Subscribe via RSS Feed

Author Page for Scott Lemieux

rss feed

Dept. of Corrections

[ 155 ] September 29, 2016 |


The following has been added to the article linked here at Tucker Carlson’s International House of Pancakes and Conservative Journamalism:

Correction: The star of Apprentass 4 was Angel Dark, not Alicia Machado

The headline remains “Porn Star Campaigns For Hillary Clinton,” the fact that Alicia Machado is not a “porn star” notwithstanding, and that fact that who cares anyway notwithstanding.

In related news, Newt Gingrich and Jonah Goldberg defend Donald Trump because Alicia Machado was clearly not attractive enough to be Miss Universe.


There Is A New Book Out About the Rise of Adolf Hitler

[ 163 ] September 29, 2016 |


Michiko Kakutani has a review of a new book about Adolf Hitler, which discusses the rise of Adolf Hitler:

• Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.”

• Hitler was an effective orator and actor, Mr. Ullrich reminds readers, adept at assuming various masks and feeding off the energy of his audiences. Although he concealed his anti-Semitism beneath a “mask of moderation” when trying to win the support of the socially liberal middle classes, he specialized in big, theatrical rallies staged with spectacular elements borrowed from the circus. Here, “Hitler adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners,” Mr. Ullrich writes. He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order.

• Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising “to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,” though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, Mr. Ullrich says, the better “to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.”

• Hitler’s repertoire of topics, Mr. Ullrich notes, was limited, and reading his speeches in retrospect, “it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences” with “repeated mantralike phrases” consisting largely of “accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.” But Hitler virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, arguing in “Mein Kampf” that propaganda must appeal to the emotions — not the reasoning powers — of the crowd. Its “purely intellectual level,” Hitler said, “will have to be that of the lowest mental common denominator among the public it is desired to reach.” Because the understanding of the masses “is feeble,” he went on, effective propaganda needed to be boiled down to a few slogans that should be “persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.”

• Hitler’s rise was not inevitable, in Mr. Ullrich’s opinion. There were numerous points at which his ascent might have been derailed, he contends; even as late as January 1933, “it would have been eminently possible to prevent his nomination as Reich chancellor.” He benefited from a “constellation of crises that he was able to exploit cleverly and unscrupulously” — in addition to economic woes and unemployment, there was an “erosion of the political center” and a growing resentment of the elites. The unwillingness of Germany’s political parties to compromise had contributed to a perception of government dysfunction, Mr. Ullrich suggests, and the belief of Hitler supporters that the country needed “a man of iron” who could shake things up. “Why not give the National Socialists a chance?” a prominent banker said of the Nazis. “They seem pretty gutsy to me.”

This has been excerpts from a review of a new book about the rise of Adolf Hitler, which discusses the rise of Adolf Hitler.

The Libertarian Jill Stein

[ 118 ] September 29, 2016 |


When I ranked Gary Johnson above Harambe in terms of his grasp of basic policy issues, I may have been too generous.

Reading Election in the Year of Trump

[ 154 ] September 28, 2016 |


Maureen O’Connor’s reflection on Election is brilliant:

I imagine that how anyone feels about the end of Election will be a Rorschach blot reflecting how you feel about feminism, men’s rights, and who is entitled to what. After some mildly dirty maneuvers, Tracy wins the election. But when Mr. McAllister sees her elated reaction to discovering her win before it has been officially sanctioned, he is so disgusted that he snaps. As Reese Witherspoon bounces around in an over-the-top display of teen-girl giddiness, Broderick intones: “The sight of Tracy at that moment affected me in a way I can’t fully explain. Part of it was that she was spying. But mostly it was her face.” As in, the face of a happy girl who is proud of an accomplishment earned against the odds. “Who knew how high she would climb in life? How many people would suffer because of her? I had to stop her.” What follows is a comedy of errors that, I expect, is not quite as funny now as it was 17 years ago. McAllister rigs the election; Tracy stands up to accept her win; McAllister announces a different winner; and the teen girl is, for the second time in her life, undermined by a lecherous male authority figure who abuses her power to take away what should be hers — her academic life, her love life, her extracurricular accomplishments, her sexuality, her self-esteem — and hands it to some undeserving guy who thinks about his penis a lot. It’s very bleak.

I haven’t read the Perrotta novel, but I actually think (though there is substantial dispute on the point) that it’s true to the spirit of Payne’s film, which understands why its characters resent Tracy but subtly but clearly portrays the sexism and irrationality underlying it.

Christ, What a Pathetic Operation Tucker Carlson Is Running

[ 338 ] September 28, 2016 |

joe-pantoliano-the-sopranos“One. She was a who-were.”

Shorter some Daily Caller hack: “It’s fine that Donald Trump fat-shamed Alicia Machado, because she’s also a slut.”

Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination is truly a mystery that will never be explained.

EpiPen Gougers Dissemble To Congress

[ 81 ] September 28, 2016 |


This is…less than surprising:

Mylan NV on Monday clarified the profit it said it made from its lifesaving EpiPen drug, days after House members badgered the company’s CEO to justify the device’s steep price increases.

Testifying before a congressional committee last week, CEO Heather Bresch said Mylan’s profit was $100 for a two-pack of the injectors, despite a $608 list price.

But in response to questions from The Wall Street Journal, Mylan said Monday that the profit figure presented by Ms. Bresch included taxes, which the company didn’t clearly convey to Congress. The company substantially reduced its calculation of EpiPen profits by applying the statutory U.S. corporate tax rate of 37.5%—five times Mylan’s overall tax rate last year.

Without the tax-related reduction, Mylan’s profits on the EpiPen two-pack were about 60% higher than the figure given to Congress, or $166, it said in a new regulatory filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday. The company said it expects to sell about 4 million EpiPen two-packs in the U.S. this year.

It’s Donald Trump’s America — we just live in it.

BREAKING! Donald Trump Is An Asshole Who Hates Women

[ 320 ] September 27, 2016 |

Here’s an exchange from last night’s debate:

CLINTON: You know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said…

TRUMP: I never said that.

Let’s pause briefly here to note that he did.

CLINTON: …. women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.

TRUMP: I didn’t say that.

CLINTON: And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.

TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?

CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.

TRUMP: Where did you find this?

CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet…

TRUMP: Oh, really? CLINTON: … she’s going to vote this November.

Note that when Trump was accused of calling a Latina woman “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” he didn’t deny he said it, although he spent much of the rest of the evening interrupting Clinton to deny saying things that he has said. Even Trump, if not capable of shame, is capable of recognizing that some of the idiotic stuff he spews is politically damaging, but he was proud of this one. So it’s not surprising that he would reiterate his characterizations sua sponte:

On Fox and Friends Tuesday morning, Trump brought up that moment again — and doubled down on fat-shaming Machado.

“That person was a Miss Universe person, and she was the worst we ever had, the worst, the absolute worst” Trump said. “She was the winner and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”

Trump added that Clinton “went back into the years and she found this girl … and talked about her like she was Mother Teresa, and it wasn’t quite that way, but that’s okay.”

What’s remarkable about the Fox and Friends exchange, other than its cruelty, is that Trump brought up the Miss Universe moment unprompted. It was a moment during the debate that looked bad for Trump, and he had to have known that.

But Trump couldn’t help himself. Much like when he kept attacking the family of a fallen Muslim-American soldier who criticized him at the Democratic National Convention, Trump couldn’t help trying to reassert his dominance after being publicly called out for saying something shameful. And he just didn’t seem to understand how cruel and offensive his comments would sound to most people.


According to Machado, not only did Trump call her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” — he publicly humiliated her for gaining weight after the pageant by inviting reporters to watch her work out at the gym. Machado also said Trump refused to pay her what she was owed for the commercials and promotional work she did after the pageant.

After that ordeal, Machado said she struggled for five years with anorexia and bulimia.

Note as well Trump stiffed Machado financially, another one of his common practices Clinton pointed out and Trump didn’t deny.

One of Clinton’s necessary tasks last night was to throw Trump’s grotesque sexism into sharp relief, and did she ever.

The Clinton Rules

[ 248 ] September 26, 2016 |


“Clinton seemed a little smug. Trump appears to be a carbon-based life form. Let’s call it even.”

OK, OK, this is cherrypicking. But how about the host of Meet the Press?

“The guy was completely unprepared. But the woman seemed kinda…over-prepared. Let’s call it even.”

I just hope these reactions — uncannily similar to the spin of the 2000 debates, only with an even more ludicrously inept and witless Republican candidate — will be the exception rather than the rule this time.

It only took 90 minutes, but Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump fell into a rut that reinforced both of their stereotypes. On most issues, Mrs. Clinton relaxed into wonkery – especially on national security – and delivered wooden lines about eagerly awaiting fact-checks. Mr. Trump’s reactions were a mix of favored rally themes and stream of consciousness boasts, and he interrupted with tangents and confusing non sequiturs, often in praise of himself.

Fucking Politics, How Does It Work?

[ 517 ] September 26, 2016 |


There are really no good arguments for voting third party for president in the currently existing American electoral system. To the extent that third-party voting has any justification at all, there are three bad categories. The first is to argue that it doesn’t really matter because the major parties are essentially the same. Dr. Jill Stein, MD makes this argument:

Admitting Trump is the worst possible thing that could happen to the country, she also says that the binary options amount to “death by gunshot or death by strangulation.”

The main problem with this argument, as applied to the election of 2016, is that it is reflects massive dishonesty, massive stupidity, massive ignorance, or some cocktail of the three. American political parties are polarized to an unusual extent, and the Democrats are far better on a wide range of issues and worse on none.

If one admits the obvious truth that there are material differences between the two parties, there are a couple of terrible arguments one can trot out. The first is the hieghten-the-contradictions routine, which deliberately makes things worse in order to make things better. One example is Jill Stein’s contention that the lesson of Nazi Germany is that it’s better for fascists to take power than to form a coalition with liberals. Rarely has an argument been more convincingly self-rebutted. If one recognizes that heighten-the-contradictions arguments tend to be not merely wrong but monstrous, the next move tends to be “vote Jill Stein — it has no chance of affecting anything whatsoever, but will allow you to pat yourself on the back for being too good to be part of a mere political coalition.” Which doesn’t strike me as a very attractive argument, but whatever. It’s not really one that’s easily available to Jill Stein, however. So there’s another variant, the MORE EFFECTIVE EVIL theory:

“Donald Trump, I think, will have a lot of trouble moving things through Congress,” Stein says. “Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, won’t … Hillary has the potential to do a whole lot more damage, get us into more wars, faster to pass her fracking disastrous climate program, much more easily than Donald Trump could do his.”

The ignorance of basic facts about American politics that this reveals is astounding. The idea that a Republican-controlled House would pass Hillary Clinton’s climate change legislation is as stupid as the idea that Hillary Clinton’s climate change agenda consists entirely of “MOAR fracking plz.” Even worse is the idea that agendas are determined solely by presidents, the assumption that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have no agenda of their own when in fact they have a longstanding agenda they would pass and Donald Trump would allow to pass into law because he has no interest in public policy. The idea that Congress would stop Trump from pursuing military adventurism is comically ignorant of history. Then there’s the fact that she ignores the people Donald Trump would staff the federal judiciary and executive branch with, and also ignores that the only circumstances under which the Senate would fail to confirm is if Trump accidentally chose a non-wingnut. And so on. Although it least she doesn’t make the “sure, Republican presidents will do more bad things, but these bad things will generate more Uncle Sams on stilts” variant of the argument.

If you must vote third party because you’re too good for mere politics, I would again recommend writing in someone more knowledgeable about basic facts of American government, like Harambe.

NFL Open Thread: But He’s Just A Compiler

[ 179 ] September 25, 2016 |


Belichick is now tied for 4th in all-time coaching wins. I think we have to consider the possibility that he’s one of the better coaches in the NFL right now.

Seriously, for those interested in that kind of thing I strongly recommend Dom Cosentino’s piece. Bill James had a piece in one of the Abstracts arguing that one thing that distinguished the first-rate managers from the rest of the pack is that they were not only good the multiple aspects of the job (in-game tactics, managing players and media, and longer-term talent development and evaluation) but were thinking on all of the levels simultaneously. That’s Belichick to a T. He’s an exceptional game-planner and in-game adjuster, and at least a very good talent evaluator and motivator, and he also seems to be able to fuse short-term and longer-tern considerations seamlessly in a way that’s difficult even for good coaches.

I think this also helps to explain the relative failure of his coaching tree — being good at the limited role you have doesn’t necessarily train you to do the other things you need to do as a head coach. McDaniels really does seem to be a first-rate playcaller/gameplanner in Belichick’s system, but no matter how good a tactician you are, it’s not going to make you a good head coach if you’re as bad at picking players and managing them as he was. (To be Scrupulously Fair, no sane organization is going to start McDaniels with personnel control again, and he was young for an NFL coach when he got the Denver job, and it’s possible that he’s matured and would be better working with players now. I still don’t know that I’d want my organization to be the guinea pig.)

What Is Terrorism?

[ 127 ] September 25, 2016 |


Mr. Cetin was active in the Reserve Officers Training Corps, said the former classmate, Uhlaine Finnigan, 19, of Port Angeles, Wash.

She called Mr. Cetin “sexist” and said he would touch girls on their buttocks, “either slapping or grabbing them.”

“He did that to girls of all grades at the high school including my best friend and I, regardless of the blatant disgust from the girls and being told to stop,” she said in an interview by Facebook Messenger. She said he appeared to have few friends.

The attacker at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash., killed four women in the cosmetics section of a Macy’s department store, the authorities said. A man was critically wounded in the shooting and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he died. The youngest female victim was a teenager, law enforcement officials said at a news conference on Saturday morning.

The gunman, who was armed with a rifle, left the scene before the police arrived. Officials said they recovered the weapon at the scene. They declined to give details about the weapon or to say how many rounds were fired. Photographs of Mr. Cetin on a Myspace account showed him holding a handgun and a rifle.

A spokesman for the F.B.I.’s Seattle field office said on Saturday that there was no evidence to suggest that the shooting was an act of terrorism.

Oh. In light of his history of domestic violence, this is relevant:

But if Trump and Gingrich are truly looking to stem terrorism and mass violence of the sort that happened in Nice, they might do better to look to a different kind of litmus test: domestic violence and grievances against women. Early reports suggest that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who drove a rented truck through a crowd of Bastille Day revelers on Thursday night, killing more than 80 including at least ten children, may not have been devout, but he did have a criminal record of domestic violence. A neighbor claimed he would “rant about his wife,” who left him two years ago.

[HT Anderson]

Ted Cruz, Real Man of Conscience

[ 49 ] September 23, 2016 |


Having been criticized for not viewing Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement but also not-not-endorsement of Donald Trump at the RNC as being the clear repudiation of Trump it was generally interpreted as, I am exceedingly non-surprised that by “vote your conscience” he in fact meant “vote for Donald Trump”:

Senator Ted Cruz said on Friday that he would vote for Donald J. Trump for president, two months after Mr. Cruz pointedly declined to endorse his former rival in a speech at the Republican National Convention.

“After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,” Mr. Cruz wrote in a statement on Facebook.

A real profile in courage is Ted Cruz.

Page 1 of 86412345...102030...Last »