Tuesday, November 30, 2021

LET'S KEEP PRETENDING THAT THE INMATES AREN'T RUNNING THE ASYLUM

Eric Boehlert reports on Chris Christie's spectacular failure.
It’s hard to recall a former politician who was showered with more free media attention than Chris Christie this month as he peddled his new book, “Republican Rescue.” ... CNN even dedicated an entire primetime hour to him....

Consumers aren’t buying it.

A senior publishing source with access to the industry’s BookScan tabulations tells me that “Republican Rescue” sold just 2,289 copies during its first week in stores, which constitutes a colossal publishing flop....

In comparison to Christie’s 2,000 copies debacle, Jonathan Karl’s new book “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” sold 24,000 hardcover copies the same week as the Christie failure. How Christie was able to sell so few books after lining up so much national media attention during his marketing roll-out — “This Week” and “The View,” “Fox & Friends,” along with Fox News, Fox Business, the Daily Show, HBO twice, and CNBC — represents an extraordinary disconnect.

It confirms that the deeply unpopular former New Jersey governor remains, first and foremost, a media creation.
After that embarrassing misread of public sentiment, has the mainstream media gotten the point about the nature of the contemporary GOP? Nope. Today we get Peter Nicholas writing this for The Atlantic:
Pence 2024?

If Donald Trump officially enters the next presidential race, that doesn’t mean his former vice president will stay out of the contest.


... Pence is eyeing a presidential run of his own, even though his old boss hasn’t ruled out a 2024 campaign. Pence wouldn’t necessarily stay out of the race even if Trump jumps in.

“If you know the Pences, you know they’ll always try to discern where they’re being called to serve,” Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, told me.
To his credit, Nicholas is skeptical:
A 2024 Pence campaign looks futile no matter the scenario. If Trump runs, he’ll rally the same MAGA zealots who refuse to believe he lost the last election. And if Trump opts out, Pence isn’t his natural successor; he may have spoiled any hope of inheriting the Republican base when he defied Trump on January 6.
Nicholas thinks Pence is a longshor, but ... he believes Pence may have spoiled hopes of inheriting the party's base? Really? Ya think?

Nicholas tells us that "GOP operatives [are] asking a version of the same question: What in the world is Mike Pence thinking?" I'll tell you what Pence is thinking and why he's thinking it: He's thinking that his party is going to come to its senses and rally around a pre-MAGA style of candidate, probably because the mainstream media keeps saying that could really happen. The fawning over Christie is one example. So is punditry like this:
A cold-eyed political calculus suggests that 2024 would be Pence’s best and maybe last real shot. He’ll be 65 by the next inauguration, and fresher faces are emerging in Republican politics, notably Glenn Youngkin, the incoming Virginia governor who won a state that Biden had captured a year ago by 10 points. “Someone like Glenn Youngkin is the future,” Sarah Chamberlain, the president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group that promotes centrist policies, told me. “He would be a wonderful presidential candidate.”
Youngkin would be a credible GOP presidential candidate if his party's voters didn't demand supersized portions of red meat whenever it's available; they accepted the leaner cuisine of his run in Virginia because it's what party strategists thought was necessary for a win (and he still race-baited his way to victory). GOP voters won't accept Demagoguery Lite in the 2024 primaries -- not if Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump Jr., Ted Cruz, Mike Flynn, or Mike Lindell decides to run in the absence of Trump Sr.

Even as Nicholas casts doubt on Pence's chances, he makes clear that he really doesn't get it:
Whatever Trump’s future, for Pence to be competitive in a Republican presidential primary race, he’d need to assemble a coalition of fellow evangelical Christians, cultural conservatives, and a chunk of mainstream Republicans who appreciate that he upheld Biden’s victory.
"A chunk of mainstream Republicans who appreciate that [Pence] upheld Biden’s victory"? Dude, there are no such Republicans -- not in the electorate. There are professional Never Trump Republicans, but there are no non-professional Never Trump Republicans.

Nicholas quotes something Pence said recently on his podcast about the aftermath of 9/11:
“I will tell you, on that day and in the weeks and months that followed, there were no Republicans in Washington, D.C.,” Pence tells his listeners. “There were no Democrats in Washington, D.C. It was just Americans...."
But Republican voters simply don't believe Democrats can be Americans. If Pence is still talking this way, and he's really running, he's setting himself up for a worse ass-kicking than Jeb Bush got in 2016.

Monday, November 29, 2021

MIND-READING AT THE WASHINGTON POST

Here's a Washington Post headline:


How did reporters Annie Linskey and Fenit Nirappil determine that the public has little appetite for new pandemic restrictions? They spoke to the following people:
* "Ezekiel Emanuel, a physician and bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania who was on President Biden’s covid advisory team during the transition" (and who is Rahm Emanuel's brother)

* "Joe Kanter, Louisiana’s top public health official"

* "Robert Wachter, who chairs the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco"
They quoted President Biden, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients, British prime minister Boris Johnson, Trump-backed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Trump-backing congressman and former White House physician Ronny Jackson, and Democratic governors Ned Lamont of Connecticut and Phil Murphy of New Jersey.

In other words they determined that the public won't tolerate new COVID restrictions without talking to any members of the general public, or to anyone who's surveyed public opinion on the subject. So when they write, "But after nearly 21 months of covid-19 restrictions, there is little appetite in the country for the kinds of school closures, indoor-gathering bans and restaurant restrictions that defined the early days of the pandemic," it's "according to health officials, who say the political will to push for unpopular — but effective — mitigation measures is waning." Never mind the fact that the only people who actually say this are Dr. Emanuel, who left full-time government work a decade ago and is primarily a professor, and Dr. Wachter, who's also a professor.

No ordinary citizen is quoted. No pollster is quoted. We just have to take the word of "experts" that, as Dr. Emanuel says, “The American public is rightfully exhausted," and that, as Dr. Wachter says, “The threshold to shut things down is going to be much higher than it was."

It's obvious what's happening here: Republicans are vehemently opposed to any COVID mitigation measures and Democrats are afraid of Republicans, so we won't do what we need to do, and what other countries are already doing, to minimize the suffering caused by the omicron variant because we allow the GOP to have a veto over nearly every area of public policy, whether Republicans represent the majority or not. (On so many issues -- guns, abortion, taxation of the rich, climate change, and now COVID, they don't.) The press hears the loudest voices -- angry rural white Republicans with guns, along with the politicians who encourage their outrage -- and assumes they represent consensus opinion.

They don't. The public has been strongly supportive of mask mandates, vaccine requirements, and other mitigation strategies, but we defer to the right because the right is noisy and intimidating. And these Post writers don't even understand that that's what's happening.

'CAUSE YOU KNOW SOMETIMES WORDS HAVE TWO MEANINGS

I saw this Twitter thread a little while ago:



I was immediately reminded of this:



Rufo's plan, near the outset of the moral panic over teaching about racism in schools, asserted that he and his fellow culture warriors had "decodified" the term "critical race theory" and would "recodify" it to mean "anything about race in school curricula that right-wingers don't like." Rufo and friends have been quite successful at this.

But clearly this isn't the only time right-wingers have changed the perceived meaning of a word or phrase. As @BartenderHemry says, "lockdown," for many people, now means "any annoying pandemic-related inconvenience." So now things that are a minor nuisance feel like totalitarianism to these folks, in part because their brains are conditioned to think "lockdown," which really does sound like a totalitarian restriction on freedom of movement. So right-wingers can move around freely in a mask, but they feel as if you can't. Word recodified; rage successfully induced.

"Critical race theory" doesn't seem like an inherently sinister phrase, but Rufo always saw its potential, as he explained to The New Yorker's Benjamin Wallace-Wells:
"...‘Critical race theory’ is the perfect villain,” Rufo wrote.

... “Its connotations are all negative to most middle-class Americans, including racial minorities, who see the world as ‘creative’ rather than ‘critical,’ ‘individual’ rather than ‘racial,’ ‘practical’ rather than ‘theoretical.’ Strung together, the phrase ‘critical race theory’ connotes hostile, academic, divisive, race-obsessed, poisonous, elitist, anti-American.”
Rufo and his pals have made "critical race theory" a pejorative, and now it's applied to even plain statements of fact about race that make their way into school curricula, as a mark of shame.

But the right has been identifying scare words and broadening their meanings as a tactic of rhetorical warfare for a long time. The classic right-wing scare words are "socialism" and "communism," which mean "anything right-wingers don't like." Marjorie Taylor Greene is particularly fond of using "communism" this way:



I suppose the right would argue that our side has done something similar with the word "racist," but we can make a reasonable case for nearly all uses of the term, whereas Greene just uses "communism" to refer to anything that annoys her and Rufo boasts of cynically misapplying the term "critical race theory" as a tactic of war. I don't know how you beat the right at this, but calling the tactic out might be a start.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

WHY DOES DONALD TRUMP HATE JESUS?

Spotted on Twitter:


Notice what word isn't anywhere in the copy? Christmas.

It's not here, either:


Richard Johnson of the New York Daily News told us about the event in October:
Donald Trump will celebrate Christmas early by posing for photos with fans who are paying $10,000 a head.

The former president is headlining a Dec. 3 fundraiser in an airport hangar in Naples, Fla., where 100 Christmas trees will re-create Melania’s Yuletide decoration of the White House....

Trump ... is set to pose for 90 photos with guests who can use the shots on their Christmas cards. The total number of guests could be 250 with spouses and offspring.

“Trump does get a piece of the pie, but the lion’s share will go to charity,” said Brad Keltner, the event’s organizer.

Keltner scoffed at rumors the event will feature an ice rink, Russian ballerinas and Clydesdale horses, but confirmed that there will be snow.

“This is not a political fundraiser,” Keltner said. “The president is doing this to benefit several local causes in a community that strongly supports him.”
I hope we find out whether any of this money was actually donated to charities. But whether the event is intended to help the needy or line Trump's pockets, it's Christmas-themed and it features Christmas trees, but there's no "Christmas" in the publicity images for the event.

Isn't Trump the guy who said this many times?


You know, we're getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don't talk about anymore. They don't use the word "Christmas" because it's not politically correct. You go to department stores and they'll say "Happy New Year," or they'll say other things, and it'll be red, they'll have it painted, but they don't say -- Well, guess what? We're saying "Merry Christmas" again.
But as I told you in December 2016, Trump's properties regularly avoid the "C" word.


Why does Trump hate Jesus?

REPUBLICANS HAVE A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO DO THINGS THEY'RE NOT REMOTELY INTERESTED IN DOING

Ross Douthat has just published a not-bad column with this headline:
Republicans Have a Golden Opportunity. They Will Probably Blow It.
But as you read the column, you realize that if what Douthat is saying is correct, Republicans are likely to squander an opportunity to do things Douthat wishes they'd do, not things they want to do.

He writes:
Republicans have a lot to be thankful for. In the years since George W. Bush their party has staggered around without a governing ideology, veering from one style of fantasy politics to another, and twice nominated a ridiculously unfit reality-television star for the presidency. Yet through it all the party has never collapsed, never fallen more than a little distance out of power and almost always retained a certain capacity to block the Democrats, which is the only thing its constituencies can agree on.
It's nice that he thinks this is a bad thing. I question the bit about "veering from one style of fantasy politics to another." Does he mean veering from the 1776 cosplay fantasy of the Tea Party to the ... rhetorically indistinguishable fantasies of MAGA? The Trump crowd wears fewer tricorn hats, but I don't see much difference between the MAGAs and the teabaggers otherwise.

Douthat thinks Republicans will win back the House, although not with a large majority, "even if Biden’s poll numbers bounce back." (So do I.) That doesn't please him:
But in a way, that advantage is also the core Republican weakness, and the party’s good fortune in avoiding profound punishment for all its follies is the reason those follies will probably continue.
He thinks a GOP that followed the Glenn Youngkin path -- a little bit of populism, a little bit of Trump, a little bit of Romney, as Douthat sees it -- could become America's favorite party.
Youngkin has a Romney-esque persona — the corporate suit and genial family man — but where the man from Bain Capital ended up captive to party dogma on taxes and entitlement cuts, the former Carlyle Group executive promised higher education spending and tax cuts that benefit the lower-middle class, playing against the corporate-Republican and supply-side stereotypes.

Meanwhile, Youngkin imitated Trump not just in his relatively populist promises but also in his willingness to pick cultural fights — in this case, on critical race theory in schools — that other moderate Republicans might shy away from. But then in most other ways he was an anti-Trump: decent rather than bullying, reasonable rather than paranoid, keeping conspiracism at a distance, reassuringly competent rather than apocalyptic.

So that’s all the G.O.P. needs nationally to fully exploit its post-Covid opportunities — a more populist economic agenda, a willingness to take the fight to the progressive left (but with a smile) and an end to Trumpian conspiracism.
I'm not sure how all that jibes with what Youngkin said in a speech yesterday:
Criticizing COVID-19 lockdowns and shutdowns’ impact on businesses, Youngkin said he was concerned that Virginia’s right-to-work status “would go away” after hearing of automotive companies locating plants in neighboring states....

“I do not believe that people should be told that they must get the vaccine,” Youngkin said....

Youngkin said he opposed businesses firing workers for not getting vaccinated and promised to revoke mandates for state employees to get vaccinated and wear masks. He also promised to appoint a new state health commissioner and rescind state mandates for K-12 students to wear masks to school.
(According to an October poll, 71% of Virginians support mask mandates in schools Another October poll shows that Virginians support business vaccine mandates 55%-41%.)

But whether or not Youngkin is really the model New Republican, as Douthat believes, the party is unlikely to follow his lead. Douthat is on firmer ground when he writes:
But do enough actors in the party really want that combination? At the elite level there is a clutch of politicians and candidates who keep groping for a more populist agenda and a group of nationalist intellectuals who think they’re on the cusp of imposing one upon the party. But there is still a larger group of lawmakers, strategist and donors who are very comfortable having no agenda whatsoever, or falling back on the familiarity of upper-bracket tax cuts and pretend budget cuts as soon as they’re restored to power.
I'm pretty sure all that plus lib-owning is what every Republican wants, apart fraom Douthat and a few other brainy-ish types.

Douthat acknowledges that:
Among the party’s voters, activists and media personalities, meanwhile, there remains a clear appetite ... for Donald Trump in full — nourished by the plausible belief that populists and social conservatives can’t entirely trust more-corporate Republicans, the implausible belief that Trump’s nastiness helped him more than it hurt him, the false belief that he actually won the 2020 election, plus the very America-in-2021 desire for politics to be high-stakes TV entertainment rather than boring attempts to cobble together governing majorities.
I don't think Republican voters really care about Trump's made-for-TV style -- sure, they enjoy it, but they also seem ready to rally around Ron DeSantis, an untelegenic sourpuss, because he seems so good at owning libs, and appears to be as monomaniacal about the pursuit of lib-ownage as the voters themselves are.

I don't think Republican populists and social conservatives mistrust "more-corporate" Republicans in any ideological way -- they just have strong doubts about the corporatists' commitment to lib-ownage. Some of them actually voted for the Biden infrastructure bill! How dare they cooperate with Democrats on anything! (I question whether any Republicans are more corporate than others -- a few talk about helping the working classes, but they all want to shovel money in the direction of the rich. So when I refer to "more-corporate Republicans," I mean the ones for who put corporatism rather than lib-owning in the foreground.)

And I don't think the belief that "Trump’s nastiness helped him more than it hurt him" is implausible exactly. In 2020, he drove Republican and Democratic turnout. He lost, but he came extremely close to eking out an Electoral College victory. He seems like the all-time greatest lib-owner, so he'll drive GOP turnout again, and Democrats have to hope he'll drive Democratic turnout as well.

But whatever happens, Douthat sees a potential renewal of the GOP slipping away:
And if there’s anything we’ve learned over the past 15 years, it’s that the chance to enjoy a little bit of power without any real responsibility is impossible for Republicans to resist.
"Responsibility"? Republicans don't want that. They just want power, permanently.

By chance, a couple of hours ago I happened to read the following quote in a People magazine story about the callow Trumpist congressman Madison Cawthorn:
As Cawthorn told PEOPLE last year, not long after his election win: "I think it's just a lot more fun to be a conservative ... my generation is really probably the most pro-freedom generation since the founding fathers."

Republicans "have the right values, they just don't know how to convey them in a way that makes sense," Cawthorn said.

"We just enjoy life more," he said then. "We're less concerned about what other people are doing and we're more concerned about our own success."
"We're less concerned about what other people are doing and we're more concerned about our own success," says Cawthorn. Remember, helping people through legisaltion is his job. But he doesn't care. He thinks what's important is to win and not give a shit about anyone else. These, he believes, are "the right values." And nearly every Republican appears to agree. Power without responsibility? Yup, that's the goal -- forever, if possible.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

THE RIGHT-WING MEDIA THINKS COVID IS REAL NOW, BUT THE FANS STILL THINK IT'S A HOAX

Hi, I'm back -- thank you, Yas and Tom, for some terrific work while I was away.

While I was gone, global health officials announced the emergence of a frightening new COVID variant, now named Omicron, that might cause reinfections and evade vaccines (though a great deal is still unknown). Surprisingly, most of the right-wing press has decided that this variant is genuinely bad (but I guess it's because saying so makes President Biden look bad). So Gateway Pundit reports the variant under the headline "New COVID Virus Variant Identified in Africa Is 'Highly Transmissible and Vaccine-Resistant.'" In fact, we don't know how vaccine-resistant it is, and won't know for several weeks, but GP is treating it as a real and dangerous virus.

The commenters? Not so much:
Endless Jabs......Boosters........The Reset Is Here.

****

It 'could be' a new variant OR nothing at all. It may, and most likely is (given the "the Great Reset" every westernized nation is trying to institute) just a red herring to try and get everyone to lock down again and make the final push to collapse the economy. People have been fighting back all over the globe and so they NEED a "new variant" that sounds even deadlier to try and scare everyone into submission.... But IF it is an actual variant, it's less deadly (even if it 'transmits easier' than the original strain) to anyone with NATURAL IMMUNITY as every virus gets WEAKER as it mutates. Now, for anyone with the vaccine....each new variant will be more deadly thanks to the spike factories they injected into themselves, not because the variant is stronger (It's NOT). They signed their death warrants by taking the vaccines & boosters. Let's hope people the world over are not going to fall for the "new variant" ruse this time. All they want to do is take our FREEDOM. Period. All one needs to prove this is look at Australia. That's all this COVID nonsense has been about from the beginning, when the CCP & Fauci released this on the world. Side note: Africa has had the LOWEST COVID CASES IN THE WORLD!! They have been regularly taking HCQ & IVERMECTIN against malaria and other parasites. These drugs also happen to be the only known CURES for COVID! So now the media & elites are trying to make Africa look like a COVID hotbed to trick people into their nefarious plans.
That's a pretty good one-paragraph compendium of nearly every popular COVID conspiracy theory on the right. In case you didn't know, "The Great Reset" was the theme of the 2020 Davos conference, and it's now become shorthand on the conspiratorialist right for the belief, as one summary of the belief put it, that "the global elite’s plan" is "to instate a communist world order by abolishing private property while using COVID-19 to solve overpopulation and enslaving what remains of humanity with vaccines."

More from the GP comments:
COVID and all its supposed variations are Satan's way of trying to kill off the world's population in these Last Days.

Satan has many slaves in BigPharma and politics who sold him their souls for big bucks.

Matthew 24:7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

****

Correct me if I'm wrong, But Didn't I just Read an Article about the Low cases in Africa. Germ Warfare since?

****

I have an ample supply of Ivermectin on hand to treat my whole family. The Progressives will never be able to understand how the gene therapies falsely called 'vaccines' actually CAUSE other variants to evolve, while simultaneously severely weakening the bodies Immune Response. These Gene Therapies are a death spiral.
And because some scientists believe that the new variant might have developed in an immunocompromised, HIV-positive person, we get this:
"The variant may have come from someone with AIDS".

Hmmm. Who is a driving force behind the COVID debacle and the AIDS debacle?

Why it's "Dr." Anthony Fauci, of course! How interesting!

****

It may be a stretch to include Dr. Judy Mitowitz’s claim that most vaccines are already infected with the HIV virus in the labs, but we know for sure this variant is. Something sinister will come from the fact that an active HIV/AIDS patient was the first person detected with the new variant. How do we know that HIV/AIDS isn’t the cause of the mutation?
(I'm aware of Judy Mitkovits, one of the most dangerous -- and successful -- anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists out there. If she has the crackpot belief that HIV is in most vaccines, it's news to me, but I wouldn't be surprised.)
Predictable. The people are weary of this scam. They needed a new threat to continue control and for an excuse as to why the Jab is not working. If this were a movie, you'd walk out due to lack of believability. When they start off by yelling 'cases' as opposed to hospitalizations and deaths, and statistics, you have cause for doubt.

****

The vaccine destroys your immune system. Every booster will make you die sooner.

****

Must be keeping the Smallpox in reserve??

****

Covid was created for the vaccine. The vaccine was created for the passport. The passport is to give total control of everyone to NWO.

****

There is NO variant.. only scare tactics to get more injected. A bio-engineered spike protein, (Dr. Francis Boyle) cannot change into a virus. In any case. according to WHO Jan 2021, the PCR test is meaningless, as it only confirms the presence of a strand of Flu or He.p.DNA, so how do they know somebody is infected? Greg Hunter USAWatchdog dot com. Dr. Elisabeth Eads, “Video: Covid-19 Injections Will Cause Massive Deaths”, where Dr. Eads not only points out that the PCR tests false positives are an estimated 97%, but also lays bare the real death count related to the Covid vaxxes.

****

That brings up a good question: How do you flush out the spike proteins if you have a bad reaction to the shot? What is the antidote to the COVID shot?

****

I heard Pine Needle Tea. U can buy it on-line.

****

Death.
And in response to a tweet from right-wing talk radio host Buck Sexton, someone with a Pepe the Frog avatar posts this:


And there's this, as you'd expect:


I suppose most people on the right will manage the doublethink (Biden is president and the pandemic is getting worse, even though the pandemic is a hoax), but it might get harder. I think Stephen Miller is preaching to the wrong crowd:


He's claiming that a reelected Trump would already have a vaccines ready to deploy now for a variant that wasn't publicly identified until this week, but the Fox audience doesn't believe that COVID is terribly dangerous (at least to rock-ribbed Real Americans with rootin'-tootin' immune systems) and does believe that the vaccines are dangerous. Old conspiratorial habits of mind die hard.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Gratitude

William S.L. Jewett "The First Thanksgiving Dinner" wood engraving for Harper's Weekly, 1868, via The Clark Museum. The first federal Thanksgiving, that is, proclaimed by President Lincoln in fall 1863 to express the Union's gratitude for the victory at Gettysburg, which is perhaps what Father is focused on while the children tuck in.

Happy 400th Thanksgiving! Though I guess it's understood that the first one wasn't, technically, a thanksgiving. That is, they must have held one after that 1621 harvest, but in church, praying all day, not feasting, and not inviting the heathen savages in, and that's not what we're historically informed about. The feast, actually three days of feasting, undoubtedly took place too, as Edward Winslow wrote in a letter to a London connection, George Morton (sent with the ship that brought their first harvest of "Indian corn" and barley for sale on the English market, because they'd done much better, with Squanto's help, than just being able to feed themselves), 

Our harvest being collected our governor sent four men fowling together so we might rejoice together in a more special way after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. In just one day the hunters killed as much fowl as if their hunting party had been larger. The fowl fed the company almost a week at which time, among other recreations, we drilled with our fire arms. Many of the Indians joined us including Massasoit, the greatest king, and some ninety of his men. We all entertained and feasted together for three days. The Indians went out and killed five deer which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, the captain, and others. And although it is not always as plentiful as it was at that time, yet by the goodness of God we are so far from want that we often wish you could partake of our plenty.

There's a connection between thankfulness ceremonies, I think, and Puritan predestinationism, the religion of those Plymouth brethren who arrived in Massachusetts on the Mayflower in 1620, the idea that our lives and afterlives are chosen for us before we're even born, through the randomly apportioned Grace of God, so that if some of us are rewarded with eternal life in Heaven in the choir invisible and others doomed to eternal punishment below, it's not because of a choice we've made but a choice that has been made for us. And it's the the same for any prosperity we may enjoy in this life, prosperity being the "outward sign of inward Grace"; you can't really say you "earned" it, though you can say you deserve it—after all, the decision was God's, you're one of the Elect.

So when we go through a Christian thanksgiving ceremony, as so many of us did at the table yesterday, making the ritual statement of what we're particularly thankful for in our current lives, family and health and so on, I feel we're sneakily saying that we really are better than the less fortunate, not because we've worked so hard actually, but because God picked us (we are better than others, in fact, but that's because God decided we would be in advance). Which effectively says we do deserve our good fortune after all, which makes me a little bit mad. Which makes it disturbing for me to say I'm thankful—I'm so grateful my kids aren't in jail or single parents and I'm so grateful I'm going to get to retire some day, as these things are going to be denied to other people, because God decided they shouldn't have them. Really?

Thursday, November 25, 2021

War! What Is It Good For?

I must have dropped off the Soros mailing list, because I didn't realize until today that there's a war on Thanksgiving. The twist this time is that it isn't being ginned up by Fox News to fire up the rubes. This one is from Matt Lewis, an anti-Trump conservative who rarely criticizes Republicans without throwing comparable blame at Democrats. Thanksgiving, it turns out, is getting it from Both Sides (via Hot Air, because the original is behind a paywall):
The culture war doesn’t take Thanksgiving week off, and its two main participants aren’t big on giving thanks, anyway.

The illiberal left wants to radically transform an inherently evil America that was founded on slavery and colonialism. The post-liberal right wants to forfeit the idea of liberal democracy, contending that modern America is weak, secular, and decadent....

MSNBC recently invited writer Gyasi Ross to talk about the “mythology” of Thanksgiving. “Instead of bringing stuffing and biscuits, those settlers brought genocide and violence,” he said. “That genocide and violence is still on the menu as state-sponsored violence against Native and Black Americans is commonplace. And violent private white supremacy is celebrated and subsidized.” [emphasis added]
The left wants a more equitable and democratic America in which we confront and improve upon the truly shameful parts of our history. The right wants to end the democratic experiment. Both sides, amirite?

Jazz Shaw, a hack even by Hot Air standards, apparently took this as a challenge to his own bothsides cred, and came up with this gem:
Yes, in the course of settlers' westward expansion into land that was already occupied, some of the people who were being ethnically cleansed off of their land committed atrocities against the people who were doing the ethnic cleansing, so really, both sides. I suppose we could be thankful that Fox hasn't tried to turn the War on Thanksgiving into something on the level of their War on Christmas, but then I'm supposed to be at war with Thanksgiving, which means I shouldn't be thankful for anything, so instead I guess I'll just be pissed off at useless fucks like Matt Lewis who know how toxic the Republicans are but reflexively undermine anyone who poses a credible alternative.

ETA: Matt Lewis and Jazz Shaw both make a point of arguing that our genocide isn't anything exceptional, providing historical examples to show that not just Both Sides but all sides did it. But they're skipping the part where conservatives inist on American exceptionalism. No, in the larger scheme, extermination of the native population wasn't anything exceptional. And I don't think anyone is arguing that it was. The point here is the disconnect between the claim that America is exceptional and our entirely unexceptional genocide. Either we're exceptional or we aren't, and if we are we need to be held to exceptional standards, and if we aren't we shouldn't pretend to be.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Class Interests

 

The Branko Milanovic–Christoph Lakner "Elephant Chart" showing global growth rates from 1988 to 2008 arranged by income percentiles, with its four major highlights: mediocre growth in red for the poorest people, or most people in the poorest countries, extraordinary growth in green for most people in the emerging economies of Asia, especially China, serious stagnation in blue for the pretty rich people of western Europe and North America in particular, and fabulous growth in purple for the global super-rich (not as fabulous as China, but keep in mind that the 1% are starting with a lot more money, ending up by 2020 with 43% of all the wealth in the world).


This post from Nathan Newman ("Education Polarization in Elections: People Are Voting Their Class Interests"), giving me at long last a way of thinking about that "White Working Class" that makes some sense, has been sitting in an open tab on my computer for almost a month. He's looking at the same voting pattern as everybody else, but he's seeing it in the historical context of how it effectively happened that the outsourcing economy of the last 40-odd years primarily affected white workers in relatively rural areas; because that's how the distinction between workers in the growing service industries and and those in the shrinking manufacturing industries had sorted itself out in the US, where the former remained as traditional multiracial and urban, the latter came to be concentrated in

towns built around a single company factory [now] in steep decline. These communities were often created in an earlier generation of outsourcing, when companies fled unionized cities, deindustrializing heavily black urban areas as scholars like William Julius Wilson detailed.

Some of the firms that left succeeded in escaping their unions while in others, workers managed to maintain them - but the racist politics of suburbanization meant most of those factories ended up in far more homogeneously white communities in smaller towns and exurbs than the racially diverse urban centers they left behind. So when the globally-induced deindustrialization of more recent decades came, the communities experiencing those losses and the culture of those trade-induced grievances were more homogeneously white as well.

Capitalism sucked them out of their natural habitat and planted them there in the middle of nowhere, where they were sitting ducks. I say this with some personal knowledge of what happened to all the women in the Chinese garment factories in Brooklyn and Manhattan in the 1990s: nothing, actually. As their work was taken away by companies in China and Bangladesh and Vietnam, they fairly quickly found new work that paid better. Pretty sure that's even truer in L.A., and Newman speaks for factory workers in Europe:

A destructive aspect of the fragmentation of American manufacturing into exurbs and small towns is that it was unable to respond effectively when emerging economies added new competition. Vibrant industrial districts in places like Germany and Italy, where industry clustered together in historic urban regions, were able to retool their approaches and kept roughly 20% of their working population in manufacturing jobs.

Out in the sticks in Missouri and Ohio and Indiana, on the other hand, those white guys were just entirely abandoned, other than by the opiate pharmacists and gun sellers marketing the means of relatively easy death, and eventually the Republican Party.

Meanwhile, workers in services were getting the squeeze too, in that first joint of the elephant's trunk, but in different ways—they weren't losing work, but they were getting more and more corporatized and wages held down, even in the knowledge industries—as I was arguing in early 2016, practically everybody is a proletarian now, if not a member of the gig economy precariat. though some of us have much more comfortable lives than others, house yobs vs. field yobs if you know what I mean. Newman agrees:

Mixed Messages

From Fox News:
Sure, that sounds plaus...
...okay, never mind.

I guess his mother probably has her own agenda--convincing the world that her son isn't a monster--but it's at cross purposes to the broader right-wing message, which is that a monster is exactly what we need to own the libs. ("Own" can have a lot of synonyms here, including "exterminate".)

Brandon

Hi all, relief crew here! Happy Thanksgiving!

Makeup by Kevin Kirkpatrick, via Vulture, January 2012.

Posted this in comments at Roy's SubStack, on the "Let's Go Brandon" phenomenon, in response to a comment by SundayStyle wondering "are we supposed to believe that the Fuck Your Feelings crowd have suddenly decided to revert to dainty euphemisms?" and thought it was something I'd want to remember:

It's middle school boys pretending to clear their throats--"A-whore! A-whore!" The immaturity is kind of the point. It's pretending Biden is your mom or your teacher, baffled and unable to respond, whereas if you just said "fuck" they could just yell at you and not let you go to the dance.

This is what Trump is particularly a master of, not just saying the quiet part out loud but claiming deniability as he does it. "You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist. And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, OK? I’m a nationalist." Why is he not supposed to use the word? Because he's telling you he's a Nazi.

But whether you embarrass yourself by calling him out for it, or by not calling him out, you're the one who gets embarrassed, and all the cool boys in the class can't get over how funny it is.

 Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

BACK IN A FEW

I'm going to be celebrating Thanksgiving like a semi-normal person, so I'll be away from here for a few days. I think there'll be posts here while I'm away, so stop by. Have a great holiday, try not to rise to your right-wing relatives' bait, and I'll see you on Saturday.