Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Writing for The Atlantic, Mark Leibovich argues that Ron DeSantis might not be ready for the big leagues, primarily because he's stiff and unlikable:
People who know him better and have watched him longer are skeptical of his ability to take on the former president. DeSantis, they say, is no thoroughbred political athlete. He can be awkward and plodding. And Trump tends to eviscerate guys like that.

“He was standoffish in general,” the Virginia Republican Barbara Comstock, a former House colleague of DeSantis’s, told me.

“A strange no-eye-contact oddball,” Rick Wilson, a Republican media consultant, wrote on Resolute Square.

“I’d rather have teeth pulled without anesthetic than be on a boat with Ron DeSantis,” says Mac Stipanovich, a Tallahassee lobbyist who set sail from the GOP over his revulsion for Trump and his knockoffs. To sum up: DeSantis is not a fun and convivial dude. He prefers to keep his earbuds in. His “Step away from the vehicle” vibes are strong.
Leibovich acknowledges that this might not be a problem for DeSantis ("the GOP ... has shown a persistent tolerance, even inclination, for churlish bastards—just as long as they are churlish toward the right rascals, reprobates, and agents of wokeness"). But he remains skeptical.

In response, I'd say: Do you know who else gave off “Step away from the vehicle” vibes? Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s. When the public is worried about crime and disorder, as it was in that decade when Giuliani won two elections and as portions of it are now despite much lower crime rates, an unpleasant bad cop on a hair trigger sometimes seems like the right electoral choice, especially if the bad cop can be humanized (if barely) by an appealing wife and young children. (DeSantis has young kids, as did Rudy in the '90s; Rudy's then-wife was a fixture on local TV news, and DeSantis's wife also had a TV career, including a stint in local news.)

The national equivalent -- albeit with older children and wife whose time in Hollywood had been brief -- was Richard Nixon, a personality-deficient scold who was elected twice in an era of extreme cultural anxiety. So it can happen.

Leibovich writes:
... Trump will be running DeSantis through his patented dehumanizer machine, which made such mashed mush of his rivals in 2016. Trump’s efficient cartooning of “Low-Energy Jeb,” “Liddle Marco,” and “Lyin’ Ted” left them flailing pathetically.
The difference is that, in 2016, Bush, Rubio, and Cruz weren't trying to be assholes. They didn't understand that the game had changed -- even Cruz thought you had to seem upright and statesmanlike to win the nomination. He didn't try to attack Trump until Trump was already in the process of gutting and filleting him. DeSantis is unlikely to make that mistake. I expect him to campaign as an asshole from Day One.

Leibovich writes:
DeSantis ... can appear needlessly snappish and reactive (earlier this year, he scolded a group of high-school students for wearing masks onstage behind him).
Leibovich knows that the base loved that moment, doesn't he?
One particular interlude during DeSantis’s 2022 campaign bears revisiting. It occurred during a debate with his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, who attempted to pin down the governor on whether he would commit to serving out his four-year term if reelected. In other words, was DeSantis running for president in 2024 or not? “Yes or no, Ron?” Crist pressed him. DeSantis froze. “It’s a fair question and he won’t tell you,” Crist said, filling the silence.

Finally, a moderator jumped in and reminded the candidates that they were not permitted to ask each other direct questions, allowing DeSantis to regroup. “Well, I know that Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden,” DeSantis said, delivering what was clearly a rehearsed line. “But I just want to make this very, very clear. The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.” Cute recovery. But still awkward.

... a fluid politician could have better finessed that exchange. And Trump likely took note and filed this away. “He knew and assessed the weaknesses of DeSantis on the debate stage and in the media space,” Wilson wrote in his Resolute Square essay, concluding that Trump will tear him to pieces. “He smelled blood.”
Crist smelled blood? It must have been his own, because he lost to DeSantis by 19 points.

I wouldn't bet against Trump in this battle, but if he beats DeSantis, it won't be because DeSantis is obnoxious and disagreeable. That might be precisely what voters want.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022


What's twisting right-wingers' knickers right now? It's this:

Fox News reports:
The House Judiciary GOP tweeted, "Why is the Biden White House scared of the First Amendment and @Elon Musk?"

Ilya Shapiro, director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute, said Jean-Pierre's comments likely violated the Bill of Rights.

"That statement sounds ominous and is likely a First Amendment violation in and of itself," Shapiro tweeted....

"This is a really weird thing for a White House press secretary to say about a company against which there are no criminal allegations," Isaac Schorr, a National Review reporter, tweeted.

Tim Young, a conservative author and comedian, tweeted, "The White House hates free speech."

Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist and former Evergreen State College professor who rose to prominence in 2017 after he refused to partake in the college's "Day of Absence" for White people, also suggested that the Biden administration overstepped its authority by attempting to censor political speech on a private platform.

... He concluded, "The case for the censorship of claims and facts is simply fatally flawed. There may or may not be things worth barring with TOS. But regulating the flow of ideas based on whether they’re true is insane and dangerous, and the executive [branch] long ago violated the public/private boundary."
But Jean-Pierre never said anything about censorship. She never said anything about the Biden administration taking any action at all. Here's the transcript:
Q: Just a question about Twitter. You know, there’s a researcher at Stanford who says that this is a critical moment, really, in terms of ensuring that Twitter does not become a vector for misinformation. I mean, are you concerned about the — you know, Elon Musk says there’s more and more subscribers coming online. Are you concerned about that? And what tools do you have? Who is it at the White House that is really keeping track of this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, this is something that we’re certainly keeping an eye on. And, look, we — you know, we have always been very clear and — that when it comes to social media platforms, it is their responsibility to make sure that when it comes to misinformation, when we — when it comes to the hate that we’re seeing, that they take action, that they continue to take action.

Again, we’re all keeping a close eye on this. We’re all monitoring what’s — what’s currently occurring. And we see — you know, we see it with our own eyes of what you all are reporting and, just for ourselves, what’s happening on Twitter.

But again, social media companies have a responsibility to prevent their platforms from being used by any user to incite violence, especially violence directed at individual communities, as we have been seeing. And the President has been very clear on calling that out. He’ll continue to do that. And we’re going to continue to monitor the situation.
She's saying very clearly that social media companies themselves are responsible for the content that appears on their sites. And when she says the White House is "keeping an eye on" the situation and will "continue to monitor" it, she's taking an opportunity to announce government action and passing it up. She's announcing no action by the administration because the administration doesn't plan to intervene (although the president himself might express an opinion).

And yet all your right-wing relatives will now ominously repeat the phrase "keep an eye on" as if it means "build gulags." The fascist threat here is completely imaginary.

Meanwhile, the possible next president of the United States is arguing for precisely the sort of government intervention the right thinks Biden wants.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blasted Apple on Tuesday over Elon Musk’s allegations that it has threatened to boot Twitter from its App Store....

... the Republican governor said Musk’s move to reinstate thousands of banned Twitter accounts may have factored into Apple’s alleged moves — and that the company’s response should invite scrutiny from Washington.

“If Apple responds to that by nuking them from the App Store, I think that would be a huge, huge mistake and it would be a rally raw exercise of monopolistic power that I think would merit a response from the United States Congress,” DeSantis said.
Apple controls access to apps on its own phones, but Apple doesn't have a phone monopoly in America -- it has 50% market share in the U.S. phone business, a milestone it reached only this year, after trailing Android for years. Beyond that, you can easily use Twitter on a phone's web browser, without an app. Having access to the app is a matter of convenience. And millions of Americans use Twitter on computers rather than phones. So if the Twitter app disappears from Apple's store, that doesn't mean we suddenly live in North Korea.

In the old days, Republicans told us that regulating businesses is bad. They still think it's bad -- unless what the businesses are doing challenges them in the culture wars, in which case they believe free enterprise is unacceptable and authoritarian repression is warranted. Businesses simply aren't allowed to practice enlightened self-interest if that self-interest can be spun on Fox News as "woke."

No one on the right has a problem with DeSantis urging the government to investigate a business decision Apple hasn't actually made and might not even be considering. But when the Biden administration says it's not taking action against Twitter, that's a sign that it intends to, according to Republicans, and that's fascism. Got it?


Politico reports that the Republican Party wants to learn, grow, and change:
The Republican National Committee is launching a review of the party’s performance in the midterm election and bringing on a team of outside advisers to help guide strategy, as the GOP reckons with its disappointing performance in the election.

... Republicans say the council is designed to bring in new voices to the party and to provide guidance on matters like outreach to minorities and suburban female voters, groups that the GOP has often struggled to win over.
But the party doesn't want to learn, grow, and change too much:
The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a “Republican Party Advisory Council” – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year.
Kellyanne! Well, so much for any possibility that this group will say Donald Trump is one of the party's major problems.

And this list of members isn't encouraging on that subject either:
The list of members includes Alabama Sen.-elect Katie Britt, Texas Rep.-elect Monica De La Cruz and Rep.-elect John James, a Black Republican who hails from McDaniel’s home state of Michigan.

The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters....
Masters, of course, is the Trump-endorsed sociopath who lost the Arizona Senate race this month. Monica De La Cruz won her House race with Trump's endorsement.

And as for Britt and James, they're two profiles in courage. First, here's what Wikipedia has to say about James and Trump (links deleted):
James supported Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries. He later became a Trump supporter, and tweeted in 2018 that, if elected to the Senate, he would back Trump "2,000%." During his 2020 campaign, James accepted Trump's endorsement and campaigned alongside him. James has not been publicly critical of Trump or his actions. During a meeting with Black faith leaders, James was asked whether he disagreed with Trump on anything. James said, "Everything from cutting Great Lakes funding to 'shithole countries' to speaking ill of the dead. I mean, where do you want to start?" In a leaked audio recording of a meeting with African American leaders in Michigan, James was asked why he hadn't publicly criticized Trump. He said he thought it was better to be silent in public in order to gain access to Trump. James said, "Donald Trump doesn't need less Black folks around him, he needs more", and that his goal was "achieving equity and equality for our people, not standing up on Twitter and condemning folks."
Brave Sir John!

As for Britt, she and her husband, ex-NFL player Wesley Britt, demonstrated a similar level of courage when some anti-Trump items were unearthed from Wesley's Twitter feed during the primary campaign:
... the husband of one of Alabama’s leading Senate candidates disavowed, in the strongest terms, the fact that he had “liked” some potentially damaging tweets.

He even implied that someone else must have done the liking of those tweets—possibly at the behest of the “anti-Trump Big Tech backers” of his wife’s opponents....

... a tweet Wesley Britt liked from Sept. 2016 that said “we just watched a man meltdown on live TV” during the Trump-Clinton presidential debate isn’t great for his wife’s political prospects.

Neither is the one Wesley liked in Aug. 2020 that blamed “Trump’s America” for Kyle Rittenhouse’s violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

... in May 2021, when the news broke that Katie was about to enter the Senate race, Donald Trump Jr. called Katie Britt “the Alabama Liz Cheney”—meant disparagingly—and Britt liked a tweet with the defensive response: “Stay out of Alabama politics. Katie Boyd Britt is no Liz Cheney. Your dad was a great president but he is not anymore.”

Similarly, in July 2021, President Trump put out a statement saying that Katie Britt was “not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our country needs,” and Katie Britt responded with a video post, saying she “wouldn’t run to somebody else for cover and have someone else fight for me.”

Wesley Britt liked a response to his wife’s statement that said, in a tone meant to reassure Katie, “You knew his idiot ass would chime in at some point.....don’t sweat it.”

But rather than ignore the story, or try to contextualize his thoughts—or even just point out the mildness of these Twitter interactions—Wesley Britt responded by implying he had been a victim of some kind of cyber attack.

“This is an absolute lie—I never liked those tweets,” Wesley Britt said in his statement to 1819 News, which reported the existence of these likes. “Just like Big Tech maliciously and wrongly banned President Trump and helped rig the election against him, I have no doubt that the anti-Trump Big Tech backers of Mike Durant will falsify anything to help him win.”

Wesley Britt went on to insist he had always been a major Trump supporter, going back to his days as a player on the New England Patriots, when he “enjoyed visiting with him in the Patriots locker room.”
Defend my wife against attack by Donald Trump and his son? I would never do that! If it seemed as if I defended my wife, some evil globalist must be responsible!

So if the evidence amassed by this advisory council suggests that Trump is a reason it's difficult to "bring in new voices to the party" and do "outreach to minorities and suburban female voters," I'm sure these folks will fearlessly say so. Their previous courage makes that obvious.

Monday, November 28, 2022


A week after Donald Trump hosted anti-Semites Nick Fuentes and Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago, many Republicans, whether they dare to admit it publicly or not, are hoping they can keep Trump off the 2024 ticket in favor of that nice, normal Ron DeSantis. But Jonathan Chait is right -- DeSantis is a racist enabler, too:
DeSantis ... has reached out to QAnon supporters and insurrectionists and suggested January 6 was a setup by the FBI. He has denounced Liz Cheney for participating in the January 6 hearings but refused to denounce a gang of Nazis who showed up in Orlando and menaced local Jews. This is a clear signal of whom DeSantis sees as inside the coalition (white supremacists) and who is out (pro-democracy Republicans like Cheney.)

DeSantis’s supporters have greeted the idea that he would issue a pro forma statement denouncing white supremacists with mockery. Tablet’s Noam Blum suggested DeSantis is too busy governing for his spokesperson to issue a statement. “Contrary to how he is characterized in the national media,” sniffed National Review’s Dan McLaughlin, “Ron DeSantis’ personal approval is not required for the list of guests Floridians may invite to dinner.”

These people are not idiots. They understand perfectly well that DeSantis weighs in on national political and culture fights routinely. He is not too busy to attack the white-nationalist right. He wants to maintain its support but quietly.
And Christina Pushaw, DeSantis's former gubernatorial press secretary, who later became the press secretary for his reelection campaign and will almost certainly be his presidential campaign spokesperson, is also racist-adjacent. Here she is stanning for a bigoted Trump appointee named Darren Beattie:

Here's the tweet from Pushaw:

And here are Beattie's January 6 tweets:

Here's the story of that firing:
Darren Beattie, who was a visiting instructor at Duke University before he joined the White House speechwriting team, was fired Friday after a media inquiry about his appearance at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club conference, where Beattie spoke on a panel alongside Peter Brimelow.

Brimelow, founder of the anti-immigrant website, is a “white nationalist” and “regularly publishes works by white supremacists, anti-Semites, and others on the radical right,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group that tracks extremists.

Earlier this year, Brimelow described himself as a believer in “racial nationalism” who sees the future of the United States “precipitating out on racial lines.”
Trump later appointed Beattie to a board whose work involves preserving Holocaust sites in Europe, a position in which he served until he was removed by President Biden. The Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish groups protested the appointment. When it was announced, Yahoo News reported,
The appointment comes shortly after Beattie, in comments made on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show, compared supposed efforts to oust President Trump to the “color revolutions” that defeated authoritarian leaders across Eastern Europe. Beattie said those efforts were being engineered by Norm Eisen, an ethics attorney who served in the Obama administration. As he described the case against Eisen, Carlson cut Beattie off, thus concluding the segment.

Beattie has also suggested that George Soros was behind attempts to remove Trump from office, though the financier and philanthropist’s efforts constitute little more than the kind of ordinary political contributions that both sides routinely engage in.
A couple of days ago, Beattie appeared on Steve Bannon's War Room podcast and talked about Sam Bankman-Fried; a clip of that appearance is posted at Beattie's Revolver News under the headline
Darren Beattie blows the lid... SBF’s FTX extremely dark money laundering operation “bigger than Soros”... fueling “Clinton-Underworld Democrat Machine”...
You can watch the clip at the link if you care0, but I think I've made my point: Anyone who thinks Trump is at the racist, conspiratorial fringe but DeSantis represents a return to normality is delusional.


In The Philadelphia Inquirer, Will Bunch writes:
It’s clear that America is having a moment right now, and a deeply troubling one at that. Never in my lifetime — and I watched the tumultuous 1960s, albeit through the eyes of a child — has the hate speech been so open and so over the top, nor has the threat of political bloodshed felt so palpable. Yet it’s important we understand what is really happening ... and why it’s happening now.

The antisemitism, the homophobia, the violence ... this isn’t the American right flexing its muscles out of strength. Quite the opposite. The forces of 400 years of white supremacy culture are like a wounded bear right now — lashing out, and extremely dangerous because its proponents know they are a seriously endangered species.

Is it any wonder that things have gotten so much crazier since Nov. 8, the date of the midterm elections? That was the day that the folks I dubbed in a recent column as “the Biden coalition” — college students who lined up hours to vote, suburban college grads who cared more about democracy than inflation, Black and brown voters who see the racism that still lurks behind the GOP’s pitch to the working class — held together to give Democrats the upper hand in the 2022 midterms. It’s that stunning defeat that’s making the far right so batty....
But the right isn't losing everywhere. Republicans control the Supreme Court. They'll soon run the House of Representatives, and they could easily win back the Senate and the White House in 2024. They still have the majority of governorships. They control the governments of the second- and third-largest states, Texas and Florida. Abortion is banned in twelve states. Their side controls national gun policy, while gun laws are being loosened in state after state (and a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year seems likely to force loosening in blue states as well). They've made police reform politically radioactive and they're well on their way to doing the same for bail reform. They beat back all public health measures intended to limit the spread of COVID, even in blue America. They intimidated Disney. And one of their own just bought Twitter and is working hard to turn it into a haven for conspiratorialism and right-wing intimdation.

But yes, our side has had a number of ballot-box victories since Donald Trump's election. Democracy lives, for now. And the normie culture in America is more accepting and empathetic than the right would like it to be. But our wins are partial and tentative.

Right-wingers aren't enraged because they know they're losing. They're enraged because they think they should have won a total victory by now.

For years they've been told that liberals are a weird, freakish minority limited to cities and college towns -- all real Americans are right-wing. Long before Donald Trump entered politics, they were told that we cheat in every election, hence the need for voter ID laws. (Hugh Hewitt's book If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat was published in 2004.) More recently they were told that all elite Democrats are cannibal pedophiles, and now they're told that we're all "groomers." Doesn't a decent society lock people like that up, or worse? And even the ones who don't believe this literally believe that our electoral cheating is on a massive scale -- there's just no way 81 million people voted for Sleepy Joe Biden! He never had any boat parades! -- and that cheating is aided and abetted by Facebook, George Soros, the Chinese government, and whoever turns up in Hunter Biden's laptop.

So in a way they're angry because they're losing, but only in the sense that they define "losing" as having to live in a country where we have any say at all in how society is run.

They've been told for so long that we're weird, pathetic, Marxist, evil, and satanic that our continued ability to exercise the rights of citizenship seems like a monstrous injustice. If that doesn't change soon, somebody's going to get hurt.

Sunday, November 27, 2022


Once a year, Maureen Dowd lets her right-wing brother Kevin take over her column. In this year's edition, his views of the top 2024 GOP presidential candidates are exactly in alignment with Rupert Murdoch's. Ron DeSantis is the bee's knees:
Republican hopes for 2024 must rest with their new superstar, Ron DeSantis, who won almost 60 percent of the vote in his race to be re-elected governor of Florida, paving the way for four new G.O.P. House members. His handling of Hurricane Ian was only his latest feat, building on his popular defense of parental rights in education, his support of the police and his fight against wokeism.
A Florida governor "handling" a hurricane isn't a "feat"; it's a minimum requirement of the job. If a taxi driver successfully negotiates a left turn, you wouldn't call it a "feat" -- the ability to do that is part of the minimum skill set needed for the job. But Kevin is in love with DeSantis, as all Republicans are expected to be.

Kevin is also totally over Donald Trump. All Reublicans are expected to share this perspective as well, though the GOP Establishment is having a harder time selling it, according to the polls. But Kevin is completely on board with GOP elite opinion:
Donald Trump is radioactive. His insistence on picking candidates based on their loyalty to him cost Republicans control of the Senate in consecutive elections, and his attacks on other Republicans are despicable. Historians will judge his presidency in more generous terms than the media does now, and we will be forever in his debt for saving the country and the Supreme Court from Hillary Clinton, but his effectiveness has passed.

His announcement that he will run again was greeted with resounding silence from Republicans the next day. Rupert Murdoch stripped Trump of the formidable Fox defenses. Trump’s isolation was made plain at his announcement party, where the only member of Congress in sight was Madison Cawthorn, who lost his own primary.

A third Trump run will simply settle old scores with political enemies and the press and ignore the repair work that the G.O.P. needs to be done.
Trump's biggest sin? Not the racism, the deadly downplaying of the pandemic, or the mancrush on Vladimir Putin -- and certainly not January 6. None of those are mentioned. Trump is bad, according to Kevin, primarily because he loses elections for the GOP. (If you ever ask yourself, "What does the GOP stand for?," the answer is "The GOP stands for the GOP winning elections.")

Kevin is happy about GOP gains in the House, and he leads us to believe that it's for policy reasons:
Republicans have won the House and ended the torturous reign of Nancy Pelosi. With that victory come the purse strings, which should put Democratic profligacy on the skids.
He then writes:
Republicans’ first order of business should be ...
Should be what? Proposing a non-"profligate" budget? Nahhh:
Republicans’ first order of business should be impeaching the odious Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, who has presided over the disgraceful situation at the border, wearing incompetence like a badge of honor.
Yeah, that ought to get spending under control!

I told you a few days ago that Mayorkas was more likely to be impeached than Joe Biden, and Kevin is completely on board. As for a Biden impeachment, tellingly, he doesn't even mention the possibility; instead he predicts that Biden will run again in 2024. He's internalized what I believe is the party elite's view, that a Biden impeachment followed by an inevitable acquittal in the Senate would just garner sympathy for him, and might help him get reelected, but a Mayorkas impeachment is lower risk (very few voters have warm feelings regarding Mayorkas, or any feelings at all), and maybe a few Democratic senators, especially the ones up for reelection in 2024 in red or purple states, would vote to convict. Also, allowing a Mayorkas impeachment takes some of the pressure off Kevin McCarthy to greenlight a Biden impeachment.

So yes, I think it's going to happen. I think Kevin Dowd is reciting the party line.

Saturday, November 26, 2022


I don't understand this response to Donald Trump's dinner with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago:
... two Trump advisers winced at how a Holocaust denier like Fuentes was able to wind up with Trump at dinner — even if it was by mistake — along with the rapper....

"This is a f---ing nightmare," said one longtime Trump adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of stoking the former president's ire at "disloyal" people who criticize him. "If people are looking at [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis to run against Trump, here's another reason why."
Robert Costa of CBS News is right:

"A brush up against that bloc, then quick distancing" is exactly what happened:
“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about,” Trump said Friday in a statement on his Truth Social platform.

“We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful,” Trump said. “They then left for the airport.”

A person familiar with the dinner conversation who is not involved in Trump's presidential campaign and two Trump advisers briefed on the dinner corroborated Trump's claim that he didn't know Fuentes' identity when they dined together.
The anti-Semites believe that the powers that be compel even Trump to discredit people like Fuentes, so they accept Trump's distancing as a necessary concession while they exult in the fact that the meeting took place at all. They also take comfort in reports that Trump and Fuentes "fawned over each other," and that Trump was "very taken" with Fuentes. So Trump connects with the anti-Semites while not alienating other right-wingers. Also, he's in the spotlight for days -- take that, Ron DeSantis!

And on that subject:

The right-wing media's response to this story has been fascinating. I don't know what's happened on cable, but hasn't covered the story at all. There's litrally nothing about the dinner on the site. Rupert Murdoch loathes Trump, so you think he might want to portray him as a loathsome anti-Semite, but he appears to be afraid that he might make Trump seem like a sympathetic victim of cancel culture.

On the other hand, Breitbart, which usually refreshes its front page every couple of hours, has made this the top story since yesterday, with a highly critical headline:

These latest revelations turn what could have been a minor story into a major national narrative, where the GOP frontrunner for president in 2024 — the former president and as of now the only formal GOP candidate for the office in the next election — seems to have met with an open white nationalist, antisemite, and Holocaust denier in Fuentes. Fuentes’ now-shut-down YouTube page is shot-through with racist and antisemitic rants that date as far back as 2014.
But the commenters are overwhelmingly on Trump's side, for a variety of reasons:
why is this top story on bb? are the rinos and nevertrumpers taking over here too?


Breitbart is garbage. Find a new news source


Notice how BB will never run a similar headline on the deaths of millions of Russian and Ukrainian Christians under Bolshevism.

Or would that be 'anti-semitic'?


Why is Breitbart turning on Trump because he likes to have dinner with Kanye West?? Give me a break who cares who he eats with, he will talk to anyone. He even sat across and talked to the Taliban and Rocketman Kim and protected our Country. Trump is a GREAT President and I support him no matter what he's the best man for the Job!! TRUMP 2024!!


No idea who that (Nick Fuentes) is but by his last name he is hispanic not white. Being white is NOT a crime. A 'nationalist' is someone who loves their country above all others. And why is there so much censorship and pushing of left-wing narratives here now?!


Notice how BB didn't actually tell us what Fuentes said - or why he is a 'white supremacist'. To trash him outright, without an objective measured analysis, well it smacks of outright propaganda. Thou shalt hate anything pro-White and never ever question the establishment's version of WWII history.

We are meant to jump pavlovian-style to their dogwhistle.


"America’s military is stationed in Middle East to defend Israel while our borders go undefended". At the same time while we give it endless aid!

Maybe that's one reason so much censorship is needed.


Current leftist and POC seem to want segregation again but this time from whites. Separate dorms, separate graduations, No whites allowed etc. but let whitey say it, then the sky is falling. Pretty much like everything else. The leftist POC can say whatever they please about whites, its a one way street when it come to outrage.


They were NATIONALISTS. That's the real threat to the Godless Communist Totalitarian Police State being rolled out.




> 80% of Jews vote Communist-Democrat

> The other 20% vote in favor of neocon wars which means sending Americans off to die in desert wars for Israel.

In turn, the ENTIRE Jewish community unites to have America take in the Muslim migrants conveniently removed from Israel's surroundings in these wars.

Communism/Zionism = the two ideologies of Jews. Prove me wrong.


Pathetic attempts to paint Trump as an antisemite won’t work, but I do agree it is shameful for BB to try to do so. Those of us with a brain know very well Trump is not antisemitic. This is not only evidenced by his actions while in office, but also in his personal life. Most Israelis will declare that president Trump was the best friend Israel ever had in the White House. He’s human. He makes mistakes. One of those was a forced error, Fuentes at his dinner table. He does need to acknowledge the error, but since apologies don’t come naturally to him we may not see that. That’s a pity, but we should not use this to “prove” that Trump hates Jews. As to those who question whether Fuentes is in fact an antisemite, I recommend that they do a little homework rather than automatically assume he is not simply because BB says he is. He is indeed a Holocaust denier and antisemite.


Trump says he doesn't know the guy AND that Kanye didn't announce he was bringing anyone else. Nice try though.


And even if he does know him, so what. America was founded and settled BY Whites.

Yet now being pro-White is supposedly the most evil thing in America. What the f.

This is how America has been subverted from within by those who control the media.


This debacle is On KANYE. It's his bullsh!t and I'm not a fan of this idiocracy. Ye is massively confused for doing this. Keep him away from Trump.


Yeah, it sounds like a setup to smear Trump.
The real story here is West hangs with idiots. He's a wannabe


I couldn't help but notice that absolutely no one in the FakeNews "media" cares that pro-segregation lobbyist Joe Biden was life long friend with the white supremist leader of the KKK and longest serving democrap senator.


All this time, and lots of curiosity over the years, and I have yet to meet an actual 'White Supremacist'.
All I run across are people who just want to be left alone, to pursue their own destiny, without being meddled with.


Supremacy is wanting to rule over others.
Wanting to be left alone is the opposite of supremacy. It’s not supremacy to want to live in peace and harmony among your own kind.

Is it supremacy for Thai to live among Thai? Or Blax to live among Blax? Or Jews to live among Jews? But somehow it’s supremacy for Whites to want to live among Whites.

If anything is ‘supremacy’ it’s the non-whites who are aggressively conquering White lands and replacing whites while culturally appropriating our institutions, and traditions and language, and way of life - our very civilization.
Some commenters criticize Trump, but they're in the minority. Most believe that Trump was wronged or that he did nothing wrong, either because he's a great man who'll meets with anybody or because he should be meeting with people who love the white race.

This dinner didn't lose Trump a single Republican primary vote -- in fact, it might have won him a few.

Friday, November 25, 2022


In The New York Times, Jeremy Peters tells the story of Sarah Palin's rise and fall, and gets much of it wrong. Here's Peters on Palin's rise:
Ms. Palin, 58, started on the road to political fame after her upset victory in the governor’s race in Alaska in 2006, when the Republican Party was in need of a fresh face. Republicans had just lost badly in the midterm elections — what President George W. Bush called a “thumping.” The G.O.P.’s conservative base was angry with party leaders over their support for an immigration reform bill. And the broader public was war-weary after five years of conflict in the Middle East with no end in sight.

Ms. Palin was as different from a Bush Republican as they come.
Palin was as different from a Bush Republican as they come? She became John McCain's running mate in 2008 when McCain promised to continue George W. Bush's war in Iraq in perpetuity. Bush was the son of an oilman, and one of Palin biggest applause lines was "Drill, baby, drill." And while Bush had preppy roots, he cosplayed at being a good ol' boy, the kind of guy who might have flirted with Palin the hockey mom.
She promised to do things as governor that politicians in her party typically didn’t, such as restoring social welfare funding and scrutinizing tax breaks her state gave to large corporations. She appealed to Alaskans’ insularity, too, channeling mistrust of outsiders like oil companies, fisheries and federal agencies.

She prided herself on being able to work across party lines.
None of that, of course, was why she became a national celebrity. That happened because she was a partisan attack dog.

Peters writes:
She was, in many ways, undone by the same political currents she rode to national prominence, first as Senator John McCain’s vice-presidential nominee in 2008 and later as a Tea Party luminary and Fox News star....

... as the next generation rose up, Ms. Palin’s brand of politics no longer seemed as novel or as outrageous. Next to Mr. Trump’s lies about a huge conspiracy to deny him a second term, or Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s casual allusions to political violence, Ms. Palin’s provocations more than a decade ago can seem almost quaint.
That's not why she faded. She faded because it was clear she wasn't very effective at owning the libs. She scored a fat book deal in 2009, than quit as Alaska's governor. In 2010 she became a comically inarticulate Fox News commentator and did a reality series that was quickly canceled. She still had a large right-wing fan base that wanted her to run for higher office, but by the fall of 2010, even a plurality of Republicans thought she did not have "the ability to be an effective president." By 2011 -- after a bizarre bus tour across America that ended prematurely, after the great cheerleader for Alaska bought a pricey house in Arizona, and around the time when her daughter Bristol's estranged boyfiend published a book claiming the ex-governor used to flirt with him -- even Tea Party Republicans, in overwhelming numbers, believed she shouldn't run. We mocked her too effectively. She wouldn't fight us -- not in Alaska and not in the 2012 or 2016 presidential elections. She wasn't seen as someone who could battle the hated libs and win. She had too many distractions.

I don't think that's why she lost two elections in Alaska this year -- the voters there chose candidates who promised to work across party lines, a style of politics Palin has rejected since 2008 -- but it's why she's not a national figure anymore. Angry GOP base voters knew she couldn't hurt us, and that she only occasionally seemed interested in trying.

Thursday, November 24, 2022


Right-wingers think they've caught liberals in a desperate act of retconning. Here's Bonchie at RedState:
Insane Narrative Shift Occurs After Bombshell Revelation Q-Club Shooter Is ‘Non-Binary’
(It's Club Q, not "Q-Club," but go on, Bonchie.)
Man oh man, how things can change in a flash. For the last several days following the deadly mass shooting at an LGBT club in Colorado, the press and its leftwing allies have been railing against the right, suggesting that its opposition to the sexualization of children provoked the killings.

... And then, like a ton of bricks being tossed off a cliff, news dropped that the killer is “non-binary” and that he will go by “they/them” pronouns in his court filings and appearances.

How could that be? Nancy Pelosi had already pronounced “MAGA Republicans” as responsible for inciting the shooting. The White House had blamed a right-wing environment of “LGBT+ hate.” Then there was NBC News’ Ben Collins, who fancies himself a “misinformation reporter” (he should mean that literally, as you’ll see). He went on a rampage, accusing right-wing media, including Breitbart and Libs of TikTok for the heinous crime....

What was Collins to do with the news that the shooter wasn’t actually a Trump-loving, Tucker Carlson-watching Christian conservative? Well, he needed to shift the narrative, and he needed to do it fast. Instead of admitting his error, noting that he never should have jumped the gun, he quickly shifted to defending the shooter....

... According to Collins, the fact that this lunatic was bullied online seven years ago explains why he decided to shoot up a nightclub. It couldn’t be that the guy was just a mentally-ill nutjob who had kidnapped his family a year prior, never facing charges for some inexplicable reason. Instead, because Collins is so married to always blaming the right for everything, he’s now willing to defend a murderer in the process.
When this story broke, I thought liberals should wait and see whether the motive for the shooting was speciically anti-trans hate. It was known that the day after the shooting was Trans Day of Remembrance, and that a drag show was scheduled at the club that day. But America is full of homophobes who aren't plugged in to the right-wing network that directs haters' attention to facts like this. It was always possible that the shooter had anger against LGBT people but didn't know that. And it was possible that the shooter had other motives, like personal animus against the club or someone in it -- though the right's notion that this was a mentally ill person choosing a target completely at random that just happened to be a gay bar always strained credulity, and still does.

We now know, as I mentioned in my previous post, that the shooter's father, a spousal abuser, convicted weed dealer, and former(?) meth addict who made 326 porn films -- 19 and Anal, Fuck My Mommy and Me 2, and 324 other films (complete list at IMDb) -- reacted to news of the shooting by expressing relief upon realizing that his interviewer was telling him that his son had shot up a gay bar, not that he actually is gay himself. Dad said he's a conservative Republican and a Mormon -- "We don't do gay." He said he “praised [his son] for violent behavior really early. I told him it works. It is instant and you’ll get immediate results.”

That's how it starts.

We talk about "stochastic terrorism," which is defined as "the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act, which is statistically probable but whose specifics cannot be predicted." Here's another definition:
Stochastic terrorism is a specific type of extremist violence that occurs when an environment has "othered" a population or individual to a significant enough extent that results in subsequent violence against them, Eric K. Ward, senior advisor to the Western States Center, [said].
The classic example of stochastic terrorism is jihadist online demonization of Westerners, which inspires audience members to commit violent acts, even though no one has ordered them to commit those acts. Anti-trans demonization from people like Tucker Carlson, Matt Walsh, and Chaya Raichik of Libs of TikTok seems to fit the definition also.

But when Dad tells you that the worst thing you can possibly be is gay, he's doing the same thing -- especially when he's also telling you that you need to learn to inflict violence on your enemies. Anderson Lee Aldrich's online harassers undoubtedly learned to hate and "other" LGBT people from adults and older siblings. They acted on this, and then the bullied Aldrich, who may be lying about being non-binary to reduce his legal culpability but was certainly called all the homophobic names until it was unbearable, shot up a gay bar.

When Dad and the world tell you who deserve to be hurt and you decide to kill, we need to start calling that stochastic terrorism, too. And it doesn't have to be a mass murder. Random violence against LGBT people and other "others" starts this way too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


The editorial board of National Review is outraged by the response to this weekend's mass shooting in Colorado Springs:
Politicizing the Colorado Springs Massacre

... Whether the shooter targeted Club Q because it is an LGBT club is unknown. Indications are, though, that he was a profoundly sick man. In June 2021, he was arrested for allegedly threatening his mother “with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” according to a press release from the El Paso County sheriff’s office. It emerged on Tuesday that the shooter’s attorneys also describe him as “non-binary” and preferring “they/them pronouns.”

... left-wing activists and their allies in the press have been blaming the shooting on conservatives.

... It is grotesque to lay the blame for this shooting at the feet of the millions of Americans who have legitimate questions about children being exposed to drag shows or undergoing irreversible sex-change surgeries. The idea that those questions are not just beyond the pale, but are affirmatively responsible for the murder of gay and transgender Americans, is a shameless attempt to gain an edge in an ongoing culture-war debate.
Message: There's absolutely no reason to assume a connection between our principled objection to perverted filth and the act of this deeply troubled young man, whose motives we can't possibly imagine!

Alas for National Review, much of the right is saying just the opposite: You bet this was a political act, and the pervert libs have more of the same coming to them.
On Monday evening ... [Tucker] Carlson’s show displayed a graphic reading “STOP SEXUALIZING KIDS.” On Tuesday evening, Carlson hosted a guest who said shootings would continue to happen "until we end this evil agenda that is attacking children."

... Tim Pool, a conservative internet personality with 1.4 million followers on Twitter, targeted the venue, Club Q, where the shooting happened.

“We shouldn’t tolerate pedophiles grooming kids,” Pool tweeted. “Club Q had a grooming event. How do prevent the violence and stop the grooming?” Pool appeared to be referring to all-ages drag Sunday brunches that were being hosted at the venue.

... Matt Walsh, a prominent conservative YouTuber known for his criticism of LGBTQ people, published a video on Tuesday titled, “Why The Left Is So Desperate To Expose Children To Drag Queens.” Walsh, who has 1.9 million YouTube subscribers, called the shooting “tragic” but doubled down on his attacks on drag queens. “Is it that hard to not crossdress in front of kids? Is the compulsion that overwhelming?” he asked in the video. “If it’s causing this much chaos and violence, why do you insist on continuing to do it?”
National Review: We have no idea whether it's a hate crime. Right-wing influencers: Hell yeah it's a hate crime, and you libs are asking for it.

So maybe liberals didn't rush to judgment?

And while it might seem odd that a self-proclaimed non-binary person would shoot up a gay bar out of hate, remember that self-hate is hate. The shooter has clearly been encouraged to hate anything about himself or anyone else that isn't heterosexual by this pathetic excuse for a human being, who is his father:

The suspect’s father, Aaron Brink, is a mixed martial arts fighter and pornography performer with an extensive criminal history, including convictions for battery against the alleged shooter’s mother, Laura Voepel, both before and after the suspect was born, state and federal court records show. A 2002 misdemeanor battery conviction in California resulted in a protective order that initially barred Aaron Brink from contacting the suspect or Voepel except through an attorney, but was later modified to allow monitored visits with the child.

Aaron Brink told the San Diego CBS affiliate, KFMB-TV, that he was shocked to learn about Aldrich’s alleged involvement. He said his first reaction was to question why Aldrich was at a gay bar. Brink said he hadn’t had much contact with his child but had taught them to fight, “praising” Aldrich for violent behavior at an early age.
... the Huntington Beach, Calif., native became hooked on crystal meth while making the smut and ended up on the reality show “Intervention" in 2009, where his then-fiancee begged him to stop using.

Two years later, he was appearing on TV’s “Divorce Court" with his second wife, porn star Vanessa Brink, according to the Gazette and footage of the show.

Brink’s unorthodox career came after a troubled childhood which included juvenile detention and a federal prison stint for smuggling pot into the US from Mexico. He was released from serving hard time at 24....
The authorities think it was a hate crime. Much of the right thinks it was a justified hate crime. The father certainly told the shooter to hate LGBT people. So do we have permission to politicize this now?


For the love of God, make it stop. David Ignatius writes:
Mike Rogers, a Republican former congressman from Michigan, is a snapshot of what his party looked like before the Donald Trump circus arrived. He is a free-market conservative, and a former FBI agent with strong national-security experience from his years running the House Intelligence Committee.

This brand of mainstream conservatism has seemed on its way to extinction. But maybe it has a second life, with Trump newly vulnerable and Republicans increasingly worrying that they won’t win without a broader, steadier image.

It’s a sign of the ferment in the Republican Party these days that Rogers has been spending time recently in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — giving speeches and meeting activists. He’s not running for president; he’s not even formally exploring a bid yet. As Iowa Republican public affairs strategist John Stineman, who’s advising a Rogers policy group, puts it: “He’s exploring whether to explore.”

... Rogers told me this week that, as he visits early primary states, “I’m getting a lot of encouragement from people to turn that into something for 2024.”
Even if Rogers doesn't know it, you and I know that he's never going to be the Republican presidential nominee. A Bush-era hawk at a time when Republican voters have decided they're isolationists? A former FBI agent at a time when the Republican base blames the FBI for everything from January 6 to the Colorado Springs mass shooting?

But every new entry in the race divides the anti-Trump vote a little bit more. Rogers won't go far if he gets in, but he'll get a few votes, and that it will make it just a little bit harder for Ron DeSantis, the one candidate who could possibly beat Trump, to prevail.

I blame the mainstream media. Most of these wannabes are considering a 2024 run because they believe the mainstream narrative that there's a large Republican voting bloc that opposes Trump and Trumpism and would love to turn the clock back to 2004. Rogers is a pure product of mainstream media greenrooms -- a 2014 Media Matters report said that he was the fourth most frequent guest on Sunday talk shows that year, behind Senators John McCain and Rand Paul, and ahead of John Kerry, who was then the secretary of state. When you've got David Ignatius of The Washington Post floating your presidential trial balloon, it's because still live in a world where the mainstream media is central.

How many more Republicans will fall for the mainstream media's delusions about Trump's unpopularity among the GOP electorate? Enough to guarantee another Trump primary victory, apparently.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


Here it comes:
Appearing with Republicans in El Paso, Texas, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday called on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign for failing to secure the southern border.

If Mayorkas does not resign, McCarthy warned, House Republicans will investigate him and his department to determine whether to launch impeachment proceedings.
McCarthy isn't just vowing to hold hearings. This is going to turn into a huge stunt:

McCarthy didn't actually say the hearings would start on (or around) January 3, when the new Congress will be sworn in, but -- near the end of the clip -- he did promise hearings at the border.

This is perfect Fox News programming. Fox will cover these hearings gavel to gavel. The hearings will be the right's version of January 6 hearings.

And in a way that makes sense. To the rest of us, January 6 was when we were at risk of losing our country. To Republicans, the presence of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers in this country means we've lost our country -- to them, if there are undocumented immigrants here, America literally doesn't exist. I find this odd. It's not just that I live in a city full of immigrants of various legal statuses and somehow we still eat burgers and watch American football and American (or at least New York) English is still the primary language. I've also seen this far from the city, where there are also undocumented people but America is still America. The people who think immigrants are causing us to lose our country also think a lot of Americans -- trans people, Blacks, Democrats -- are causing us to lose our country (or I should say causing them to lose their country). Maybe it's just me, but I still think America seems American.

We're told,
McCarthy's remarks come as he has been struggling to lock up support from the 218 Republicans that he needs to win the vote for speaker on the House floor on Jan. 3.

Many conservatives who are withholding support are insisting that House Republicans impeach Mayorkas when they take power next year.
I'm sure the same far-rightists also want him to greenlight an impeachment of President Biden. But McCarthy has probably concluded (or been told by GOP pollsters) that impeaching Mayorkas comes with fewer risks thsn impeaching Biden. Republicans know that Bill Clinton's poll numbers rose when he was impeached. But people outside the GOP base don't think about Mayorkas -- I'm sure most Americans can't even name the homeland security secretary -- so impeaching him is unlikely to rile up Democrats.

Mayorkas said earlier this month that he won't resign. Unless he changes his mind, I think impeachment (and acquittal in the Senate) is inevitable.


Last week I wrote:
I've believed for a while now that Trump is close to unbeatable within the GOP, but the campaign against him is so intense and the alternative so appealing to Republican and right-leaning independent voters that I've begun to suspect that Trump is in for a bad beating.
But I think I was wrong. Many Trump voters seem to be resisting the party's efforts to make Ron DeSantis the nominee. Here's a new Emerson College poll:
... former President Donald Trump leads with 55% support in a hypothetical 2024 Republican Primary, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with a quarter of Republican support (25%). No other candidate reaches double-digit support....
This follows post-midterm polls from Politco/Morning Consult (Trump 47%, DeSantis 33%) and Harvard CAPS/Harris (Mark Penn's firm; Trump 46%, DeSantis 28%). The Hill hilariously used the headline "DeSantis Closes Gap with Trump in New Poll" for a story about the latter survey, which showed Trump up by 18.

So after an endless round of stories about elite Republicans' disgust with Trump -- GOP senators don't want him! Paul Ryan doesn't want him! Billionaire donors don't want him! -- Republican non-elitists are telling us that they still want him.

And I do mean "non-elitists." As I told you last week, the Morning Consult poll showed that Trump's support is disproportionately among the non-college-educated; Emerson finds the same thing:
Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling noted, “There is a stark education divide among Republican primary voters. A 71% majority of voters with a high school degree or less support Trump in 2024 whereas 14% support DeSantis. A 53% majority of those with a college degree, some college, or associate’s degree support Trump while 28% support DeSantis. By contrast, Republican voters with a postgraduate degree are most split: 32% support Trump, 29% support DeSantis, and 18% support Mike Pence for the Republican nomination.”
There's also a generation gap:
Kimball added: “There is also an age divide in the Republican primary: younger voters under 50 break for Trump over DeSantis 67% to 14%, voters between 50 and 64 break for Trump 54% to 32%, while Republicans over 65 are more split: 39% support Trump and 32% DeSantis.”
Why would DeSantis be doing best among the elderly? It's simple: They have more time to watch Fox News. Fox loves DeSantis and is completely over Trump.

But even among the oldest and best-educated Republicans, Trump leads DeSantis, though it's close. I suspect that the efforts by GOP elites to manufacture consent for a dump-Trump movement might be backfiring. No one in the GOP base wants to be told whom to vote for by Paul Ryan, of all people. (He's an unperson to the GOP base, a worthless RINO.)

Fox News personalities are clearly doing a better job of persuasion than other elites, because boomers have grown old thinking that their favorite TV personalities are their friends. If the party wants to persuade the rest of the base to switch to DeSantis, it will have to use the media younger and poorer Republicans prefer and win over the personalities they trust. Who would that be? Ben Shapiro? Joe Rogan? Buck Sexton (whose name sounds like the pseudonym of a cowboy-themed male stripper)?

Maybe all this will change next year, once DeSantis announces. But for now, what the party elites are doing isn't working.

Monday, November 21, 2022


Mike Pompeo wants to be president, even though everyone but Pompeo himself knows that he's going to emerge from the primaries with, at most, two or three convention delegates. He's trying, though. He just gave an interview to Semafor's Dave Weigel and Shelby Talcott, in which he said something I think he regards as clever, but I find chilling:
I tell the story often — I get asked “Who’s the most dangerous person in the world? Is it Chairman Kim, is it Xi Jinping?” The most dangerous person in the world is Randi Weingarten. It’s not a close call. If you ask, “Who’s the most likely to take this republic down?” It would be the teacher’s unions, and the filth that they’re teaching our kids, and the fact that they don’t know math and reading or writing. These are the things that candidates should speak to in a way that says, “Here’s the problem. Here’s a proposal for how to solve it. And if given the opportunity, these are the things I will go work on to try and deliver that outcome that fixes that problem.” Pretty straightforward stuff.
At the end of this, you realize he intends it as a standard Republican riff on the alleged evils of teachers' unions, something a country-club Republican could have said in 2006 (or 1996 or 1986 or 1976).

But calling the head of the American Federation of Teachers "the most dangerous person in the world"? Comparing her to Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping? Really?

We live in a country that has seen a significant increase in sometimes brutal anti-Asian violence since the days when we regularly heard Donald Trump, as president, say that COVID-19 was caused by "the China virus." Much of the country believes that the COVID virus spread to humans because of a lab leak in Wuhan or (although some right-wing influencers might piously deny that they've given credence to this scenario) because China deliberately spread the virus in an attempt to sabotage America. Either way, much of America thinks Xi Jinping is a mass murderer. And Pompeo wants to persuade these same people that Randi Weingarten is worse?

Rank-and-file right-wingers are now primed to believe that many people are so evil they deserve a violent end, or at least deserve to be intimidated by violent threats so they'll retreat from public life. Every drag performer in America is now in this category, according to many (most?) right-wingers. We see what that's leading to. There's anger directed at teachers perceived as "woke" or pro-critical race theory or welcoming to LGBT students. How much is Pompeo adding to this atmosphere or rage?

Okay, probably not much, because the only people who seem to care about his campaign are journalists naive enough to believe that someone other than Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis will be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee. But even if he's a sure loser, Pompeo could well say Weingarten is the world's most evil person in a nationally televised debate. If he does, he might get a vigorous round of applause from the all-GOP audience. And in doing so, he might paint a target on Weingarten's back, because Republicans voters these days believe that they're at war, and that only the rules of war apply.


As we know now, Anderson Lee Aldrich, who's been identified as the mass shooter at a Colorado Springs gay bar on Saturday, had a previous encounter with the law, in 2021:
... a woman — believed to be Aldrich’s mother — called the authorities to report that her son was threatening her with a homemade bomb and other weapons. Sheriff’s deputies were called to a single-story brick-and-siding house in the 9800 block of Rubicon Drive, the scene of the reported bomb threat. Public records show that Aldrich at the time lived on the block, at 9815 Rubicon Dr.

Deputies arriving at the scene ordered a partial evacuation of the neighborhood and then confronted Aldrich at another house, about a mile away.

There, Aldrich at first refused to surrender. But after a standoff, he was persuaded to walk out of the house, and was arrested without incident. No bomb was found, but Aldrich was charged with five felony counts, including kidnapping and felony menacing.

Why local prosecutors declined to pursue charges in the case was not clear.
Your right-wing relatives might believe that Aldrich wasn't prosecuted because of liberalism and wokeness. But Colorado Springs has a Republican mayor. The county sheriff is a Republican. The county DA is a Republican. The city just passed a budget that adds fifteen new police officers to the force. So liberalism didn't keep Aldrich free.

Maybe Aldrich's mother didn't want to press charges. Maybe he didn't seem like someone the authorities would consider a "real" criminal (or, for that matter, a person with real mental health issues).

That was a year ago -- but I keep thinking about another reported incident involving police and this family.

The New York Times tells us this about the original incident:
Leslie Bowman said in an interview that the frightening 2021 incident took place at her home, where she had been renting a spare room to Mr. Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel. Ms. Bowman said she was away from the house during the 2021 incident.

“His mom had called me and said, ‘Don’t come home right now, there are some people looking for Andy,’” Ms. Bowman recalled, using Mr. Aldrich’s nickname.

Two days after the incident, Ms. Bowman arranged to have Ms. Voepel move out of her home. “Once she was gone, I changed the code on the door, and I never saw or heard from her again,” Ms. Bowman said.
Then the Times tells us:
But about a month ago, she said, the police visited Ms. Bowman and said they were looking for Ms. Voepel to check on her welfare, though Ms. Bowman did not know why.
Why were the police doing a welfare check on Aldrich's mother a month ago? Was it because he was still threatening her?

The Washington Post says:
Also unclear was whether any petitions had been filed against Aldrich preventing him from possessing a firearm. Colorado’s 2019 “red flag” law gives local judges the authority to order the confiscation of firearms from individuals with a history of mental illness or violence.

As of Sept. 28, there have been 348 “red flag” cases in Colorado, the majority filed by police departments, since the law went into effect in 2020.
Politico notes that the county sheriff is not a fan of the red flag law:
El Paso County appears especially hostile to the law. It joined nearly 2,000 counties nationwide in declaring themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries” that protect the constitutional right to bear arms, passing a 2019 resolution that says the red flag law “infringes upon the inalienable rights of law-abiding citizens” by ordering police to “forcibly enter premises and seize a citizen’s property with no evidence of a crime.”

County Sheriff Bill Elder has said his office would wait for family members to ask a court for surrender orders and not petition for them on its own accord, unless there were “exigent circumstances” and “probable cause” of a crime.
Maybe law enforcement decided that the original threat to the mother was an isolated incident that didn't demonstrate serious problems with violence. (No explosives were found, although, as Politico notes, "The press release issued by the sheriff’s office at the time ... did not mention anything about whether any weapons were recovered.") But was there a second threat to the mother a month ago, after which law enforcement again did nothing to prevent Aldrich from obtaining weapons, or remove any he may have already had? And is that why we're here?

Sunday, November 20, 2022


Look, I get it: running Twitter is hard. It wouldn't be quite as hard for Elon Musk if he weren't pushing out key employees, alienating users, scaring advertisers, and generally acting like a nerd megadosing on asshole pills.

And for Donald Trump, conducting a political comeback is hard, especially when it looks as if his bad decisions screwed his party in the midterms, while a shiny new object of right-wing affection triumphed.

But they both could have had an easy triumph just now, and they blew it:
Following Elon Musk’s decision to reinstate Donald Trump on Twitter – after putting the decision to a controversial vote on the platform – it seems the former president isn’t interested.

“I don’t see any reason for it,” Trump said via video when pressed on the subject by a panel at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting, as reported by Reuters.

Instead, Trump said, he would stay with his new platform Truth Social, developed by his Trump Media & Technology Group – where, of course, his posts and engagement draw money for him, rather than Musk.

He said Truth Social was doing has better user engagement than Twitter and was doing “phenomenally well”, and he added that Twitter’s problems included bots and fake accounts.

He said the problems it faced were “incredible”.
Musk's press has been terrible this month, and Trump's has been dreadful as well. Even though it would be horrible, a Trump return to active tweeting would have greatly benefited both men. The mainstream media delights in writing about how awful Trump's tweets are and what a terrible threat his Twitter presence was to democracy. Much of the right-wing media has found a new love in Ron DeSantis, but Trump's ability to appall and horrify liberals would have made him seem fearsome and relevant again, at a time when he looks like a laughingstock.

But as with everything else Musk has done since he purchased Twitter, he acted without laying any groundwork. He ran the Trump poll and ordered the return of Trump's old tweets seemingly without knowing that Trump would be a no-show when the curtain opened.

Semafor tells us that Trump might believe he can't return to Twitter:
Trump has been working on a merger deal between [Truth Social], which is privately owned by Trump Media & Technology Group, and Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that would take Trump’s business public, making it accountable to investors.

Since Trump is a core part of Truth Social’s value, rejoining Twitter could create some potential legal complications, according to Eric Talley, a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in corporate law.

In particular, if Trump repeatedly signals in public before a merger that he’s never joining Twitter, then closes a SPAC deal and reneges, some shareholders could decide they were misled.

“If it’s going to look, later on, that he never had that intention” of remaining off Twitter “but he just wanted to convince people that they should go ahead and close [the SPAC deal] that’s kind of a textbook securities fraud lawsuit,” Talley said.
If Trump is determined to stay where he is, or has a financial reason not to leave, Musk shouldn't have started the process of reinstating him. And if Trump wants to be the relevant again, maybe he shouldn't have constrained himself by suggesting to investors that he wouldn't return to Twitter.

"FBI could fuck up a baked potato," Joe Mantegna said in David Mamet's 1991 film Homicide. So can Donald Trump and Elon Musk, apparently. This could have been a big win, at a time when they both need one. But they blew it.

Saturday, November 19, 2022


Politico's Michael Kruse spoke to Rick Wilson, who believes (as many people do) that Donald Trump will set out to destroy the Republican Party if Ron DeSantis beats him in the 2024 primaries.
“Let’s say you beat him. Let’s say you whip his ass so bad in every debate. Let’s say he shits the bed in every debate and DeSantis is articulate and brilliant and funny and does all the things that you would need to do to convince primary voters. Let’s say that happens,” Wilson told me. “What,” Wilson asked, “does Donald Trump do?”

“I know what he doesn’t do,” I said. “He doesn’t disappear.”

“Correct,” said Wilson. And here, he added, is what else Trump doesn’t do: “Donald Trump says, ‘I was beaten, fair and square, by this brilliant young man, Ron DeSantis. I believe that he is the future of our party and our country. I look forward to doing everything I can to ensure that he is elected president in 2024. And because of that I’m turning over my email lists and my political operations to do whatever I can to help him win.’”
Wilson is right about Trump not making a graceful exit or being supportive in defeat, but I don't think he's right about this:
I reminded Wilson of this part of our conversation when we touched base last week. “He is a political suicide bomber,” Wilson said. “All Trump has to do is say, ‘OK, you don’t like me? I’m going to run as an independent.’”

Which presumably would make it hard — impossible? — for a Republican, for any Republican, Ron DeSantis or not, to win the White House in a general election.

“Let me tell you something,” Wilson said. “Donald Trump would rather Joe Biden be president for a thousand years than Ron DeSantis be president for five minutes.”
This feels true, but I think it's wrong.

Trump was rejected in Georgia this year -- Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger both won Republican primaries after refusing to help Trump overturn Joe Biden's 2020 victory in Georgia. And what did Trump do as an act of revenge? Nothing. Oh sure, he took one swipe at Kemp (more than a year before the general election), saying "Stacey, would you like to take his place?" onstage during a rally in Georgia. But Trump didn't help Stacey Abrams in the governor's race. He didn't endorse her. He didn't tell voters during the heat of the campaign that they should stick it to Kemp by voting for her. The same is true for Raffensperger's Democratic opponent.

One reason Trump didn't do this is that -- like your grandparents in Florida -- he watches Fox News hours a day and, as a result, believes Democrats are pure evil. He's not going to help one win, even to get back at an enemy.

But the main reason Trump didn't do this is that his obsession is making himself look like a winner. Dragging an enemy down doesn't accomplish that.

Here was Trump on Truth Social after we'd learned the results of the midterms:

Looking like a winner is his greatest need in life.

If he's lost the presidential nomination, he'll probably claim the voting was rigged in multiple states, and he's likely to challenge the results in court and elsewhere. But that won't be revenge. That will be because he always thinks there's the possibility of finagling a favorable outcome that he doesn't deserve.

Assuming it doesn't work -- the party and its donors will want him to go away -- he won't run as a third-party candidate. As The Washington Post's Aaron Blake notes, doing that would be hard:
Getting on the ballot can be difficult for independents, depending on the state, and would involve gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures. And some states even have “sore loser” laws that prohibit running as an independent after losing a party’s nomination. These laws generally don’t appear to apply to presidential candidates running as independents, but they might in key red states such as Ohio, South Dakota and Texas. That could severely hamper any real path to victory for Trump....
He might continue to insist that he won the primaries. He might continue to insult DeSantis. But we have to imagine a party rallying around DeSantis the way it rallied around Trump in 2016. We have to imagine Republican voters desperate to remove history's greatest monster, Joe Biden, from the Oval Office. If they've voted for DeSantis, they'll close ranks around DeSantis.

Now, that might not include some diehards -- people who don't like politics that much, but love Trump and only Trump. They would vote for Trump if he ran third-party. But even Trump's most sycophantic aides won't be able to massage the internal poll numbers showing Trump trailing badly in a three-way race. So he won't run -- and therefore some of his diehards won't vote at all.

That's subtle sabotage, and it might be enough to cost the GOP the election. But it will be passive-aggressive sabotage -- Trump refusing to endorse DeSantis or pass the torch to him at the convention, with the result that some of his voters stay home. What he won't do is run third-party and risk being a loser twice in one year.