Thursday, July 30, 2020

Joe Biden the Trojan Horse

by Russell Dobular
In spite of what you might have heard, Democrats aren’t stupid. Nor are they spineless, cowardly, incapable of messaging, or any of the other things offered as explanations for their decades-long failure to win most elections in most places, or to secure meaningful policy reforms for their voters. In the now famous words of Marco Rubio, spoken during his campaign-ending broken robot moment on the 2016 debate stage, “Lets dispel with this fiction that Barrack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.” 
Yes, he does.  And so does the rest of the Democratic Party.  If you understand the Democrats as a party whose first priority is to win elections and then serve their voters once in office, then you have to look for far-fetched explanations for their actions, which often appear to be completely at odds with those objectives. What party eager to win over the middle of the country would repeatedly vote to make a wealthy San Francisco doyenne like Nancy Pelosi their Speaker? She’s a walking advertisement for the image of Democrats as a party of out of touch elites, more concerned with arcane speech codes than labor laws. But if you understand the Democrats as a party primarily concerned with raking in big bucks from wealthy donors, while drawing enough superficial distinctions with their opponents to maintain their identity as a separate party, then everything they do is pretty frikkin’ brilliant. Like forcing Joe Biden on their voters.

click on the link to read all

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Republican Evaluates Our "Peerless" Leader

Over the weekend, Republican Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain's 2008 campaign for president, was interviewed on MSNBC.
In response to a very general question regarding the Trump Presidency, Mr. Schmidt spoke for two solid minutes and gave the most insightful and brutally honest response of what the Trump Presidency has done to our great country.
“Donald Trump has been the worst president this country has ever had. And, I don't say that hyperbolically. He is. But he is a consequential president. And, he has brought this country in three short years to a place of weakness that is simply unimaginable if you were pondering where we are today from the day where Barack Obama left office. And, there were a lot of us on that day who were deeply skeptical and very worried about what a Trump presidency would be. But this is a moment of unparalleled national humiliation, of weakness.”
"When you listen to the President, these are the musings of an imbecile. An idiot. And I don't use those words to name call. I use them because they are the precise words of the English language to describe his behavior. His comportment. His actions. We've never seen a level of incompetence, a level of ineptitude so staggering on a daily basis by anybody in the history of the country whose ever been charged with substantial responsibilities.”
"It's just astonishing that this man is president of the United States. The man, the con man, from New York City. Many bankruptcies, failed businesses, a reality show, that branded him as something that he never was. A successful businessman. Well, he's the President of the United States now, and the man who said he would make the country great again. And he's brought death, suffering, and economic collapse on truly an epic scale."
"And, let's be clear. This isn't happening in every country around the world. This place. Our place. Our home. Our country. The United States. We are the epicenter. We are the place where you're the most likely to die from this disease. We're the ones with the most shattered economy. And we are, because of the fool that sits in the Oval Office behind the Resolute Desk.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Cancel Culture

Evergreen Review

From our editor-in-chief. Geez, doesn't he have enough enemies!?

Dale Peck
July 8 at 2:40 PM
I'm not going to link to it because that's pretty much the only reason it was written, but I do want to take a moment to call out the preposterous letter about cancel culture in Harper's that's making the rounds. As Holly Hughes says on her page (which is private): the timing on this thing is suspect. Not that I don't believe in nuance in ethical matters, but people are fighting and dying in the streets for basic human rights, and calls for restraint strike me as little more than a defense of the status quo. And when Brooks and Frum and Fukuyama are among the signatories, you gotta ask yourself why this, and why now?

But the content of the letter is itself a whole lot of nothing. It talks about cancel culture as though it were a monolithic phenomenon, which it's not, but also as though cancel culture is constantly being deployed as an argument ender, which it also isn't. God knows the anonymity and physical remove of internet conversations empower a certain kind of trollish behavior, but the contemporary dialogues around race, gender, sex, and the other kinds of issues with which cancel culture is associated are incredibly broad, diverse, and insightful. If they're also often contentious, they should be: these are things that matter, things that touch the core of what it means to be human and to be a member of a society. People *should* care about them, emotionally as well as intellectually. And if they sometimes fight about them, well, that's what words were invented for: so we wouldn't have to stab someone in the gut to tell them we disagree with them.

And really, was there no distinction to be drawn between the garden-variety social media user expressing their outrage as an individual, and the professional critic who puports to act in defense of or on behalf of a group of people, and the agitprop con artist who's being paid to stir shit up? All these players have different motivations and different stakes in cancel culture, and it's meaningless to address them as though they were acting and thinking identically. I say this as someone who's been cancelled a couple of times in his career (and who's also defended people and institutions who were the targets of cancel culture, including Charlie Hebdo, Woody Allen, and Azealia Banks): there isn't a standing army of liberals that spends all day trolling the internet just looking for lives and careers to crush. And also: the cancellers aren't always wrong. Cancelling Roseanne, whose TV show is one of the great feminist statements of our time, and Paula Dean, whom I've always found kind of gross, were both great decisions. Systemic racism, homophobia, misogyny, etc., all count on good-intentioned liberals to patiently point out why maybe one might want to avoid comparing black people to monkeys or yearning for plantation days, as if the only reasonable response to that kind of rhetoric wasn't simply, "Fuck you, you fucking racist, fuck off." JK Rowling was banking on exactly this sense of liberal fair play when she wrote her recent letter attacking transmen. She used the same rhetoric of compassion and reason on display in the Harper's letter, as if to say that hers was an intellectual point of view, when the fact is it was nothing more than a hate-filled screed defaming transmen as confused, damaged sexual predators who hate women so much they want to make them not exist. There's no need to say anything nice to that. She knows full well that her arguments rely on lies and innuendo and more lies. All you need to do is flip her the bird and turn your back on her.

For this letter to mean anything at all, it needed to cite instances in which cancel culture stifled necessary debate rather than simply (and usually temporarily) silencing a person who was doing active harm with their words. Are we really supposed to wait till R. Kelly is convicted of raping god knows how many girls before we stop buying his records? Is there anything to say to Louis CK except buh bye, turns out you really were the hypocritical sack of shit you were always telling us you were? And on the flip side: is it actually necessary to argue that you shouldn't wish death on someone, let alone threaten to kill them, because they defended a bigot's right to free speech or characterized Pete Buttigieg as a wolf in pink wool? I mean, the best answer these letter writers could give is that these weren't the kinds of cases they were referring to. To which I would have to respond: well, what *are* the cases you were referring to? Instead of drooling out a lot of liberal pablum about "inclusion" and "free exchange of ideas," which are so bland as to be both incontestible and completely irrelevant, perhaps you could show us a few instances in which cancel culture was in the wrong. (God knows there are lots of them. Hint: me! I'm one of them!) But that might put them in the uncomfortable position of having to defend someone whose position might in fact be indefensible, which one senses they don't have the stomach for. Or perhaps they're simply afraid of becoming targets themselves. In which case I would say: you picked the wrong job.

Believe me, I'm not saying cancel culture is perfect. (Have I mentioned that I've been the target of cancel culture? It's terrifying and soul-crushing and financially ruinous.) All I'm saying is that despite its many failings, cancel culture isn't something that can be understood as a singular phenomenon that means the same thing to all people in all instances. If being members of a "liberal society" requires us to do anything, it's to judge individual actions rather than hide behind blanket condemnations. We all know there are times when cancel culture is guilty of the latter, and by all means let's call it out. But as far as I can tell the whole point of this letter is to condemn cancel culture because it stifles thought by shaming people, and yet that's pretty much the only thing it's doing. Which is, you know, rich. Not as rich as JK Rowling maybe, but pretty damn rich.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Trump Speech on Stolen Ground

”Last night, the Trump administration played the song “Garryowen” before the fireworks. “Garryowen” was the official battle tune, and nickname, of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The tune has come to symbolize the wholesale massacre of Native Americans at the hands of white people. And someone in the Trump camp thought it would be a good idea to play that tune at an event staged on land stolen from Native Americans. (The Treaty of Fort Laramie, in 1868, gave the Sioux Nation possession of the Black Hills, but the U.S. Government broke the treaty). This is a special kind of dog whistle. It probably meant nothing to the MAGA folks in the crowd, but Native Americans know what that tune means.
He then started his speech, on land stolen from Native Americans (the Supreme Court ruled on that point), and mentioned that a memorial he would like to see is one for Andrew Jackson, who forced the Trail of Tears on Native Americans.
This is the most vile administration the country has ever seen, and none of it is a coincidence."
Please remember that Trump isn't this smart and keyed in. There's a team of people behind this human shitstain that knows exactly what they're doing to push the cruelest buttons at just the right moments. We've got to get them all out of there and it's not going to be easy or pretty.”
— From Mason Butler
Via Dimitra Stathopoulos