz. No, they voted for something juicier, the Smart Bidnessman from The TV Whut Hates P'lit'cal Keereckniss an' Sticks It To Messicans. The idea was that he'd be the fun WWF heel -- you know, just like David French's American Hero was back in his wrestling days -- and after four years of hammerlocks and heart punches all the white people would have good jobs again, hurrah!

The days have been rough, but here's a clue for poll-watchers: They haven't given up that dream. Even the Holy-Shit poll numbers that are coming out are more about policy [AHCA boo!] and Republicans [Congress boo!] than about Trump. Sure, a plurality of respondents want him impeached -- but what's impeachment to these guys? Just another fun TV infotainment that'll come out all right in the end.

And they know just as well as we intellecktuals do that the Republican Congress will never send Trump away. Jason Chaffetz is talking big, but everyone's seen him in action and knows he's a little bitch who remained lashed to his great white Hillary whale long after everyone else abandoned ship because pretending to be a tough guy is all he knows how to do. They could give Chaffetz a piece of foolscap marked in Sharpie, "I did it, pleaze impeach me, signed Donald J. Trump," and he'd spend his hour in the spotlight bitching that liberals weren't showing him enough respect.

Maybe if Trump were caught murdering his wife -- never a distant possibility -- or endorsing single payer for real, they'll turn on him. But not for less. So don't get your hopes up.

Do, however, enjoy the teeth-gnashing, flim-flamming, and fist-shaking wingnut outrage! Bless her, here's counselor Ann Althouse taking it to the jury:
The asking is at most only implicit in what is a declarative statement: "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go." That's just Trump revealing what he hopes for. There's no question at all, let alone any pressure or threat.
"Nice store ya got here, be a shame if anything happened to it" was a sincere expression of best wishes! Speaking of blasts from the past, here's Ole Perfesser Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit (h/t reader Jonathan Miller) fixin' ta in-see-reckt:
Well, I’m still not sure exactly what’s going on — see Stephen’s post below for more — but what is clear is that they hope that if they gin up enough controversy, baseless or not, maybe it’ll give cover to an impeachment or 25 Amendment removal, or something. I don’t think it will happen and if it does — barring something a lot bigger and more uncontrovertible than anything they’ve come up with so far — you will have literal riots in the streets if Trump’s removed, far beyond anything you’ve seen from Democrat constituency groups like Black Lives Matter. Trump supporters have had it with the establishment, and are unlikely to go along quietly with a system they regard as deeply corrupt and devoted to their destruction.
Mount your Hoverounds, boys! The Ole Perfesser's call to arms may inspire a few nutcakes, but these dopes have gotten most of what they wanted these past 30 years without getting off the damn couch, let alone mustering the militia, and I don't see too many of them taking to their survivalist treehouses in defense of Il Douche when they can always change the channel instead. But sound that tocsin, Perfesser, there's still some juice left in that grift!

Monday, May 15, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE POST UP...

...about The Leader firing Comey and the resulting rightblogger hemming and hawing. I have to say, I prefer rightbloggers just straight-up defending the indefensible to (as here) rightbloggers trying to split the difference and act both slightly outraged and let's-not-lose-our-heads fake-reasonable.

Friday, May 12, 2017

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Ladies and gentlemen, Wayne Kramer tripping balls.

•  The people who keep asking when Republicans are going to get patriotic and act against Trump are missing the point. As I say repeatedly, the deal is that he signs their bills and they let him grift. It would be fair to point out, however, that Republicans have yet to present him with a bill, and also that Trump tends to cheat people he makes deals with. But Trump has cleverly made some good faith down payments to keep them on the line: first, by issuing the sort of monstrous executive orders and decisions that Republicans think about when they masturbate -- the latest being the Block That Ballot Box commission, which I half expect to recommend both literacy and paper bag tests -- and, perhaps as importantly, by hiring prominent GOP ghouls for important jobs. What else explains Sarah Huckabee Sanders as DepPressSec? She has no discernible skills and, given Trump's vicious sexism, it would seem amazing he chose to be represented by a woman who doesn't look like a Fox female news anchor. But she represents an important interest group -- namely the Huckabee crime family and the many hayseeds who think they represent Christ on Earth. Besides, Sanders proved her value to The Leader by humiliating herself with that FBI bullshit. So this hiring is like the advantageous marriages among royal houses in old Europe; it's another way to buy peace. Trump could break into the National Archives, steal the Constitution and wipe his ass with it, and powerful conservatives would just pronounce it "troubling" and go back to dreaming about investigating That Bitch Hillary and doing it right this time.

• It's one of the most reliable principles going that intellectuals should just lay off pop culture. It's always embarrassing when they try to talk about it; even Gabriel Garcia Marquez rhapsodizing Shakira is just ick. And that goes double for bowtie wingnut dweebs going on about how awful they find this dross that mesmerizes the masses who should be forced by the Culture Police to read Tom Wolfe thousand-pagers about political correctness till they start wearing hats to work again and not ironically, dammit! Most of Joseph Epstein's review at The Weekly Standard of a book about the concept of "cool" is strictly Shut Up Gramps, but it hits a low point here:
No rapper I know of qualifies as cool, including the fellow who calls himself LL Cool J.
Picture Joseph Epstein sifting through the Hot 100, sniffing "MEE-goes? Chicken with blue cheese? Hmmph, I find nothing cool in this." Shoot me if I get like that.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

BABY BONKERS.

I've said more than once that The Federalist is a blood-and-soil cult. They're not just ferociously anti-abortion, they're also obsessed with procreation -- actually, given their honky constituency, it may be more accurate to say they're obsessed with replenishing the race. I've written in passing about some of their breeder-centric atrocities ("Is Ivanka Making Motherhood Great Again?"), but thumb through their archives and you'll find a creepy preponderance of stories like "Why You Should Definitely Have A Baby This New Year," "No Matter What U.S. Birth Rates Suggest, I’m Enjoying My Third Baby So Much," "Can Surprise Events Like Sports Upsets Cause Desperately Needed Baby Booms?" and (my personal favorite) "If George Stephanopoulos’s Daughter Wants An Abortion, Can I Have Her Baby?"

Though not your mother, they're all about that parturition hard-sell. We want a quiverfull by what would have been your graduation if we were godless enough to send you to school, young lady!

They had a couple of hot ones this week. Get a load of "Having Pets Instead Of Kids Should Be Considered A Psychiatric Disorder." You might start out sympathetic with author G. Shane Morris ("a senior writer at BreakPoint, a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview"), because "parents" of "fur babies" can be a bit tiresome sometimes, but as you read on in horror you'll see that for him "psychiatric disorder" is not a joke but an actual charge -- he really think you're nuts not to have a baby at 21, and spends the article hectoring millennials "who have chosen to indefinitely postpone having children" and are nice to dogs and cats, because our Küche and Kirche demand Kinder right now and those pet-loving slackers are betraying their purpose!

Morris also has a pretty weird attitude toward housepets:
We have instincts to raise children. Well, guess what? Dogs have instincts, too. “…the bloodlust, the joy to kill,” writes Jack London in “Call of the Wild.” “—all this was Buck’s…He was raging at the head of the pack, running the wild thing down, the living meat, to kill with his own teeth and wash his muzzle to the eyes in warm blood.” 
Does this bother you? Do you find this distasteful? Then you shouldn’t own a dog, because it is at the core of what they are.
Embrace that when Jesus calls down the End Times as was written in the Good Book, your spaniel will tear and eat the still-warm flesh of your corpse! That's "man's best friend," you sentimental heathen!

I get the feeling Morris is the kind of Christian who occasionally kicks dogs to remind himself of his own exalted place in the Natural Order.

Sick and weird as Morris is, though, this week's grand prize winner is one Quiana Fulton, author of "The Surprising Pro-Life Message In Hulu’s Adaptation Of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’"

No, I'm not kidding:
That said, the undercurrent is clear: a child is a blessing, not a curse. Now, I realize pro-life philosophy isn’t the intent of the story, but it nevertheless personifies that theme, albeit quietly. The Wives of the Commanders, who are infertile, long to become mothers. For obvious reasons, I don’t support stripping a birth mother of her child after giving birth. However, I cannot deny these women’s desire to become parents and not just because of the rules of the regime but because of a love for God and creation. The way they dote on newborns is proof they have hearts.
There've been a lot of jokes about how for conservatives Atwood's Gilead is actually utopia, but for writers at The Federalist I don't think it's a joke.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

COULDN'T SAY SHIT IF HE HAD A MOUTHFUL.

Sonuvagun -- Jonah Goldberg, whom we just saw groveling for Trump over Comey, has dumbled down:
Courts, Colbert Enabling Trump’s Violations of Democratic Norms
You're not hallucinating -- he means Stephen Colbert.
A great deal has been said about Donald Trump’s violations of “democratic norms.” I agree with much of it.

But the big problem with violating democratic norms — the unwritten customs and practices even political opponents traditionally abide by — is that once you’ve done it, everybody else wants to do it, too. This makes everything worse, because when the people most offended by Trump’s violations respond in kind, they not only contribute to the problem, they create incentives for Trump and his biggest supporters to keep doing it.
"You started it!" isn't working anymore, so the new thing is "Trump started it, but you should know better!" And by "it" Goldberg doesn't mean actual outrages like the grotesque misuse of office Trump has made SOP; he means rudeness. So Trump may be the new Nixon minus the brains, but Stephen Colbert made a swear on the TV:
Suffice it to say that if you want to condemn a president for his incivility, you squander some credibility when you describe the president of the United States in a lewd act with a foreign dictator.
Adding to the fartfulness of declaring a comedian's moral responsibility to outclass the Leader of the Free World is Goldberg trying to belittle Colbert by snorting, "TV is a niche business these days, even at the broadcast networks," as if the exalted shitposts now filling the flagship of National #NeverTrump-#NeverMind were some kind of lofty height from which to look down.

This pearl-clutching is emerging as a popular favorite among wingnuts -- see Noah Rothman's dudgeon over "Shock-Jock Democrats," and the multiple tsks chronicled at the end of my recent Village Voice column. The general idea seems to be that Trump's coarseness is the only problem with him -- they have no problem with his politics, which (I keep saying, because some people don't seem to have gotten it yet) he has adopted and enables only so the Republicans will let him keep up his grift -- so if a liberal is coarse, it's equally bad. The only honorable position, in this view, is to endorse a police state, the further immiseration of the poor, and persecution of minorities -- but daintily.

Oh yeah, there's some gibberish in Goldberg's column about how "judges have taken to acting like pundits" because their decisions on Trump's flagrantly unconstitutional Muslim ban point out that it's flagrantly unconstitutional, but if I pack all of his stupidity into one column my servers might go up in a giant fartcloud.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A FART TO THE FINISH.

Here is Jonah Goldberg, onetime #NeverTrump leader ("Sorry, I Still Won’t Ever Vote for Trump") and author of "Conservative Purists Are Capitulating with Support of Trump," on the Comey firing:
Finally, this might have been the right thing to do on the merits. President Trump may even be doing this for all the right — and stated — reasons. But this, too, points to the mess Hillary Clinton created for herself and the country. If Comey needed to be fired — a defensible position — that’s downstream of the hot mess Hillary Clinton dropped on all of us.
The man who Goldberg once pretended to find morally indefensible has just fired a high public official who was investigating him, and Goldberg's reaction is to retreat to his Clinton-hating happy place.

I never liked Goldwater but he at least found the balls in the 11th hour to tell Nixon to get lost. Conservatives are just shit anymore.

FROM A WHISPER TO A SCHEME.

Everyone's pissed at the shitty Obamacare replacement Trump's minions rammed through the House, and the damage control isn't looking good. This looks like a job for the White Working Class Whisperer!

At the Washington Examiner, WWCW Salena Zito starts out by telling us that Hillary Clinton deserved to lose in 2016. Proof point: instead of going there herself, Hillary sent her stupid Hollyweird friends Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson to Rosedale, Michigan, where they "scolded voters about climate change." She seems to be talking about this event, which the Detroit News says the celebs attended to "thank Clinton volunteers and staff members for their campaign work and give them a pep talk" -- not to go down to Ye Olde Mill-Worker Tavern, look around snootily, remove their white gloves and wag their manicured fingers at the Salt of The Earth WWC hunched over their frosty mugs. I bet the Clinton crew didn't mind hearing about global warming.

But never mind; Zito's got hot quotes from a WWC source -- a "petite blonde" named Dawn Wilson whom we meet at "a strip mall with a Walmart, a Dollar Tree, a jewelry pawn shop..." Plus which she just lost her job of 17 years! Can you even get any more WWC! And boy has Dawn Wilson got something to say about Hillary and her Hollyweird friends:
Your message and your optics are everything when you are trying to persuade people to buy something from you or vote for you. Does this look like somewhere that needs to be schooled on climate change? she asks.
No quote marks in the original, BTW. Is it a paraphrase? If someone asks, maybe!

Zito also harshes on Clinton because "she conceded to mistakes during the campaign... and then blamed it all on FBI Director James Comey." This she offers as a contrast to Trump, who always takes responsibility for his mistakes... ha ha, kidding! Zito's idea of a relevant contrast is this:
Last week two politicians made news for the ways they communicated to Americans: Clinton's words were crafted, deliberate and dishonest; President Trump's words were a string of thoughts bouncing everywhere — with no craft, no massaging and they contained great gaps of context.

The press reacted wistfully to the former; to the latter, it went into full meltdown. Again...

Now, that doesn't mean Trump is always accurate in what he says, but he says (or tweets) what he truly thinks at that moment.

We in the press are just not accustomed to this type of honesty.
To recap, Hillary's great sin, beyond dishonest self-assessment, was that she was coherent, a sure sign of duplicity, while Trump talks like a developmentally-disabled princeling who blurts whatever richochets into his frontal lobe.

But at least he's honest, right? Actually, not; as James Poniewozik notes, Trump has a habit of saying what he thinks his audience wants to hear, which sometimes requires a quick switcheroo, like he's had to do on jailing women for abortions and funding for historically black colleges and universities.

Anyway, who needs Trump to be coherent, or Wilson to have quote marks, when Zito has "Bruce Haynes, founding partner of the bipartisan Purple Strategies consulting firm," to fill several grafs on the record, telling us why Trump rules and Hillary drools. Haynes is a longtime Republican functionary working for a typical D.C. hired-gun nightmare; like Zito he mystically communes with the WWC and divines that they hate the media weenies who insist on characterizing Trump's emissions on the basis of elite standards of truthfulness and dignity, when what they should be reporting is what the WWC wants to hear:
"Meanwhile, most voters just roll their eyes and wonder why they are not hearing about whether their sons will be in military conflict because of North Korea, or whether tax reform will give them a shot at a better job, or what's in the health-care bill on preexisting conditions because their cousin has cancer."
Nearly everything Trumps says on these subjects is either gibberish or obvious bullshit, and it's made freely available by the press at all times; but Haynes finds it unsatisfactory, and it can't be Trump's fault because he polls better than the media so it's theirs.

I don't think even this expert whispering is going to do it for the White Working Class -- who, by the way, are observably well-represented at the town halls where Republicans are getting their new assholes torn. Maybe whispering time is over.

Monday, May 08, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the American Health Care Act, and the rightbloggers obliged to apply lipstick to its piglike visage.

Many outtakes on this one, mostly removed because I was spending a lot of time explaining the jokes -- that's the Democrats' job! For example, Guy Benson’s TownHall AHCA defense largely relies on the fact that only a “tiny sliver” of beneficiaries signed on to the PCIP, the risk pool used to provide treatment to the usually-uninsurable between the passage of the Affordable Care Act and its full enactment. Benson takes this to mean that there are very few people who ever need that kind of coverage, but my guess is people didn’t sign up for the PCIP because it was notoriously flimsy and insufficientlike most high-risk pools, in fact, which (son of a gun!) is how Republicans propose to take care of the sickest citizens under the AHCA.

It was also rich that Benson, trying to make some kind of point about Democratic fear-mongering, threatened to use a recent study on Medicaid to tendentiously “claim that Obamacare is killing tens of thousands of people” before grandly declining to do so, claiming Republicans don’t go in for such “repugnant hackery.”  I wonder if even sympathetic readers assumed this was because Republicans were scrupulously honest, rather than because no sane person would believe them.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

POPULISM WITHOUT THE POPULAR VOTE.

First Ross Douthat says, don't worry about Marine Le Pen in France, unlike Trump she's a competent administrator. And she's kinda like DeGaulle -- he disowned the Vichy traitors, she denies Vichy rounded up Jews; same diff! (But then, muses Douthat, "perhaps de Gaulle’s style of nationalism" -- like the National Front's Nazi apologism -- "is too chauvinist and mystical" for you modern sissies. Political correctness run amok!) Also Le Pen is running against "Emmanuel Macron, the John Lindsay of the Eurocrats" -- haw haw Lindsay, only black people liked him!

Inevitably Douthat flashes the now-traditional convincer: "These are the same sort of issues that helped Trump win the presidency..." Your argument is invalid, libs, because Trump won the second-highest number of votes in 2016.

But Douthat has a cherry gig, and it's a little early in the cycle to go full Nazi; so, he recites dutifully, "the Front’s Vichy taint is a good reason to prefer a world where a Le Pen never occupies the Élysée Palace" -- before coughing into his fist: "At the same time, individual personalities and their policies also matter — and there the case for #NeverLePen seems weaker in important ways than the case for #NeverTrump."

Then at The Week Noah Millman asks, "But why shouldn't the French elect Marine Le Pen? And why shouldn't we in America be fine with it if they do?" Just because her party "has fascist roots and retains sympathies with Vichy" and "the party's agenda remains fundamentally racist and xenophobic" is no reason to oppose her, apparently, because "it is also beyond dispute that Marine Le Pen has moved the party considerably away from those roots" -- that is, they're no longer minimizing the Holocaust, they just hate Muslims, which is apparently no big deal for Millman.

Le Pen is expected to lose, but Millman has learned from Trump that it pays to talk like a winner; after all, way back in 2015, Millman made an "effort to articulate why Donald Trump was getting traction, and why he would continue to get traction if his opponents continued to focus on his unacceptability rather than engage with his fundamental argument." And his half-assed side-bet paid off! So Helter Skelter, she's coming down fast, get ready for the New Populism.

Like Douthat -- and like most of these mini-Moldbugs (though he lays it on especially thick) -- Millman does stick in little bullshit demurrers -- e.g. "In the end, I can't say that I actually hope for a Le Pen victory" -- but you can feel his boredom at even having to make such accommodations with polite society, whereas when he pitches Le Pen he perks up:
Finally, it is true that a Le Pen victory would likely be welcomed in Moscow and in Washington, and would be a terrible blow to those who see themselves as the liberal vanguard. But there are other threats to liberal democracy than populist nationalism, and the technocratic order that Macron runs to vindicate may well be one of them.
And the other is Muslims!
Brussels rules not so much with the consent of the governed as with the conviction that it alone is capable of properly balancing the continent’s manifold interests — which is precisely what ordinary democratic politics is supposed to be for. Is it so unthinkable to prioritize the latter threat over the threat of populism?
Le Pen is populist, which means she's the people's choice whether the people choose her or not, and the EU is technocratic, so if you oppose Le Pen you must be a soulless social engineer. (Who likes Muslims! You know, like all those wussy liberals with wussy desk jobs who like black people.)
I am not a populist-nationalist. I am far too liberal to be a nationalist and far too conservative to be a populist...
Yeah yeah buddy we get it: You're a nice guy.
But I do believe that populism plays an important part in the ecosystem of democracy. And if that banner is going to advance, I might just rather it be carried by someone who cares about our common liberal heritage than by someone hostile or indifferent to them.
Maybe Le Pen should say something about "our common liberal heritage" that doesn't sound like the Rivers of Blood speech for a change.

Rod Dreher, having a special dispensation from Jesus, doesn't even bother to say he wouldn't vote for Le Pen; "No way in hell I would vote for Macron," he says defiantly. "...If Macron [beats Le Pen], as is still expected, does anybody seriously believe that France’s decline will be arrested? That the massive immigration problem in France will be taken care of?" But Dreher's gutlessness inevitably comes out; he can't quite say he's for Le Pen, either; he admits only that feels about her the way he feels about Trump -- "while I could not support him in good conscience, I was most exercised over the vehemence with which so many people — including #NeverTrump conservatives — attacked him." He wants it in the pocket, but it has to be a bank shot -- you know: get it in without being obvious that you're going for it.

We're getting a lot of this sympathy-for-the-devil kind of thing from the more intellectual type of conservatives these days. In his essay about the loonier New Rightists -- those batshit-crazy, anti-social-as-well-as-anti-socialist creeps who are now infesting the White House -- Andrew Sullivan says he himself isn't quite a reactionary, but he used to be one in his salad days, over which he daydreams wistfully, "nostalgic for aspects of my own past" when he was pimping imperialism and The Bell Curve. So while folks like you, upon hearing some weirdo who's been asked "whether he believes race matters to a national identity" respond with "I’m not going to say something that could be used to destroy my livelihood and career,"  might shudder and think, what an asshole, Sullivan is not only sympathetic -- he also cedes such freaks the future: "they are much more in tune with the current global mood than today’s conservatives, liberals, and progressive."

And that's the really weird distinguishing trait of this new "populism": Though  Douthat, Millman, Dreher, Sullivan et alia talk about Le Pen and the reactionaries as if they've already won, they aren't really that popular.  Le Pen's family and party have been at it long enough to have institutional momentum, and they've caught a tailwind from international racist movements reinvigorated by the now-generational War on Terror, but she's no more a beloved consensus figure than Trump and lacks the advantage of an Electoral College; and Sullivan's spotty racist fungi are even less likely to steal your girl, literally or metaphorically.

Apparently Trump's not the only one who's so bent out of shape over failing to win the popular vote that he has to keep finding ways to portray himself as the People's Choice without actually being chosen by the people.