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Category: General

Will the circle be unbroken?

[ 127 ] October 26, 2016 |

Not only did commentorion Yastreblyansky warn everyone that Ross Douthat is wringing his beard over what the Intellectual Right did to deserve Trump, he wrote a blog post about it, and thank goodness for that.

I got to the point where Douthat quotes Matthew Continetti (approvingly!?) and thought Do I really want to do this? And then I started to skim and got to the point where he hypothesizes about what might have been if Bush the Younger had found WMD in Iraq and had not boned up the occupation and I thought No, I don’t.


Life’s been good to him so far

[ 67 ] October 26, 2016 |

joe walsh

The other Joe Walsh is ready to go to war, assuming the war is going to be fought with 18th century weaponry, and/or remains one of those Twitter war things.

Unfortunately some of his more deranged followers may fail to think quite so metaphorically about the matter.

Seahawks Defense

[ 28 ] October 26, 2016 |


The Seahawks defense is one of the greatest of all time, as it has completely dominated the NFL for the last five years, including this year.

The Golden Age of the Democratic Party (TM), the Populist Paradise of the Jim Crow South Edition

[ 97 ] October 26, 2016 |

stromAbove: Oddly, Strom Was Not Filibustering the Taft-Hartley Act

There is the core of a useful point in Matt Stoller’s Atlantic story about “Watergate babies.” I largely agree with him about Carter-era Democrats, although I think he’s completely and obviously wrong to assert that the Democratic Party remains where it was in 1978 or 1994. The historical context presented by the article, however…is remarkable even by “misplaced nostalgia for the New Deal-era Democratic Party” standard. This passage, about the politics of the Jim Crow South, is absolutely astounding:

Competition policy was also a powerful political strategy. Democrats lost the U.S. House of Representatives just twice between 1930 and 1994. To get a sense of how rural Democrats used to relate to voters, one need only pick up an old flyer from the Patman archives in Texas: “Here Is What Our Democratic Party Has Given Us” was the title. There were no fancy slogans or focus-grouped logos. Each item listed is a solid thing that was relevant to the lives of conservative white Southern voters in rural Texas: Electricity. Telephone. Roads. Social Security. Soil conservation. Price supports. Foreclosure prevention.

Did the Democrats maintain their hold on the House because southern politicians ran and acted as economic liberals? This is…utterly wrong, cherrypicked flyers aside. First of all, one thing that doesn’t mention is that the benefits of the New Deal were distributed in a racially exclusionary manner — not all residents of the south had access to the policies offered by those NON-FOCUS-GROUPED flyers. And in related news, most Southern Democrats stopped being economic liberals well before FDR left office. They didn’t just obstruct civil rights legislation — they collaborated with Republicans to stop expansions of the welfare state as well. It’s particularly remarkable that Stoller does not once mention a little thing called Taft-Hartley, which had far more to do with increasing economic inequality that the decline in antitrust enforcement. The fact that it was sustained over Truman’s veto with a majority of Democratic members of the House and 20 Senate democrats seems highly relevant to evaluating the politics of Southern Democrats in the New Deal era. And it would be belaboring the obvious to point out that James Eastland and Strom Thurmond and John Stennis relied rather more on racist demagoguery than economic liberalism when they “related to rural voters.”

I never thought I’d say this, but this is where the misbogotten second volume of Caro’s LBJ bio might have some value. Caro was wrong to conclude that the 1948 Texas Senate Democratic Primary was not “a campaign between a liberal and a conservative” because both LBJ or Stevenson campaigned as reactionaries — New Dealers supported LBJ for a reason. But Means of Ascent certainly provides a more accurate sense of how Southern politicians “related to rural voters” in the Jim Crow south than Stoller’s whitewashed-in-multiple-senses account.

The blow off

[ 46 ] October 26, 2016 |


As some people have been saying for a long time now the Trump “campaign” has always had a lot of the hallmarks of a publicity stunt/straight-up grift that spun out of control, and ended up being far more successful than the original scam business plan envisioned.

This morning’s opening of an already-open future Chapter 11 asset, which Trump attended 13 days before the election, is just a particularly striking piece of evidence for this theory.

Brian Beutler speculates that it’s not out of the realm of reasonable possibilities that this 73-car pile-up/Everest-sized tire fire ends with Trump simply announcing that the election is fixed so he’s boycotting it altogether. Normally I would say nah that’s just crazy talk, but given that on one level the whole Trump phenomenon is nothing but non-stop crazy talk made temporarily semi-respectable, I don’t think the possibility can be dismissed (although as Beutler emphasizes it remains unlikely).

It would also be the perfect ending to this seventh-rate political satire in which we’re still stuck.

Songs for the Trump Supporters in Lanny Davis’ Head

[ 135 ] October 26, 2016 |

St. Lanny admits that Trump is awful and some of his supporters are deplorable. But he is Very Concerned that people who merely support Trump but don’t go to Trump rallies wearing a shirt with the C-word emblazoned across the front or anything are being subjected to the mean nastiness of mean nasty McCarthyite Liberals bent on publicly shaming nice, thoughtful, non-bigoted Trump supporters. (All none of them.)

Or maybe he’s one of the first wavelets of the flood of Republican Exceptionalism articles that’s heading our way. (e.g. Trump’s humiliating defeat proves that except for a teeny-weeny portion of the population there’s no bigotry in the U.S. – and even then it’s probably socio-economic anxiety or gas cramps – so Democrats need to be nice to Republicans even though they tried to put a shrieking orange scrotum in the White House.)

At any rate, here’s Lanny.

However, I am becoming nervous that some of us Democrats and Hillary Clinton supporters are allowing ourselves to fall into the trap of what I shall call “label creep” — where we increasingly allow accurate descriptions of these radical, hateful Trump supporters to creep into descriptions of anyone who supports Trump.

Could it be that as Trump’s vileness has become so obvious that creatures on Europa are fruluvating their damn sense-palps, so has the fact that support for him is support for his vileness? Of course not. It’s naughty Democrats who are forgetting their inclusivity lessons.

This label-creep phenomenon opens us up to the antithesis of the progressive views and values that has made us proud to be Democrats — specifically, tolerance for political expression and opinions that are different from our own and most importantly, avoiding generalizations and stereotyping.

If you’re so very open minded, why won’t you let people stick their dicks in your ears, tonight? Lanny croons.

I didn’t receive the flyer on being tolerant of intolerant people in my Welcome to the Democratic Party, Comrade packet. However, I do note that during these little finger wag sessions the self-appointed arbiters of civility will never touch on the fact that one’s political expressions and opinions can indicate intense hostility, even if the opinion is delivered in a calm, measured dog whistle.

So Lanny consults his short list of Things That Are Not Done and finds – for example – that one man who says that he personally grabs women by the genitals is dreadful. On the other hand, a bunch of people working to enact laws that would give the state control over a woman’s body the minute she becomes pregnant isn’t on the list, therefore that’s O.K. and Democrats should tolerate those people.
It seems to me that anyone who enjoys this particular flavor of twaddle would say that true tolerance requires true Scotsmen Democrats to tolerate Trump and all of his supporters, even the really nasty ones.

It’s almost as though Davis is full of shit.

Another thing that’s never clearly defined is what form the tolerance is supposed to take. Based on experience the civility arbiter will switch to Dispense Banalities mode and advise everyone to be the better person and show some respect and to not sink to their level.

If necessary they’ll come up some sort of false equivalence, such as

I am hearing more and more instances of the public shaming of anyone who is a Trump supporter or donor, regardless of whether these individuals disagree and repudiate Trump’s bigoted words and the hate speech and conduct of his most extreme supporters.

Again, it’s really hard to shake that suspicion that he’s chock full o’ shit. Public shaming is a thing that doesn’t happen but is supposed to be as bad as (if not worse) than doing whatever it was that goaded one person into saying another person is a bigoted dickweed in the first place. I think it was created by the sort of weasels who think people should protest oppression by writing polite, short, letters to their elected representatives. But who knows or cares?

As for the idea that some supporters and donors just signed up for the travel and the water-skiing, not the killing further enrichment of the rich and protecting the zygotes, not the comments about Mexican rapists: Certainly there are Republicans who’d like everyone to pretend this is the case. After all, this is a group of people who wanted everyone to pretend that their tooth and nail fight against allowing two adults of the same gender to marry was about protecting families. (And if you didn’t believe them, you could ask their divorce attorneys!)

What I have yet to see is a reason I should enable these people by accepting their version of reality, other than they and skin wasters like Lanny want me to, so fuck ‘em.

I hear about thoughtful, non-bigoted people who are for Trump and who have become fearful of wearing a Trump button in public or admitting to their political preferences to friends, at dinner parties or at work.

I find a thoughtful Trump supporter as plausible as a non-bigoted Trump supporter, and both are more plausible than anything that includes non-ironic mention of dinner parties.

Final rating: A solid 5 out of 5 Turds.

Some Important Wednesday Links

[ 88 ] October 26, 2016 |

Yooooge. Classy. The Best.

[ 230 ] October 26, 2016 |


What will one hundred American dollars buy you at the largely empty Donald Trump-branded hotel in D.C.? About what you’d expect:

The bar at the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, Benjamin’s Bar and Lounge, is a sprawling space with high ceilings, few customers and too-sweet cocktails that go for $20 to $100, the most expensive being the bar’s namesake, a concoction of rye, potato and winter wheat vodka, shaken and served with raw oysters and caviar. There is also, inexplicably, a section of the menu called BY THE CRYSTAL SPOON that offers literal spoonfuls of wine for anywhere from $15 to $140. The venue is decorated in blue and white, with plush stools made of velvet and a mirrored wall of empty, crystal barware.

It doesn’t carry the parody of “what rich people would like drink” quite far enough. Take out the rye, add another type of vodka (preferably one with gold leaf), shave some truffles over the top, and charge $1,000. Offer a $5 discount off a spoonful of wine with your fifth purchase.

Anyway, this liquor won’t move itself, so they’re getting some marketing oomph:

On Wednesday morning, he will take a break from his campaign-trail duties, which at this point consist of rallies designed to flatter his ego and pander to people who already support him, to appear here for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Well, in fairness, even this bar is probably a better investment at this point.

Today in the Post-Racial Society

[ 34 ] October 26, 2016 |


I interrupt my avalanche of work to bring you this delightful story from the post-racial paradise of Mississippi.

Along a secluded gravel road that runs between a riverbank and cotton fields in the Mississippi Delta region, a purple sign marks the area where Emmett Till’s mutilated body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River in the summer of 1955.

For eight years, the sign has been riddled with bullet holes.

The 14-year-old from Chicago was visiting the South when he was accused of whistling at a white woman and murdered. His death became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement, but several signs meant to memorialize the killing — including the one on the riverbank between the towns of Glendora, Miss., and Webb, Miss. — have been vandalized by spray paint and bullet holes. Others have been stolen.

It took a visiting filmmaker, Kevin Wilson Jr., to rally support for replacing the sign by the Tallahatchie River when he shared a photo of it on his Facebook page this month.

“I’m at the exact site where Emmett Till’s body was found floating in the Tallahatchie River 61 years ago,” Mr. Wilson wrote on Oct. 15. “The site marker is filled with bullet holes. Clear evidence that we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Newt Gingrich is every man who wants women to stop talking about violence against women

[ 75 ] October 26, 2016 |

Stop talking about sex! Why don’t you talk about something important!?!




Update: I received a music suggestion from someone whose opinion I actually respect.

Let Us Dispel With This Fiction That Marco Rubio Is Unbeatable

[ 108 ] October 26, 2016 |


Schumer’s decision to pull out of the Florida Senate race is getting a lot of pushback within the party:

Many Democrats see things the other way. Reid is advocating that the party make an eleventh-hour re-entry into Florida, Democratic sources said. Barack Obama has also taken a keen interest in the race, traveling to Florida to knock Rubio last week. He’ll return Friday to visit Orlando.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has been pleading with former President Bill Clinton to get Democrats more interested in the Florida contest, sources familiar with the matter said. Bill Clinton himself believes Democrats gave up on the race prematurely and is urging Florida donors to support Murphy.

These Democrats argue that someone — anyone — in the party needs to come through with a few million dollars, perhaps targeting black and Hispanic media, to tip the scales in Murphy’s favor. They believe that Rubio, already wounded from losing his home-state Republican presidential primary, is beatable. Polling on the race has varied but generally shown Rubio with a narrow lead.

The urgency among many Democrats is heightened by Rubio’s status as a rising star in the Republican Party with unquestioned national ambitions. Many Democrats believe the next few days is the best chance to finish him off.

“I understand it’s not Chuck Schumer’s job to worry about presidential politics,” said Steve Schale, who managed Obama’s 2008 campaign in Florida. But “we’re all going to look a little dumb if Rubio wins by 80,000 votes and announces for president in two years.”

If money is burning a hole in your pocket, Wang has added Florida to the Senate ActBlue page.

Can Natural Justice Prevail Over the Cubs?

[ 62 ] October 25, 2016 |


Getcher previews from Keri and Jaffe. The Cubs are a great team, even better than the 103 wins would suggest. Epstein isn’t perfect — when a guy you just have upwards of $200 M to is a healthy scratch with the platoon advantage in Game 1 of the World Series, it’s safe to say you overpaid him — but it’s an outstanding organization. However, the Indians are a very, very good one and have a much better chance of winning a 7-game series than the odds suggest.

It’s easy to give away too much for too little impact in midseason transactions, but the Miller and Chapman trades are examples of really good ones from the standpoint of the contenders. In the case of the Cubs, I can see an argument that given how young their core of star talent is (and I admire Billy Beane, but Jesus the Russell trade was awful, even worse than the Donaldson fire sale) they paid too much for a half-season of Chapman, but I don’t think so. Baseball history is littered with formidable young talent bases that either didn’t win anything (the Killebrew/Oliva/Allison/Kaat Twins, the Mays/Cepeda/Marichal/McCovey Giants, the Carter/Raines/Dawson/Rogers Expos, the ARod/Griffey/Edgar/Johnson Mariners) or ultimately won a championship but underachieved (the Aaron/Mathews/Spahn/Adcock Braves, the Tigers of the 60s and 80s, the Gooden/Strawberry/Carter/Hernandez Mets.) Young or not you go for it when you can win, and a great reliever is of more value in the postseason than over 162 games. Watching two Hall of Fame managers duel with this talent should be fun.

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