Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Mean Girl Just Jumps Out


So, hat-tip to Gawker for seeing the entire outfit, which reminds me of something I might have worn in high school. This is a US Senator. This is this is a person who apologized to another US Senator in an airport just recently because her constituents still thought she was someone who cared. And to the person who wanted a minute of her valuable time, she said "Noli me tangere".  Clearly she's wearing the hem of her garment closer to her vest for some reason, but she's a woman of mysteries. Evidently.

This gets us back to the age old question of when is it un-feminist to ream out a woman for stuff like her clothing choices or how she chooses to assert her physical boundaries, and whether we're judging too harshly or by standards we wouldn't hold any man up to, and I'm sorry--what is the male equivalent of this outfit? Jeans and a Senor Frog polo? My question is, would a Hill staffer get away with that getup? And is she possibly dressing for the job she actually wants? (Bartender in a college town gastropub?)

Is this some form of protest over being held responsible for people thinking she should probably act and vote like the person she set herself out to be when she ran for office? Is she checking her phone for job offers that are somehow better than being a US Senator--a person with actual power to effect change if she felt so moved? 

Am I being mean? Because something about her whole deal is just exceptionally vexxing to me, and I am not liking it. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hey, Check Out Book-Banning Becky!


Was it really just the beginning of this year that conservatives were all over the place whining about how cancel-culture was ruining Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head? And now, GOP VA gubernatorial hopeful Glenn Youngkin is hoping to win his race by featuring the "powerful story" of....

A book-banner, Laura Murphy. Her nearly-college age son was assigned a book in his AP English class which he totally could have opted out of reading, but because it gave him bad dreams (so the story goes) she wanted to have a talk with, uh. The manager of books, I guess. Which is all around a really weird reaction to a Pulitzer prize winning novel that is often read in high school classrooms, but probably wasn't really written for young Blake.  Or at least, not specifically, and maybe that's what really ground Ms. Murphy's gears. 

Now, the lad was hardly scarred for life by the book, but I don't know. Having his mommy tell everyone he was reduced to night terrors to promote a political agenda feels like he may have other issues in his life. But let's say the book truly did disturb him--what is a parent to do?

How about: talk to your kid? See, this is what bothers me about the whole "anti-CRT" movement as well while we're here. You are raising kids to be adults that will live in a real world where bad things happen. Schools can provide a place of physical safety, but they can't always protect from emotional discomfort. Of course, history and literature have tragic and uncomfortable aspects. But if a parent wants to guide their kid, instead of limiting exposure to difficult topics, how about--talking to them! 

But back to the irony--well, there isn't any, really. Youngkin is just reaching for culture war content in the hopes that it nails the race down for him. Sure, you could infer that there's something a little hypocritical about conservatives decrying cancel culture and complaining about woke snowflakes who need safe spaces, when actually, conservatives are fine with cancelling content that makes them uncomfortable and impinges on the safe spaces of white privilege. But that would just be critical thinking on your part.

The culture war wants nothing to do with that, thank you. And unfortunately, an ad where McAuliffe is the bad guy for not sparing young Blake and his concerned mom from the horrors of the icky book might even be sadly effective. I think it's pitiful, because this tells you nothing about Youngkin--other than he thinks this is a winning message, but as policy, it amounts to "Something something schools, something something, I'll let parents pick what books we don't teach."  Which honestly doesn't seem ideal at all. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

TWGB: Wild at the Willard


The fantastic Washington Post story regarding the "war room" at the Willard Hotel is a great start for the public recognizing that several organizations, and members of congress and close Trump associates, clearly were together before the 1/6 riot planning an insurrection. The Willard was a who's who of who's insurrectionist. It was a Trumplandian Woodstock. Flynn, Stone, Bannon, Giuliani, Eastman. Bernie Kerik was there. OAN's Christina Bobb was there, like a whole pretend journalist wearing her campaign lawyer hat. There was activity working on state legislators to see what they could do to overturn the results in their states. They were working on US Members of congress to see that they would reject certain states' electors.

(I think there have been folks who also need to be pointed out for having seen the connection to the Willard Hotel, like Sandi Bachom, and Seth Abramson. Follow them on Twitter, you guys, I do.)

Anyway, activists who were in the loop have been talking, and it sure seems like GOP members of congress and folks from the White House were all over the events of 1/6, according to Rolling Stone's reporting

Now, this doesn't really strike me as much more than Ali Alexander has been saying all this time: there was coordination all over the GOP. The more interesting details to me are things like Rep. Gosar actually holding out the idea of a blanket pardon to potential malefactors (which never materialized) as if to magnify on Trump's one-time promise to pay the legal fees of people who "knock the crap out of" protesters. The assurances that Mark Meadows was 100% in the loop, demonstrating that the White House would have been aware of the rough edges of what could happen (or were they even more aware than roughly? Which makes the delay of the DC National Guard being called in really suspect, no?) 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

View From an Ohio Bunker


I've been following the Ohio Republican Senate primary with interest because it really feels like a dance-off between two jerks with no rhythm. J.D. Vance is an appalling try-hard, no question, what with tut-tutting the child-free and musing over the ridonk boss Tweets Trump would make in the wake of an actually human person being tragically killed in an accident with liberal Alec Baldwin involved. Because of course, Trump is known for making comments that aren't at all disrespectful, unkind, or outright hurtful. (I mean wait--he is: why do we need that right now, exactly? While people are actually shocked and grieving? To own libs? Or because the faithful need callouses to build up over their human-feeling parts so they can sink still further into deplorability?) 

But Josh Mandel is a special little culture warrior, and from his bunker (under, I presume, freedom's anti-vax cornfield) is suggesting libs (they!) hate "normal Americans" for eating meat (my husband is a meat cutter--I learned that vegetarianism interfered with my drinking so I had to give it up), having babies, guns (I just recommend keeping the babies and the guns in separate spaces is all, we have guns) and for some weird reason, hashtag bitcoin. 

Oh man, I really hate hashtag bitcoin. It's the woooooorst. Hyping assorted forms of funny money that real people invest actual money in feels like a really grifty economics LARP to me. But I see Mandel is committing to his bit, and his bytes

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Can We Handle....The Truth?


I don't know exactly how to explain this, but when I smell a grift, it somehow smells to me like other people are smelling burnt toast--does that make sense?  Anyway, the former president has launched a Space!! Fooooorce!! Distraction!!  social media company which is not either coming out just now as a distraction from other stuff on his plate and totally isn't in line with a certain real estate mogul's penchant for glossily overselling and over-promising things that are...not great, actually. 

The hype says it's going to be publicly traded (hello world of regulations that Trump doesn't usually deal with!) and the hot property TMTG is "valued at up to $1.7 billion".  Up to.  Four little letters just doing their damndest, right there. 

Anyway, the social media platform, which is competing with Twitter, Gab, Parler, Gettr--it's called Правда, I mean Truth, because Trump and friends could still see irony twitching a little bit and wanted to shaft that SOB for good. The business model is "We're going to fight the tyranny of Big Tech by becoming the same thing, only more so." The whole thing feels to me a little like Jared introduced him to some friends that were doing neat stuff with the cyber.  They will also have non-woke streaming programming so it's going to be a fully-integrated self-contained digital TrumpWorld echo-chamber, if it works. 

I am...skeptical. But I like the backwards planet graphic used in the marketing packet because it really feels on point. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

TWGB: Imagine There's No Privilege


Trump's life has been about utilizing privileges to his benefit, whether it's bankruptcy laws that favor wealthy people or having the resources to fund multiple litigations or lean on witnesses nearly endlessly to delay or obstruct justice.  He's basically what you might think of as a vexatious litigant--he uses and abuses legal procedures trying to exhaust justice. His suit regarding his (former) executive privilege is of a piece with his whole life strategy--delay accountability, never be transparent. 

Do Trump's superfans understand that someone who goes to these lengths for reputational opacity is genuinely sketchy as all get out? Because my read on wanting executive privilege for his campaign shenanigans as if his one-term in office gave him perpetual license to bury his faults should be a big red flag that this man is hiding stuff!

So let's talk about the House 1/6 Committee's holdout, Steve Bannon. The committee voted to hold him in criminal contempt of Congress. If he was trying to avoid self-incrimination, one thing he could do is show up and plead the 5th. What he's claiming instead goes along with Trump's delaying tactic--claim a thing that is frivolous, wait for chaos. Bannon's 1/5 podcast suggests foreknowledge of all kinds of shit going down on 1/6. He has also, in the interval since, regularly hosted googly-eyed pillow magnate Mike Lindell on his podcast to chat about voter fraud and Trump's reinstatement. As near as I can tell, Bannon isn't just involved in events leading up to 1/6, but still wants to foment post 1/6 unrest.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Our Better Angels and Our Greater Devils

 Colin Powell knew that the UN speech he gave to lay out the case for war against Iraq on the sketchy basis of their weapons program would haunt him to the end. He was an intelligent man capable of great insight and scrupulous honesty. That's what makes his fault a bit worse: how does an adult, experienced leader go and peddle half truths (and unsubstantiated nonsense) to set the stage for a ground war that he knew would be brutal, that he warned the Bush Administration about (albeit in terms like "the Pottery Barn" rule, which seems awfully flip in the aftermath, doesn't it?) , as if guilelessly led by "a bad crowd"? 

It's impossible. And yet, he was not the worst of the Bush Administration lot, at all; just at the time, so exceptionally disappointing. And also, I believe in his own way he understood the extent to which his reputation was used to promote a war of choice that was not legitimately reasoned, and I note his later support of Obama and his rejection of Trump--but they were low key. 

Could he have served his country better were he more vocal? See, I don't have responsibility to not be vocal, so I say what I want. His position was as a soldier with a respect for civilian leadership who ceded his reputation to the service of his CINC. Maybe he felt that he served best by offering his opinion, but leaving it to the person selected by 5 members of the Supreme Court elected by the people. Maybe he understood, at least since the time he whitewashed the My Lai massacre, He had a vantage to to a political window of how war history got made. 

I don't believe in hero worship. We're all fragile skin sacks barely containing the drama caused by mutant brains that perceive and personify and signify a lot--a blessing and a curse. Colin Powell was better than a lot of our kind are, and not better than he could have been. He was a trailblazer and the people who know him well liked him a lot, but I have noted how one can smile and be a villain, I've noted how intelligent people can be persuaded to get it all wrong and defend getting it wrong long past when it made sense. 

Our better angels sounded in him, and our greater devils also had their way. This man died at the age of 84, with Parkinson's and multiple myeloma, a cancer that sadly, specifically has implications for the immune system, and he died of "Covid-19 complications", which is more like, "COVID-19 was fatal to Powell because of his immunocompromised state". Which, because he was also fully vaccinated, means anti-vaxxers are using his example to wage their war on science. 

This is sadly typical, and not what he or we deserve, It is only too sadly what our greater devils do with themselves, finding a figure to make their mischief with. Once again, his profile is lent to a bullshit right-wing narrative.

But my sympathies and condolences to those who loved him. One could not regret his fault so much, were there not also so much to redeem. And for those whose care for him predated his Iraq/Bush era error, perhaps redemption was never even in question. But I could not post an elegy without a reckoning--this is just my way. 

(Adding: Notwithstanding, read about something like birth defects in Iraq, and see how you feel about anything at all about the US as a country.)

The Mean Girl Just Jumps Out

  So, hat-tip to Gawker for seeing the entire outfit, which reminds me of something I might have worn in high school. This is a US Senator...