Tuesday, February 28, 2023


I agree with Jonathan Chait about 90 percent of the time -- he's usually solid on the threat posed by Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, and the rest of the 21st-century Republican Party, as well as by the party's media apparatus. But when the subject is COVID, he loses focus. Here he blames liberals for not being open to the lab-leak theory on the virus's origins, ascribing our resistance to a rejection of conspiracy theories that he suggests are relics of the distant past:
The hypothesis that COVID-19 originated from a Chinese laboratory, rather than a naturally occurring jump from animals to human beings, received a major boost over the weekend. The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Department of Energy, as a result of new intelligence, now considers a lab leak the more likely origin source....

This hardly settles the matter — the DOE’s conclusion is made with “low confidence.” ...

But while the scientific resolution to this episode remains elusive, the lessons it offers about the politicization of science are quite clear.

When the lab-leak hypothesis first emerged, its most prominent advocates were Republican politicians who were motivated to shift blame away from the Trump administration’s mishandling of the pandemic. Many of them combined the lab-leak hypothesis with other, more outlandish claims, such as the absurd notion that China intentionally spread the virus through its own country in order to harm America. Numerous early media reports labeled the lab-leak hypothesis a “conspiracy theory.” Some of those reports conflated the lab-leak hypothesis with wilder claims about China intentionally unleashing the virus.
The spread of this "absurd notion" wasn't just a problem when the lab-leak theory "first emerged." It's a problem right now. Here was the lead story on the Fox News website until a few minutes ago:

A Chinese virologist who sounded the alarm in early 2020 about where the coronavirus came from said Monday the U.S. has reached a "milestone achievement" after a classified intelligence report from the Energy Department reportedly found the virus most likely originated in a Chinese lab.

Dr. Li Meng Yan told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" in September 2020 that the Chinese government intentionally manufactured and released the COVID-19 virus, leading to nationwide shutdowns and deaths.

Host Tucker Carlson asked Yan on Monday if she still believes the virus was intentionally released nearly three years after the pandemic started.

"Maybe for people who don't have this kind of biosafety lab three or four [years] experience on coronavirus, maybe it's easy for them to accept the accident lab leak. However, I'm a scientist, working in [a] research lab using coronavirus. And I can tell you, based on the print protocol and also the other surveillance system, it would be impossible for the lab leak [to] accidentally happen in such [a] lab and cause the Wuhan outbreak and also the pandemic," Yan said.
In case you couldn't follow that, she's arguing that an accidental lab leak was literally impossible -- it had to be biowarfare:

But she got a feature spot on the top-rated cable news show in America at this precise moment because Carlson -- not liberals -- decided to conflate the lab-leak theory and the bioweapon theory now, because Carlson and Yan know that millions of right-wingers believe that the Chinese are cartoon villains who not only couldn't be innocent of these charges but couldn't possibly be guilty through mere carelessness.

Yan has some interesting friends, as The New York Times reported in November 2020, after she first appeared in the Western media:
Dr. Yan’s trajectory was carefully crafted by Guo Wengui, a fugitive Chinese billionaire, and Stephen K. Bannon, a former adviser to Mr. Trump.

They put Dr. Yan on a plane to the United States, gave her a place to stay, coached her on media appearances and helped her secure interviews with popular conservative television hosts like Tucker Carlson and Lou Dobbs, who have shows on Fox. They nurtured her seemingly deep belief that the virus was genetically engineered, uncritically embracing what she provided as proof.

“I said from Day 1, there’s no conspiracies,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview. “But there are also no coincidences.”

Mr. Bannon noted that unlike Dr. Yan, he did not believe the Chinese government “purposely did this.”
So Steve Bannon didn't believe her, but he helped make her a media star, because this is war (against China, against liberalism), and in war, truth is the first casualty.

(When Bannon was arrested in 2020 on charges of fraud in connection with a "build the wall" nonprofit, he was taken into custody on Guo Wengui's yacht.)

Dr. Yan's expertise is questionable:
She had studied influenza before the outbreak, but not coronaviruses. She did work at one of the world’s top virology labs, at the University of Hong Kong, but was fairly new to the field and hired for her experience with lab animals, according to two university employees who knew her. She helped investigate the new outbreak, but was not overseeing the effort....

[In September 2020,] Dr. Yan released a 26-page research paper that she said proved the virus was manufactured. It spread rapidly online.

The paper, which was not peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, was posted on an online open-access repository. It was backed by two nonprofits funded by Mr. Guo....

Virologists quickly dismissed the paper as “pseudoscience” and “based on conjecture.” Some worried that the paper — laden with charts and scientific jargon, such as “unique furin cleavage site” and “RBM-hACE2 binding” — would lend her claims a veneer of credibility.

“It’s full of science-y sorts of terms that are jumbled together to sound impressive but aren’t supported,” said Gigi Kwik Gronvall, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University who was among several authors of a rebuttal to Dr. Yan’s report.
Right-wing propagandists haven't advocated the accidental-lab-leak theory because they want Americans to believe there was an accidental lab leak. They've spread it because they know it's a gateway drug, easily leading to the conclusion that China is super-evil and unleashed COVID intentionally in order to hurt America. The Fox story tell us:
Carlson suggested the Chinese government unleashed COVID to destroy Western economies and elevate their own position globally.
Really, Tucker? If that was the plan, how'd that work out?
The Chinese economy had one of its worst performances in decades [in 2022] as growth was dragged down by numerous Covid lockdowns followed by a deadly outbreak in December that swept across the country with remarkable speed.

China grew 3 percent for the year, numbers released Tuesday show, much less than in 2021 and short of Beijing’s target of 5.5 percent. Other than 2020, it was the most disappointing showing since 1976, the year Mao Zedong died, when the economy declined 1.6 percent.

The government’s strict “zero Covid” restrictions cast a pall over 2022, strangling the economy with frequent quarantines, regional lockdowns and massive spending to pay for widespread testing. Then on Dec. 7, China lifted the policy without warning after nearly three years. Within weeks, the virus had infected hundreds of millions of people, killed many older residents and left factories, offices and restaurants bereft of workers and customers.
Why would a country do this? Why would it release a bioweapon on its own people first, and then on nations with which it has billions of dollars in trade?

But right-wingers who are afraid to venture even to big cities in their own country think they have a sophistiated idea of how the world works, because a preppy grifter tells them stories like this.

Monday, February 27, 2023


Whose brilliant idea was this?
... Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is drawing praise from a previous Florida governor who sought the Republican presidential nomination in a field that included Donald Trump: Jeb Bush.

“Who better to do it than someone who’s been outside of Washington, who’s governed effectively, who I think has shown that Florida can be a model for the future of our country,” Bush said of DeSantis during an interview that was part of a Fox Nation program exploring the emergence of DeSantis on the national stage.

... Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade asked Bush if he believes now is the right opportunity for DeSantis to seek higher office.

“I think it is,” Bush said. “He’s been a really effective governor. He’s young. I think we’re on the verge of a generational change in our politics. I kind of hope so. I think it’s time for a more forward-leaning, future-oriented conversation in our politics, as well.”
I know that Rupert Murdoch wants to promote both DeSantis's forthcoming memoir (which is published by the Murdoch-owned HarperCollins) and DeSantis's candidacy, but why do it with this guy? RedState's Jerry Wilson writes:
One suspects that if DeSantis does run, Trump will wield Bush’s endorsement as a bludgeon against DeSantis, associating him with the selfsame establishment neocon military foreign involvement lovers to which Trump stands in direct opposition....

The only less desirable endorsements would be from Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Paul Ryan. Include Liz Cheney as well.
Did Wilson say "Paul Ryan"? Here's a story from Fox:
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan says he will miss the Republican National Convention in 2024 if former President Donald Trump wins the party's nomination....

"For the Republican convention in Milwaukee, where will you be?" a reporter for ABC 12 asked.

"It depends on who the nominee is," Ryan responded. "I'll be here if it's somebody not named Trump."

"You won't show up if it's Trump?" the reporter pressed.

"No I'm not interested in participating in that, no," Ryan said.

"Even in Wisconsin?" the reporter prodded.

"Even in Wisconsin," Ryan finished.
Ryan -- a member of Fox's board of directors -- must think he's doing his boss's favorite candidate a solid, but the Fox commenters would be thrilled if he stayed away from the convention, even the ones who like DeSantis:
I wasn’t interested in voting for Trump again but now I’ve reconsidered. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham and others are just a small fraction of what’s wrong with the Republican Party.


I live in Wisconsin. If DeSantis wins nomination, who I will support, and makes a stop here with Paul Ryan I will help boo Ryan off the stage.


I've become exhausted by all of Trump's drama but I absolutely hate Ryan and his fellow RINOS you mentioned and add the likes of Nikki Haley and Liz Cheney.


Trump did more for the American people and the country in his one term than other Republicans have done for decades, including Ryan.


Paul Ryan should explain which of the Trump policies were not good for the USA. I suspect, if Ryan is like other RINOs, it was the fact that Trump didn't start any new wars, in fact, he ended a few. Is Ryan agains tax cuts, oil independence, borders under control, low inflation, etc.? Likely just the tweets were offensive.


Paul Ryan is as relevant to US Politics in 2023 as Lyndon Johnson. His time is over, and never coming back. Stop giving him a platform.


RYAN IS THE PLATFORM. Literally he's a Fox News board member. He's establishment swamp, and the establishment swamp is shoving DeSantis down everyone's throats. Underestimate Trump and MAGA at your own risk Ryan and DeSantis.


Hi Paul Ryan. Can you skip it regardless of who wins the primary? Because you aren't exactly the blueprint to winning anything. So go on a long vacation with Mitt or something. Politics really isn't your thing.
The vast majority of rank-and-file Republican voters fall into one of two camps: (1) people who want to fight a culture war on the libs led by Ron DeSantis and (2) people who want fight a culture war on the libs led by Donald Trump. They reject any Republican who ever lost to the libs. (The Trump loyalists think he actually won the 2020 election.)

Rupert Murdoch doesn't get this. He dredges up pre-Trump retreads like Bush and Ryan in the belief that there are voters who care what they think. There aren't. If Murdoch knew what he was doing, he'd be trying to get Glenn Greenwald and Scott Adams and the Libs of TikTok woman to endorse DeSantis. What he's doing is a gift to the Trump campaign.


In The Atlantic, Mark Leibovich, a liberal-ish journalist, runs through the recent history of embattled presidents who faced popular primary challengers, and notes that it hasn't led either to a change of nominee or a win by the incumbent party:
There is good reason no incumbent has been subjected to a serious intraparty challenge in more than three decades—not since the Republican Pat Buchanan launched a populist incursion against President George H. W. Bush in 1992. A dozen years earlier, President Jimmy Carter had endured an acrid primary challenge from Senator Edward Kennedy. Both Carter and Bush managed to hold off their challengers, but they came away battered and wound up losing their general elections.
Leibovich could have added the Gerald Ford-Ronald Reagan contest in 1976 to this list -- another challenge to an incumbent that ended in failure for the party in the White House.

But Leibovich wants Joe Biden to be challenged anyway:
If approached deftly, the gambit could benefit the president, the party, and even the challenger’s own standing, win or lose.
Leibovich can't cite any solid reasons for believing that this could work out well for Democrats, though he sure has a lot of evidence-free hope:
When the voting starts, maybe this upstart would overperform—grabbing 35 percent or so in the early states, say. Maybe they wouldn’t surpass Biden, but could still reap the good coverage, gracefully drop out, and gain an immediate advantage for 2028. Or maybe Biden would take the hint, step away on his own, and let Democrats get on with picking their next class of national leaders.
That's the best Leibovich can do: Maybe this would all work out fine.

I agree that Biden isn't an ideal choice for 2024. The best thing for Democrats might be to nominate a fresh candidate who could win broad nationwide support. Too bad Democrats invariably allow right-wing propagandists to pre-smear every prominent candidate on their "bench" before any of them can make a serious run for higher office (while in many cases doing some of the smearing themselves).

In The New York Times, Greg Craig, who was a White House counsel to President Obama, declares that he's appalled at the calls for a fresh presidential candidate:
Democratic voters should have more respect for Mr. Biden’s record as president and more confidence in the good judgment of the American people. His recent bravura performance at the State of the Union and his trip to Poland and Ukraine should compel even the most skeptical voters to admit that he is up to the job, at least at this moment. This month his doctor reported that Mr. Biden is “healthy,” “vigorous” and “fit” to carry out the duties of president.

His party should show a united front in support of his re-election.
Craig's message is: Don't throw Joe Biden under the bus! But also: Throw Kamala Harris under the bus!
But even as we put our faith in Mr. Biden, the questions about his age and physical condition will not go away, and it’s fair for voters to want reassurances and decisions that show the White House will be in solid hands....

When considering who should be his running mate in 2024, Mr. Biden would do well to follow what Franklin D. Roosevelt did in 1944: He expressed a preference for certain candidates but turned the choice of his running mate over to the delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Craig proposes that Biden's running mate should be chosen by primary voters. But that would weaken Harris the way challenges to Presidents Bush, Carter, and Ford weakened them. And like them, she'd probably win the nomination -- she invariably leads polls of the 2024 Democratic presidential field that exclude Biden.

But if she remains on the ticket this way, she'll be damaged goods. And if she loses, especially to someone like Pete Buttigieg or Gretchen Whitmer, many Democratic voters will feel that a Black woman was treated with great disrespect.

The only way Biden or Harris can be left off the 2024 ticket without weakening the party is a voluntary decision not to run. Well-meaning commentators who propose challenges to the president and vice president are just making the GOP's job easier.

Sunday, February 26, 2023


In response to racist remarks by Scott Adams, many newspapers have dropped his long-running comic strip, "Dilbert." Adams called Black people a "hate group" and urged whites "to get the hell away" from them -- all of which seems consistent with the other right-wing opinions Adams has expressed in recent years. But Wikipedia reminds us that Adams used to be hard to pin down politically:
In 2007, he suggested that Michael Bloomberg would make a good presidential candidate. Before the 2008 presidential election he said, "On social issues, I lean libertarian, minus the crazy stuff." In December 2011 he said that if he were president, he would do whatever Bill Clinton advised him to do because that "would lead to policies that are a sensible middle ground." On October 17, 2012, he wrote, "While I don't agree with Romney's positions on most topics, I'm endorsing him for president." In a blog post from September 2017, Adams described himself as being "left of Bernie Sanders, but with a preference for plans that can work."
(Links deleted.)

I'm not quoting this to argue that it's wrong to call Adams a right-wing racist. He is a right-wing racist. But he used to have some political ideas that weren't right-wing, even if they were half-formed. This reminds me of the much-maligned New York Times story about Elon Musk that ran under the headline "Critics Say Musk Has Revealed Himself as a Conservative. It’s Not So Simple." By the time the story was published, it was obvious that Musk had picked a side -- Team Wingnut -- but he used to be somewhat more right-centrist than he is now. (In the past, he claimed that he'd "voted overwhelmingly for Democrats" and supported immigration and somewhat higher taxes on rich people.) New York magazine's Eric Levitz wrote a critique of the Times under the headline "Elon Musk’s Politics Are About As Complicated As Trump’s," which seems accurate because Trump and Musk are both right-wing extremists now -- but Trump was a right-centrist (pro-choice, an admirer of the Clintons) in the distant past.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about George Santos, Tara Reade and others who struggled in life until they discovered wingnuttery or (in Reade's case) Democrat-bashing, which they then made an organizing principle of their lives. This clearly happens to successful people as well -- in addition to Adams, Musk, and Trump, there's also Kanye West. Maybe we should also include Naomi Wolf, James Woods, and Matt Taibbi, whose careers had faded, and who then found purpose and meaning in right-wing crackpottery.

If you've had some success in life and you're an attention addict, the right provides many narratives that are compelling and easy to follow (even if they're batshit crazy), plus an audience full of eager fanboys and fangirls. Endorse these right-wing ideas and the fans will come flocking. It's an easy way to sustain the high you get from adulation, especially if it's been hard to come by recently.(That's certainly what happened to Trump, the faded real-estate mogul and reality-TV star, when he discovered Fox News and became a regular on the channel.)

Also, right-wing ideology is inherently an ego boost. Nothing is your fault! Everything bad is the fault of evil liberals! Egomaniacs like Musk, Trump, West, and even Wolf clearly need to be reassured that they're not failures. The right-wing message is very comforting to them.

Scott Adams will be fine. Right-wing sites will pick up his strip, from which he's already made a boatload of money. Readers commenting on a Fox News story about Adams are overwhelmingly supportive:
Did the newspaper drop him because they would lose black readers? Or fear violence?


He spoke the truth, which one mustn't do these days in the West. I and a majority of whites agree with him 100%


I live in Montana so you can see them coming from a mile away. No greater sense of security.
His income will drop, but he'll get a lot of positive reinforcement.

Saturday, February 25, 2023


Many federal government agencies have a role to play in the aftermath of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, but Republicans always follow Saul Alinsky's final Rule for Radicals -- "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it" -- so all of their focus is on one figure: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttgieg.

Axios reports:
Pete Buttigieg is facing an investigation from House Republicans over the Biden administration's response to Norfolk Southern's toxic freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio....

The 41-year-old transportation secretary ... has emerged as the face of the issue in recent weeks and become a go-to target for Republican lawmakers.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has pressed President Biden to seek Buttigieg's resignation over the fallout from the crash.

... Republicans on the House Oversight Committee on Friday sent a letter to Buttigieg alleging a "slow pace" in resolving the issue and requesting a series of documents.
Quite a few departments and agencies that aren't part of the Transportation Department are playing a part in the government's response. Buttigieg didn't visit East Palestine until this week, but the head of the Environmental Protection Agency was there last week, and again a few days ago. The EPA has ordered Norfolk Southern to clean up the site where its train derailed. As the Axios story notes, the National Transportation Safety Board -- an independent agency that's not part of the Transportation Department -- has begun its investgation. This weekend, officials from the EPA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control will begin door-to-door visits in East Palestine, asking reaidents how they're doing and helping them connect with government services.

But according to the GOP, all the problems are Buttigieg's fault.

Maybe it's a bad thing that the responsibility for dealing with this crisis is so spread out. But Buttigieg didn't create the bureaucracy -- he's just one of the officials who inherited it.

Most Republicans in D.C. know this isn't all Buttigieg's fault. Maybe Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn't know that, but Marco Rubio isn't stupid -- he knows that. But Republicans know what they need to do whenever anything goes wrong in America: find a Democratic or liberal scapegoat and devote all their energy to making America hate that person. Bonus points if the scapegoat has political ambitions.

If you wonder why Democrats seem not to have a Plan B in tne event that President Biden decides not to run for reelection, it's largely because Republicans have worked hard to tarnish every possible alternate candidate. Let's look at a possible candidate field that doesn't include Biden. This past week, Echelon Insights asked Democratic voters to choose from among fourteen possible candidates. The top five picks were:
Kamala Harris 27%
Pete Buttigieg 14%
Elizabeth Warren 8%
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 6%
Gavin Newsom 6%
In addition to demonizing Buttigieg, Republicans have already pre-demonized all the other candidates. Harris is the "incompetent" vice president whose public statements are "word salad" and whose laugh is a "cackle." Elizabeth Warren is "Pocahontas," a "fake Indian" who lied about having a Native American ancestor (even though she actually has one). I don't even have to enumerate the ways AOC is attacked -- the attacks come every day. Newsom isn't the subject of many personal attacks, but his state is routinely denounced as a hellhole of wokeness, crime, drugs, undocumented immigrants, and homeless encampments.

In much of the country, where Fox News is effectively the mainstream media, these ideas filter down to swing voters. Meanwhile, Democrats and liberal pundits have barely begun focusing on the reasons Ron DeSantis is dangerous, and have said next to nothing about other GOP presidential contenders apart from Donald Trump, including the ones who might serve as running mates -- Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Kristi Noem.

Democrats can't wish away the right-wing demonization machine, but they can acknowledge it and work harder to challenge it. They need to push back when potential future stars are attacked. And in the meantime, maybe they should do a little more attacking of their own.

Friday, February 24, 2023


Philip Bump points out that Americans support the right to abortion in nearly every state:
PRRI conducted a huge, national poll on views of abortion, covering respondents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found that not only that do most Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, but most people in most states hold that position. Even Republicans are more than twice as likely to say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases than to say it should be banned completely.

... On average, there are 8.7 people in a state who think abortion should be legal in all or most cases for every one who thinks it should be illegal. In states that voted for Trump in 2020, the average ratio is 5.6 to 1.

... even in the most Trump-friendly states, most people support access to legal abortion. Only in seven of the 25 states Trump won in 2020 does less than half of the population support abortion access; in two others, exactly half do.
But it doesn't matter. In a referendum last year, Kansans voted 59%-41% to affirm their right to an abortion -- and then gave their vote in the attorney general's race to Kris Kobach, who has asked the state Supreme Court to ban abortion, has filed a legal brief in favor of a nationwide ban on the abortion drug mifespristone, and has pressured Walgreens to drop its plans to distribute mifepristone in the state.

In 2018, voters in Florida voted 65% to 35% to restore the voting rights of most felons who had been released from prison -- but then, after newly elected governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled legislature made it next to impossible for felons to take advantage of the law, requiring restoration applicants to pay ever-increasing fines and fees, Floridians reelected DeSantis in a landslide last year, and overwhelmingly chose Republicans for legislative seats.

This happens over and over. Voters of all political persuasions support universal background checks and assault weapons bans, but in much of the country Republicans who unalterably oppose these reforms are reelected again and again. There's similar broad support for higher taxes on rich people, yet Republicans oppose these taxes and just keep winning.

I'm thinking about all this in the context of Marjorie Taylor Greene's "national divorce" Twitter thread, which I hadn't read until this morning. We're supposed to think of Greene as extreme even by modern Republican standards, but what I see in her thread is a caricature of Democrats that's widely accepted.

She portrays "the left" as "cramming and forcing their ways on us and our children with no respect for our religion/faith, traditional values, and economic & government policy beliefs." She says that blue states after the "divorce" would be free to run "government controlled gender transition schools" and, if they chose, "Antifa communists training schools." She says blue states would be free to do what they "have been calling for all along, abolishing the police," in pursuit of "their dreams of total and complete lawlessness." She says that liberals "could live in their safe space blue states, own nothing, let their government decide and control everything, and most importantly protect their fragile minds from being shocked and insulted by those of us on the right who believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

This isn't some special, uniquely Greene-ian, industrial-strength form of crackpottery. This is just a slightly flippant version of what nearly every Republican politician and right-wing pundit says about Democrats every day. It's barely distinguishable from Tim Scott's stump speech, or the Sarah Huckabee Sanders State of the Union response.

And much of America -- probably a majority of white America -- believes all this, more or less. Sure, white Americans want abortion to be legal and rich people to pay more taxes, but Democrats are just so extreme! Democrats have allowed themselves to be defined by this caricature. And so a party that most Americans don't agree with on important issues continues to be highly competitive nationwide, and dominant in much of the country.

Thursday, February 23, 2023


Right-wingers say it's appalling that Pete Buttigieg isn't nice to hostile reporters. Yesterday there was this in the New York Post:
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg snapped that he was on “personal time” when questioned late Tuesday about his plans to visit the toxic train derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio — before asking if he could take a photo of the reporter.

Jennie Taer, who posted the 46-second video on Twitter, identified herself to Buttigieg as a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation as he walked down the street with his husband, Chasten.

“What do you have to say to the folks in Ohio, East Palestine, who are suffering right now?” Taer asked the 41-year-old.

“I’d refer you to about a dozen interviews I’ve given today, and if you’d like to arrange a conversation, make sure to reach out to our press office,” Buttigieg responded. “I’d like to have that conversation with you.”

“Do you have a message for them?” Taer persisted.

“I do and I shared that with the press many times today. I refer you to those comments,” Buttigieg repeated.
("The Daily Caller News Foundation" is, of course, the highfalutin name used by the right-wing site co-founded by Tucker Carlson in 2010.)

Today, Buttigieg visited East Palestine, and the Post has a follow-up:
A press liaison for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg refused to discuss her boss’s handling of a toxic chemical spill following this month’s train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, saying she would not answer questions on camera and calling a reporter “aggressive” when she insisted on filming her.

“Why did it take you an entire two-and-a-half weeks to actually get here to respond to East Palestine?” Turning Point USA reporter Savanah Hernandez asked a grim-faced Buttigieg as he entered an event in the town near the Pennsylvania border.

“Will you apologize to the residents of this city for the slow response?” Hernandez persisted as the 41-year-old cabinet member walked away. “Do you have any apology?”

Department of Transportation press secretary Kerry Arndt stepped in, telling Hernandez, “I’m his press person, I can help you,” before adding: “I don’t want to be on camera, please.”

After Hernandez repeated her question about why it took Buttigieg so long to visit, Arndt said, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to do this on camera” before recognizing another reporter.
Unacceptable! How dare Buttigieg and his team treat the media this way?

Of course, right-wingers think it's perfectly fine for Ron DeSantis to behave this way:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office has announced it would be boycotting both NBC News and MSNBC after pushing back on a report by the network’s Chief Washington Correspondent and Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell. “This will be the standard response from our office until @mitchellreports apologizes and your track record improves,” DeSantis’ Press Secretary Bryan Griffin tweeted Wednesday.... [DeSantis's] latest boycott came after an interview Mitchell did with VP Kamala Harris last week. When asking about DeSantis' controversial dismissal of an AP African-American history course, Mitchell asked: “What does Governor Ron DeSantis not know about black history and the black experience when he says that slavery and the aftermath of slavery should not be taught to Florida schoolchildren?” ... Mitchell did issue a clarification to her “imprecise” question on the air—but that wasn’t enough for Griffin, who announced the boycott Wednesday and claimed DeSantis won’t appear until Mitchell corrects the “blatant lie.”
("DESANTIS SHOWING HOW IT’S DONE," wrote Glenn Reynolds.)

DeSantis's people are always this hostile:
Gov. Ron DeSantis’, R-Fla., office had harsh words for the mainstream media’s shift in reporting what they referred to as "forbidden facts" on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rapid response director Christina Pushaw penned a Twitter thread on Tuesday on a New York Times opinion piece admitting "The Mask Mandates Did Nothing. Will Any Lessons Be Learned?"

"Today, the New York Times published a Forbidden Fact. It only took them THREE YEARS. Now, where does @GovRonDeSantis get his apology?" Pushaw tweeted.
Press secretary Bryan Griffin also weighed in:
In an exclusive statement to Fox News Digital, Griffin further decried the media for waiting nearly three years into the pandemic to acknowledge different perspectives.

... "In Florida, we will not let the media or the biomedical security state have the chance to downplay their harms and do this to the public again."
I actually think Buttigieg's handling of East Palestine has been an unforced error. He and the rest of the Biden administration might be doing all the right things, and much of what needed to be done first might have been the bailiwick of the EPA rather than the Transportation Department, but sometimes you need to make a gesture just to get the skeptics and haters off your back, so he probably should have visited the town sooner. And while I don't blame Buttigieg and his team for wanting to blow off right-wing propagandists disguised as reporters, every public moment in which he or an aide appears testy is inevitably going to be exploited by the right. We like our politicians gregarious and glad-handing in America.

On the other hand, Ron DeSantis won a landslide in 2022 while being boorish and unlikable. His relentless hostility doesn't seem to be slowing his rise to national prominence. But if you're a Republican, it's okay if you're an asshole. A third of the country will be delighted, and another ten or fifteen percent will vote for you just because you have an (R) next to your name. Blowing off the media, or anyone else, won't be a problem. It's only a problem if you're a testy Democrat.


Don Lemon has now returned to CNN after saying last week that Nikki Haley "isn't in her prime" because she's over the age of 50. Whether you agree or disagree with CNN's decision to welcome Lemon back, rest assured that right-wing pundits think you're evil.

Former Fox host Megyn Kelly told fellow Fox alum Glenn Beck that CNN is evil for not firing Lemon:
"I thought, 'that is the face of a black gay male is uncancellable,'" Kelly [said] and claimed if Beck had "said anything close to as misogynistic as what he said," he would already be fired.

She added that because Lemon was Black, gay, liberal and a man, he allegedly gets "protections that the rest of America doesn't get."
But at FoxNews.com, Tammy Bruce countered that liberals are evil because we want Lemon fired.
... almost immediately the cancel culture mob had formed. As someone who has worked most of her adult life advocating for women, I agree that pushing back on bigotry like this that demeans women is a must. However, demanding that Lemon lose his job goes too far. Firing him would normalize the expectation that someone will be professionally and personally annihilated for a dumb comment, backward attitude, or unapproved opinion.

Courtesy of bloodthirsty Marxists disguised as American liberals, the scourge of cancel culture has been charging through Western civilization like a monster truck speeding through the Mojave Desert, with piles of hapless victims smashing against the windshield at record pace.
(I'm pretty sure a monster truck speeding through the Mojave Desert would hit very few people, given the fact that the Mojave is, y'know, a desert. But I guess I'm just being an evil liberal who wants to cancel Bruce's metaphor.)
For conservatives and the increasing numbers of classical liberals who have spoken out against the cancerous nature of cancel culture, we need to resist indulging in the temptation of schadenfreude. Lemon’s latest foot-in-mouth episode presents a perfect opportunity to stand against his presumed annihilation and be consistent with our rejection of the left’s attempt to train us all into becoming cancel culture assassins.
So now we're assassins who kill people with cancer, or maybe with monster trucks. Have I got that right?

But we're evil even if we don't want to run Lemon over with a tumor:
While many expect Lemon’s career to be over, CNN Chairman Chris Licht thought a different approach is warranted.... Licht said in a memo to CNN staff: "’I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation. He has agreed to participate in formal training...."

Licht’s attitude is a perfect example of how to proceed without bending to the mob that wants someone stoned to death because they expressed wrongthink.
(Just to recap: Now we're stoning him. With a tumor. From a monster truck.)
But with this step away from cancel culture, a bigger question emerges from his announcement. What is the "formal training" Lemon will now undergo?

"Training" like this is something that the left has concocted to reinforce fear and insecurity in the minds of every American. Such training is not meant to solve a problem, but rather to normalize the notion that people who hold or express forbidden opinions are psychologically disturbed and must be treated as such. That is the goal of the left. Not solving, but using a situation to further their agenda of fear, division and control.
So according to Megyn Kelly, we're depraved if Lemon isn't fired, but according to Tammy Bruce, we're totalitarians if Lemon merely sits through a training session. We are irredeemable!

Meanwhile, over at Breitbart, John Nolte says that right-wingers should forgive Jane Fonda for her trip to North Vietnam in 1972, for which she's apologized many times:
Should someone who has repeatedly apologized over four decades still be called on the carpet and asked to continue to explain herself?

I don’t think so, and I say that as someone who is not a fan of Jane Fonda the person....

I will tell you right now that half the problems in this country stem from refusals to accept apologies.
I'm sure it won't surprise you that Nolte is saying he wants to forgive Fonda so he can attack the left for what he regards as a worse crime:
All of America’s manufactured racial problems come down to a group of leftists (of all colors) who refuse to forgive and move on when it comes to slavery and Jim Crow. It’s not enough that hundreds of thousands of white Americans died to settle the matter of slavery. It’s not enough that after 5,000 generations where slavery was accepted as normal, it was Western Civilization that put an end to it. It’s not enough that two Constitutional amendments were passed to end American discrimination or that a black president was elected and re-elected, or that no American living today has ever owned or been a slave.

Why is it not enough?

Because with these race hustlers, fascists, and crybabies, it can never be enough. By not accepting America’s countless apologies and countless attempts to atone, they keep us divided, at each other’s throats, angry, and unable to heal.
But besides reminding us that the right thinks the only dangerous form of racism is pointing racism out, this draws our attention to the fact that right-wingers -- who rail against "cancel culture" at every opportunity -- would love to cancel Jane Fonda, and have wanted to cancel her for half a century. In fact, it's killing them that they can't cancel her, because evil liberal Hollywood keeps giving her work (which evil ordinary citizens pay to see). The Breitbart commenters hate Nolte's column, even though it attacks liberals as "race hustlers, fascists, and crybabies," because canceling Jane Fonda is still a top agenda item for them:
The motion passes, Jane Fonda can get a traitors welcome in hell.


She should have been executed, not trying her for treason was a mistake.


The face of Hanoi Jane remains on the urinal screen at our Legion Post to encourage veterans to aim a little more carefully.
FJB and Fonda too!


I don't even know why we HAVE a CIA if she doesn't just get disappeared
So they'd clearly like to mow her down in the desert with a monster truck that throws cancerous stones made of urine. But it's cancel culture when we want someone to attend a corporate training session.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023


Last week, when Donald Trump declared that he was "having a change of heart" on mail-in voting and "ballot harvesting," I asked whether he was encouraging Republicans to cheat in the 2024 election. I asked because he was addressing Republicans, who tend to assume that Democrats use laws allowing mail voting and third-party collection of ballots as an excuse to stuff ballot boxes with fake votes. Trump was telling Republicans to do what Democrats do, so it seemed to me that he was telling them to do what they think we do -- cheat.

A campaign appearance Monday night provided more evidence that voter fraud is what Trump is recommending:
The president ... took questions from the audience on Monday night. One woman posited, “So, we can sit here but nothing means anything unless we have a valid election. What will we do to change it now?”

Trump replied:
“Yeah, I agree. So, it’s such a great question – it’s a question I would ask first all the time, because we have to get in. So, what we’re going to do is number one, they collect and they harvest ballots – in many places it’s illegal, but they do it anyway. We’re going to have to get a lot of ballots. And I was always for Election Day voting, but when I watched what happened in Arizona, where the machines were all broken...Kari Lake had lines so long and the people couldn’t vote because of a big percentage of the machines in Republican areas were ‘broken,’ okay?”
He continued, “What we’re going to have to do is we’re going to have to fight like hell on that day, those few days of the election and we’re going to have to make sure that they’re not going to steal this election from us.”
(Emphasis added.)

Trump said: "We’re going to have to get a lot of ballots." What can that possibly mean except We have to do a better job at stuffing ballot boxes with fake ballots than the Democrats?

They might not succeed, but that's the plan.


Today's Politico Playbook focuses on Senator Tim Scott, who's clearly on the verge of announcing a presidential run. Here's the headline:
Can Tim Scott make the GOP play nice?
And here's Scott "playing nice":
IN IOWA, Sen. TIM SCOTT (R-S.C.) begins his “Faith In America” listening tour, dipping his toe in the proverbial water ahead of a possible 2024 campaign. And this morning, Playbook has exclusive excerpts from Scott’s speech.

... “So, for those of you on the left, you can call me a prop, you can call me a token, you can call me the N-word, you can question my blackness, you can even call me ‘Uncle Tim.’ Just understand: Your words are no match for my evidence. ... The truth of my life disproves your lies.”

You can also plan to see Scott throw some elbows — only don’t expect them to be aimed at fellow Republicans.

“Pretend you were our nation’s greatest enemy,” he’ll say, per the prepared remarks. “Say you wanted a blueprint to ruin America. What would you put in it? First, you’d take aim at our patriotism. [Y]ou’d amplify attention-seekers who say America is an evil country. Make it easy to get rich and famous by feeding the empty calories of anger to people who are starving for hope. In other words ... you’d keep doing exactly what JOE BIDEN has let the far left do to our country for the last two years.”
The press hits the fainting couches every time a Democrat attacks a Republican even mildly, but here's Scott saying that the president of the United States is enabling people who are as harmful as "our nation's greatest enemy" -- and Scott is the nice guy in the race! (This after he's attacked his critics as liars.)

Scott is super-nice, Playbook tells us:
Over his dozen years in Congress, the representative-turned-senator has often avoided the spotlight, shunning the bombast and bluster that many White House hopefuls embrace as they consider presidential runs. Instead, he’s known for his affability and easy smile.
President Biden is letting our nation's worst enemies run amok, Scott says -- affably!
[A] confidant told us that Scott hasn’t harbored long-term ambitions of working in the Oval Office. But he’s been repulsed by the downward spiral of bullying and bomb-throwing that has become the hallmark of politics of late, and feels motivated to do something about it.

He’s never been a fan of DONALD TRUMP’s name-calling. He loathes the suggestion by some on the left that the nation is “racist.” In recent days, he’s cringed at Rep. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE’s (R-Ga.) call for the U.S. to be split into two nations of red and blue states, as well as her suggestion that former South Carolina Gov. NIKKI HALEY is simply a “Bush in heels.” Above all, he pines for a time when Americans could disagree about politics and still be cordial.
Yes, Republicans should refer to political opponents as enemies and liars cordially.
Therein lies one of Scott’s reasons for exploring a 2024 run: A belief that perhaps other Americans are similarly disgusted with the tenor of today’s politics, and want a candidate who will restore civility.

“He really does think that the country is disunified in ways that it doesn't have to be,” said the confidant. “Now, there are plenty of areas where ... there [are] going to be contrasts — no question about it. He just thinks there is a way to communicate — even with people that are never going to vote for you — and do it in a winsome way.”
The way to communicate "contrasts," I guess, is first to persuade the media that you're an even-tempered guy and then attack Democrats the way every other Republican does. If you can pull that off, they'll praise you for "civility." They'll even call you "winsome."

An aside about Marjorie Taylor Greene: I'm now convinced that her approach to politics has the potential to help Republicans. See how she's discussed here. Next to her, Scott looks quite reasonable. I'm sure we'd be told that Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo and possibly even Ron DeSantis look reasonable when compared to Greene.

There's no prominent Democrat who's as extreme, ignorant, or conspiratorial as Greene. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn't -- she's a serious person who'd be a manistream left-liberal politician in any other developed country. The same is true for Bernie Sanders. And Nancy Pelosi, also a serious person, is to the right of both of them. And yet the Republican Party has persuaded its voters -- and many swing voters, and many mainstream pundits -- that these politicians are as extreme and unhinged as Greene. Republicans caricature the three of them and then hang these caricatures around the necks of every Democrat.

Democrats don't have to caricature Greene (or Matt Gaetz or George Santos or Donald Trump) -- the plain truth about these Republicans is damaging enough. But they never succeed in portraying the GOP as a party embodied by Greene or Gaetz or Santos. Even with Trump, it's widely believed that the party will revert to "normal" when he leaves politics.

Every Republican should lose credibility whenever Marjorie Taylor Greene opens her mouth. Instead, we're told that Tim Scott isn't Greene, so it's all good.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023


As I've told you, Ron DeSantis spoke to police officers in three states yesterday, hoping to wrap himself in the flag -- in this case, the Thin Blue Line flag -- as he prepares to announce his presidential candidacy. Jonathan Weisman and Emma Fitzsimmons of The New York Times reported on the DeSantis cop tour -- and revealed that they have no idea where right-wing talking points come from:
“We’re grateful to be here to deliver a very important message, a message about safe communities, the rule of law and about standing by the people that wear the uniform and put themselves at risk to protect us,” [DeSantis] told an audience of law enforcement officers at an Elmhurst, Ill., Knights of Columbus hall, outside Chicago, a city that has been demonized as lawless and ungovernable since Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign.
(Emphasis added.)

How can you possibly cover American politics for a living and not realize that the right has been denouncing Chicago as a lawless hellhole since long before Trump ran for president?

In 2016, Stephen Gossett of Chicagoist recounted the history that these Times reporters don't seem to know:
There is a very simple two-part explanation as to why this happened: President Obama’s adopted hometown is Chicago; and Chicago struggles with gun violence. So its not surprising to find an example that stretches all the way back to Obama’s first presidential campaign....

The practice appears to have spread by the fall of 2009, when [Chicago was bidding for the 2016 summer Olympics and] the horrifying murder of Fenger High School student Derrion Albert became national news. “Community organizing has not stopped Chicago’s teen violence epidemic. The Olympics will not solve this long-festering problem, either,” conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote in late September that year.... As Media Matters pointed out, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Fox contributors S.E. Cupp and Kimberly Guilfoyle all referenced either the Albert video or the panic it inspired to portray Chicago as a den of “lawlessness” unfit to act as host city.

... in the wake of Sandy Hook and other mass shootings ... conservative radio host Dana Loesch said “many Sandy Hooks take place every month in Chicago.” It proved something of an ur-text, inspiring similarly phrased backlash from TheBlaze, Red State, Newt Gingrich, [and] the Wall Street Journal....

[After] the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in February 2012, [when] Rep. Bobby Rush wore a hoodie in House chambers and sought to discuss the Martin killing, Tea Party-sanctioned Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) reprimanded his colleague.

"I hope Congressman Rush will be as outraged with all of the black on black crime going on in the city of Chicago weekend after weekend," Walsh said. "This is where our outrage has got to be as well.”
And so on and so on. There's much more at the link. (Yes, that's the same Joe Walsh who's now a proud Never Trumper.)

It's been obvious for years that political journalists at the top mainstream news outlets don't watch Fox News and don't even watch clips of Fox broadcasts. They never listen to talk radio (or clips) and they don't read transcripts of right-wing broadcasts. That's why they were baffled when Donald Trump won in 2016, and when the Republican Party chose not to abandon Trump after he lost in 2020 and led an insurrection in 2021. That's why, when Dominon's filing in its lawsuit against Fox became public, they wrote horrified pieces with headlines such as "I Never Truly Understood Fox News Until Now."

The majority of what Gossett recounts here wasn't on Fox -- which suggests that mainstream journalists are oblivious to all expressions of genuine right-wing ideological thinking. Or maybe they know what's being said, but they keep telling themselves that surely only a lunatic fringe believes all that nonsense.

Every so often there's an examination of how right-wing thought spreads -- the Times's 2022 analysis of Tucker Carlson's broadcasts was thorough and good -- but there's a sense that monitoring of the right-wing media needs to be done only once every few years, not on an ongoing basis. We covered Carlson; now decent people can go back to ignoring him seems to be the thinking.

If you don't know what the messages are and how widely they're embraced on the right, then you know nothing about a bloc of voters who can decide every contested national election. You also have no idea why Republican politicians have become as extreme as they are -- not only do you not understand how Trump happened, you don't understand what Republicans love about Ron DeSantis and whar extremes he'll go to in order to curry their favor. But the mainstream press prefers to remain oblivious. It's so much easier to uncritically accept the notion that both parties are equally extreme.

Monday, February 20, 2023


Axios's Mike Allen reported this today:
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Fox News' Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot, McCarthy sources tell me.

Carlson TV producers were on Capitol Hill last week to begin digging through the trove, which includes multiple camera angles from all over Capitol grounds. Excerpts will begin airing in the coming weeks.
The Hill adds:
During a press conference last month, McCarthy said he supported the idea of more footage from the Jan. 6 attack being made public....

“I think the public should see what has happened on that,” McCarthy told reporters in January while discussing the footage.

“We watched the politicization of this. I think the American public should actually see all what happened instead of a report that’s written for a political basis,” the GOP Speaker added.
But the footage isn't "being made public." If it were being made public, it would have been made available to every news organization that expressed an interest, on the same day Tucker Carlson's producers were given access to it. Maybe it all would have been posted on a public website, possibly with some redactions for security reasons. It would not have been handed off to a Republican propaganda outlet posing as a news organization, and certainly not to the most dishonest and conspiratorial of that propaganda outlet's prime-time stars.

I know that news organizations sometimes gain exclusive access to particular government documents -- but those are leaked documents, documents released unlawfully because the leaker and the news organization believe they're intrinsically newsworthy. What we have here is an official release of visual information that's in the possession of the government -- but only to one news outlet (although I'm sure selected items will find their way to The Daily Mail, the New York Post, Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and Elon Musk's Twitter). Will The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and CBS ever get access to the entire trove, if it's "public"? If Carlson retains exclusive access -- which we know he'll use to cherry-pick the footage in the service of conspiratorial right-wing narratives -- then McCarthy, at least in this one instance, is openly turning Fox into state TV, with other media outlets relegated to second-class status.

We know which narratives Carlson intends to advance, because we've seen them on his broadcasts: The January 6 protesters were simple patriots who had legitimate reasons to believe the election was stolen; the cops on January 6 were guilty of police brutality, some of it lethal; a man named Ray Epps who was secretly working for the FBI "orchestrated" the unrest to make the MAGA movement look bad. Maybe Carlson and his tape editors will generate a few new conspiracy theories from the footage. But it's all meant to flip the facts on their head.

This is a preview of what might be coming to Washington two years from now, when Republicans might well have full control of the federal government, under President Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis. DeSantis already makes a habit of freezing out the mainstream media and granting full access only to friendly media outlets. The Nieman Lab has a report on how DeSantis worked hand in hand with a newly minted right-wing outlet called the Florida Standard to discredit a Tampa prosecutor who announced that he wouldn't prosecute women seeking abortions: State officials drafted a request for public records relating to the prosecutor and forwarded it to the Standard, which filed it unchanged, not even correcting an obvious typo. The Standard then published reporting based on the documents obtained -- but it eventually became clear that the governor's office leaked the documents to the Standard well before their official release, a fact that the Standard clumsily tried to conceal by citing the documents in a story published mere minutes after their official release.

Republicans have long dreamed of the demise of what they call "the legacy media." They once imagined that bloggers would overthrow established news outlets; now they want to treat mainstream outlets as illegitimate. I'm not at all certain that the Times, the Post, and the major broadcast and cable outlets (apart from Fox) would even be accredited in a DeSantis White House.

We're slouching toward Orbánism. I didn't think Kevin McCarthy had it in him to advance the cause of illiberalism this way, but he's hanging with the Long March Through the Institutions crowd now -- some of it was bound to rub off.


Fox News reports that Ron DeSantis is barnstorming the country in support of big-city police departments. However, he's apparently afraid to set foot in the central parts of those cities:
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to kick off a pro-police tour starting in New York City to speak with law enforcement officers in blue-led cities who feel unsupported.

DeSantis will begin the tour Monday morning by speaking with police officers and law enforcement union officials at a diner in red-leaning borough of Staten Island. The governor will then head to Fort Washington, a Philadelphia suburb, and Elmhurst, Illinois, near Chicago, where he will meet with sheriffs, chiefs of police and other local law enforcement officials, his political team told Fox News Digital.
Chicago, Philadelphia, and the other four boroughs of New York City scare DeSantis because he knows he'd be heckled and denounced there. Maybe he thinks he'd be in physical danger, too -- the logistics of the Illinois visit suggest that DeSantis thinks he's heading to a war zone:
The Chicago Fraternal of Police Lodge has been promoting an event on Monday at an undisclosed location in Elmhurst.

The event is only open to law enforcement officers.
(I bet the attendees won't just be police officers. I'm sure Fox News will find a way to slip a reporter and some cameras in.)

In Chicago, even the candidate in the mayor's race who was endorsed by the police union has denounced DeSantis:
On Friday mayoral candidate Paul Vallas, who is endorsed by the Chicago FOP, said he is disappointed in FOP leadership and there is no place in Chicago for a “right-wing extremist” like DeSantis.

“DeSantis’ record of trying to erase the LGBTQ community, banning books on Black history and much more is not in line with my values, the values of our community, or the values of the rank and file police officers who I believe have no interest in getting swept up in culture wars and national Republican Party politics,” the statement from Vallas read. “I want to build trust between all of Chicago’s communities and the police by holding everyone accountable, because that is the only way we can make our city safer. This decision by the FOP leadership makes that job harder.”
In New York, DeSantis will be backed by a police union leader...
Paul DiGiacomo, president of New York City's Detectives' Endowment Association, will be in attendance at Monday’s event.
But I'm sure DiGiacomo wasn't the police union leader DeSantis wanted to nab. That would be this guy, who in 2020 campaigned for DeSantis's main primary opponent:
When Patrick Lynch stepped up to the podium at the Staten Island GOP “Triumph Rally” earlier this month, he gazed at the nearly all-white crowd, clad in MAGA hats and waving Trump flags, and deemed it “a picture of what America is.”

Lynch, president of the NYC [Patrolemen's] Benevolent Association, spoke to a crowd of about 1,000 with a sermon-like rhythm, railing against “mutt” cop-killers, Black Lives Matter protesters, “a Communist city hall,” “a Socialist city council,” and university professors who teach students to criticize the system rather than salute the flag. High above the crowd was a larger-than-life image of Donald Trump, photoshopped onto a bulging muscular torso, serving as a backdrop to the stage.

Lynch, I'm sure, will endorse DeSantis if he wins the nomination. Maybe then DeSantis will even summon up the courage to venture into Manhattan or Brooklyn.

Sunday, February 19, 2023


As expected, the race for Michigan GOP chair came down to two election deniers, and the crazier one won:
Republicans here, reeling from a midterm election rout that many blamed on the influence of former president Donald Trump, responded Saturday by spurning the former president’s choice for state party chair — and choosing someone even more extreme.

Kristina Karamo, who refused to concede her 14-point loss for secretary of state in 2022, beat former attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, who had Trump’s endorsement, in three rounds of contentious voting.
DePerno lost the attorney general race in 2022 by nearly 9 points. But that's when he made the mistake that probably doomed him in the party chair contest:
... some delegates said they grew to doubt DePerno because, unlike Karamo, he conceded his loss in November.

“Matt ran out on us; he didn’t fight for us,” said Mark DeYoung, a delegate from Harrison, Mich., and chairman of the Clare County GOP.
You're now a RINO if you lose an election and concede.

Karamo warmed up for the party chair election with an edgelord-y speech:
In a Thursday speech to a right-wing “patriot” group in nearby Charlotte, Karamo argued that Christianity belonged at the core of American politics, called evolution “one of the biggest frauds ever perpetuated on society,” and asserted the existence of demons.

“When we start talking about the spiritual reality of the demonic forces, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, this is crazy, we can’t go there,’” Karamo said. “No. It’s like, did you read the Bible? Didn’t Jesus perform exorcisms? ... Scriptures are clear. And so if we’re not operating as though the spirit realities of the world exist, we’re going to fail every time.”
That's fairly typical for Karamo, as CNN noted last summer:
“Abortion is really nothing new. The child sacrifice is a very satanic practice, and that’s precisely what abortion is. And we need to see it as such,” Karamo, a community college professor, said in an October 2020 episode of her podcast “It’s Solid Food” ...

Karamo went on to say in a later episode of her podcast ... that demonic possession is real and can be transmitted through “intimate relationships.”

“If a person has demonic possession — I know it’s gonna sound really crazy to me saying that for some people, thinking like what?!” Karamo said in September 2020. “But having intimate relationships with people who are demonically possessed or oppressed — I strongly believe that a person opens themselves up to possession. Demonic possession is real.”
She calls public schools "government indoctrination camps," refers to evolution as "one of the biggest frauds that have been perpetrated on us," and thinks premarital heterosexual cohabitation leads to the sexual abuse of children:
“When we normalize people fornicating and we normalize people living together with their boyfriends and girlfriends and all that stuff, we open a door for us to get to the point where we have people want to normalize pedophilia,” she said in November.
She's also said that the January 6 insurrection was "completely Antifa posing as Trump supporters." Also, she spoke at a QAnon conference in 2021, although she insists she doesn't believe in QAnon.

But her fame on the right is the result of her focus on election conspiracy theories:
Karamo rose to prominence in Michigan after the 2020 election when she alleged to have witnessed fraud as a poll challenger during the state’s count of absentee ballots. The month after the election, Karamo testified before a state Senate committee, signed onto the unsuccessful Supreme Court challenge to Biden’s win and appeared on Fox News conservative opinion shows to promote her allegations and falsely claim widespread fraud occurred in the state.
This has made her a hero at denialist sites like Gateway Pundit, where she's called the "Savage Angel," a nickname that's catching on elsewhere on the right.

The fact that Karamo is Black doesn't seem to be a problem for Republicans, who embrace people of color when they share the party's most extreme beliefs. (See also: Clarence Thomas, Kanye West, Diamond & Silk.)

Karamo's running mate, Malinda Pego, who's white, was elected co-chair of the state party. She's made the news a few times. Here's a story from last year:
A Muskegon County commissioner tried and failed to pass a resolution honoring a slave owner in the name of Black History Month.

Malinda Pego represents the northern-most portion of Muskegon County, including the area of Holton Township.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Pego proposed a resolution to honor William Ellison for Black History Month.

The resolution failed. Only Pego voted in its favor.

Ellison was a Black slave owner.

Pego states in her resolution Ellison should be honored because of his financial accomplishments as a Black man.
There was also the time she proposed that conservative districts secede from Muskegon County. And the time she defended a fellow commissioner who called a third member of the commission a "little queer" on Facebook. And the time she urged the county to disband its hazmat team, saying, "We are not in the market to save people's lives." (The hazmat team had cost the county $16,000 the previous year, which is less than ten cents per resident.)

I hope this is political suicide for Michigan Republicans, but I bet it won't be. Recent polling shows that President Biden would beat Donald Trump by 4 in the state -- an uncomfortably close margin. The race for the Senate seat that's being vacated by Debbie Stabenow is rated "lean Democratic" by the Cook Political Report.

For some reason, the Democratic Party can never make conspiracy crackpots the face of the party. I'm not sure why. There's so much to work with here.

Saturday, February 18, 2023


Today would have been the 92nd bithday of the Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, who died in 2019. There's a commemoration of Morrison on the Fox News website that's fairly respectful of the author and her works.

The commenters, however, show a lot less respect:
Only good news she’s dead


Toni Morrison - never heard of her.


Yes you have, she sang for The Doors...


I've always contended that she is more of an affirmative action read. But she is very popular with virtue signalers.


Only ten more days 'til the end of BHM.
(Black History Month.)
Then we have to hear about gays for a month.


They should be able to take out at least a hundred more of their "brothers" by then.


Meanwhile, 90% of people are like....who?


More like 99.99%.


No, she was never a 'household name', as stated by the article.


if she had been, she likely would have been canceled, like Aunt Jemaima!


You weren't alive during her time. Nor were you alive during slavery. Let's move on, can we?


Unfortunately, One has to Wonder if She actually Achieved her acclaim do to her Talent or her Skin Color.

Thank The Make Believe People for Equality of Outcome which You Always have to Question Now.

Shalom, My Sista.


In that one picture she looks similar to Aunt Jemima that was removed from the syrup label because it was demeaning to blacks.


How can this be?

We are being told and our children taught that white privilege prevents blacks (especially women) from achieving anything in life?


On this day in history in 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was inaugurated in Montgomery, Alabama.


A Democrat who started the Civil War set up a concentration camp giving the command to a German immigrant named Wirz. Then when Jeff was captured, he was wearing women's clothing! LOL

It seems the Democrats have not changed that much!


How about a Swampy Washington Democrat who married a Democrat President's daughter who started the War Between the States. I'd accept that characterization. Aren't you proud that the US Republicans hustled the first Jewish Cabinet secretary in North America out of town forever as a result? Republicans sent the democrat jew Judah Benjamin back to England (where he was elected an MP)?

Oh, so history isn't really your strength?


When Morrison was about two years old, her family's landlord set fire to the house in which they lived, while they were home, because her parents could not afford to pay rent. Her family responded to what she called this "bizarre form of evil" by laughing at the landlord rather than falling into despair. Morrison later said her family's response demonstrated how to keep your integrity and claim your own life in the face of acts of such "monumental crudeness.


No source == Lie. Morrison wasn't even old enough to remember this. It's someone else's lie ABOUT her.


Please provide documented proof of this assertion. Thank you.


In today's example of "never happened"
(The story appears in a 1993 Washington Post profile of Morrison, in which she doesn't claim to remember the fire, but recalls being told about it. A 2003 New Yorker profile says the home was an apartment.)
Should it be toast or a bagel this am? Toast is good with a good grape jelly but im thinking cream cheese with the bagel. Any thoughts?


The Philly Cheesesteak is one iconic, tasty sandwich.


On this day in history my great grandpa had the hiccups.


,,,I remain hopeful to have a cheese, onion, bacon omelette this morning, if my wife accommodates me.,,.


Wife?.... Not Baby Mama? How dare you!


In short, a black woman wrote a book.


She learned to read and wrote a book.

That’s nice.


They have to fill Black History Month with something.


This has been a public service announcement from Woke FoxisDisney


Yet another oppressed black militant who has fought a lifetime of racism, and yet managed to win a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize and earned a few million on the side....America is truly the land of opportunity FOR ALL!!


Has to be kinda embarrassing fir the Africans as this is the best they can come up with to fill the giant void of black history month


blacks never got to the wheel. what do you expect?


Quota article?


When is it OJ's turn for Black History month recognition ?


The black race trots out these halfies and octoroons and claim some type of accomplishment?

If they are not railhead blue gums, then you have nothing!


Not my culture.


blm terrorist month filler material... tomorrow will be a review of morris day and the time...


Who? Does she know who her daddy is?


she’s not an american.
I understand that many people don't read literary fiction and don't understand why they should care about it. But I'm reasonably certain that there wouldn't be this kind of nastiness if Fox decided to commemorate the birthday of, say, John Updike.

This is the Republican voter base. Every day these people are told which groups and individuals aren't worthy of being treated as humans, and they've now internalized a very long list of those who are deemed unworthy. We can't reach these people. We can only try to outvote them.

Friday, February 17, 2023


What are these people thinking?
Republican presidential candidates will be blocked from the debate stage this summer if they do not sign a pledge to support the GOP’s ultimate presidential nominee, according to draft language set to be adopted when the Republican National Committee meets next week.

The proposal sets up a potential clash with former President Donald Trump, who has raised the possibility of leaving the Republican Party and launching an independent candidacy if he does not win the GOP nomination outright.
I'm sticking with my prediction that Trump won't run third party -- he'll never put together a team sufficiently competent to get him on all fifty state ballots and he won't want to lose twice in one year. But I think this will cause a problem for the GOP long before the primary voting starts.

It's safe to say that Trump won't sign this pledge. Why should he? Do you think he needs to introduce himself to the American public via the debates?

He'll simply refuse to sign, which means he'll look to his base like a tough guy playing hardball against "the Establishment" or "the Swamp" or whatever he'll call it. This will thrill those voters. It could also mean much lower ratings for the debates. Will people seriously want to watch Larry Hogan trading barbs with Mike Pompeo while Will Hurd raises an index finger and asks to be included in the discussion? Of course not. Who cares about those people? Viewers will want to see the guy who's a no-show. They'll want to see what he has to say to all those also-rans, as well as to Ron DeSantis. Trump knows this. So he'll wait for the party to beg him to debate.

In an August 2015 debate, Trump refused to pledge his support to a nominee other than himself. He signed the pledge the next month, but then abandoned it in March 2016. This time, Trump might not bother to capitulate, even temporarily. He doesn't need the exposure.

So Trump might never participate in a 2024 primary debate. Maybe that's what the party wants, in the vain hope that his absence from the debate stage will cut into his vote. It won't. It will just make him look like a threat to politcal insiders. That's his comfort zone.