Monday, February 19, 2018

What do we talk about when we talk about spreading distrust?


Sometime in the fall of 2017, Russian television picked up an Onion-style story from a French satirical website according to which the Danish government had legalized animal brothels, that there was a place you could go in Copenhagen and pay to have sex with an animal, with a picture of a dog dressed as a prostitute, only in the Russian media it was presented as a true story, pingponging ultimately outside the country to Belarus and Georgia, according to my source, Putin's Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security, a report from the minority staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued January 10.

That story doesn't seem to have gone too far, but you never know. On November 2 2016, the equally Onion-esque story of Hillary Clinton and John Podesta running a child prostitution ring out of a DC pizzeria, piggybacked onto the FBI's startling announcement of State Department emails on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, which had blown up out of almost nowhere with a Facebook post not even mentioning pizza from one Carmen Katz—
"My NYPD source said its much more vile and serious than classified material on Weiner's device. The email DETAIL the trips made by Weiner, Bill and Hillary on their pedophile billionaire friend's plane, the Lolita Express. Yup, Hillary has a well documented predilection for underage girls. . . . We're talking an international child enslavement and sex ring."
—and through thousands of Twitter accounts, made it onto Alex Jones's Infowars show.

The folks from Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, as recounted by Amanda Robb in Rolling Stone, which you totally have to read,

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Lighter Side of Intersectionality

Super tree frog picture I'm not finding a credit for. Here for instance.

David Brooks ("The Rise of the Amphibians") says he's been interviewing Millennials—why do I imagine a voice going, "Dad, this is so awkward"? No, it's not like that at all:

I’ve begun a little tour in which I gather millennials for interviews and ask them what they have faith in and how they are going to lead us in the years ahead.
So I guess he proceeded the same as when he was making his Journey Into the Heart of Whiteness in search of the Trump voter last year, driving to towns he suspected might have some good Millennials and asking the local authorities—ministers, aldermen, a dean in the local college—to hook him up with them. "Kelly, nice to meet you! I'm David! So... ah... what do you have faith in?"

He didn't have anything in particular to say about what they have faith in, but he did notice something nice, though he didn't quite get it:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

For the Record: Hope this is clarifying

A week after the election, via Daily Beast. How much better we'd know your scalp a year later!

For the Record: There will be so many indictments we'll be sick of indictments

Via BitsAndPieces.

It's an unceasing astonishment to me that Trump can seem completely unaware that the predicament of the "incredible kids" is something he caused himself with his "arbitrary and capricious" action, as Judge Nicholas Garaufis of New York's Eastern District called it, in the opinion blocking the action:
If the decision is allowed to go into effect prior to a full adjudication on the merits, there is no way the court can “unscramble the egg” and undo the damage caused by what, on the record before it, appears to have been a patently arbitrary and capricious decision.

Friday, February 16, 2018

For the Record: It's the RPM, Stupid.

Three rounds per minute and sometimes you still needed a sword. Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe, via WhiteRoseWritings.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gun and Done

Drawing by Rob Tornoe, 2015.

I don't see how anything I say is going to interfere with the grieving of anybody's family—I doubt any of the Broward County families whose children, brothers and sisters, and friends and teachers were murdered yesterday are hanging on Twitter waiting to see what Tomi Lahren or I have to say about it. If they are and they'd like us to stop, they're welcome to let me know, but that's not the impression I'm getting from Steph, or Glenn Greenwald's niece, who seem to need to talk, right now:

Ben Shapiro at the Direly Wail claims that

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

More Prayers

Don't have the heart to write much about Parkland, Florida, and another mass murder of children, but something Rubio said got to me:

Trumpism Without Trump

Betty Bronson in the 1924 version by Herbert Brenon of Peter Pan, with Virginia Brown Faire as Tinker Bell, via Raiders of the Lost Tumblr.

Shorter Monsignor Ross Douthat, Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street ("The Pull of Populism"):
Crude and demogogic, haphazard, hypocritical, and often stupid, but you've got to hand it to the Trump administration, they're doing the right thing.
Which is, to be exact, getting the isms under control, with the "nationalism-infused deficit-financed populism" implementing the "Trumpian or George W. Bushian mix of cultural conservatism and economic populism", which sounds like an item from one of those farm-to-table restaurants (Champagne-braised leg of Long Island rabbit in a bath of fennel-infused truffle broth napped with ginger-cloudberry Ranch dressing) but "is in fact the natural basis for an American center-right majority".

Or in English, if you prefer, he thinks there's something there that might win elections, a composite new ism, and if there are any conservatives who don't like it they should shut up.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Use your mentality

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Peasant Wedding, 1567, from Todorf's Pinterest.

Shorter David Brooks, "The End of the Two-Party System", February 13 2018:
All of humanity, or most of it at any given moment, shares this thing I call an unconscious mind-set, and back in the good old days of the early 1990s, which I observed first-hand from Brussels when I was nothing but a young sprout myself, employed by the Wall Street Journal, the unconscious mind-set of the world population was an abundance mind-set, which means that everybody thought stuff was abundant, thanks to democratic capitalism, prejudice was falling away, and everywhere you looked was a win-win situation, except Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia, as I now have come to understand it, had a scarcity mind-set, that is to say one in which stuff seems to be scarce, and therefore they were attracted to authoritarian populism, acquired a warrior mentality, regarded each other as enemies, and saw every situation as zero-sum. This is exactly what happened to us in 2007, when stuff became scarce over here. Now we too have acquired warrior mentalities, have become nasty and brutish, if not actually short, and bitterly partisan. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm afraid we may end up with—a European-style multiparty system!
Or maybe that's supposed to be a happy ending.

Trump Gets CLAP From Maduro Regime

CLAP packages. Via Venezuelanalysis.
My UK tweep Paul Canning, an expert observer of, among other things, Venezuela, noticed something familiar in the Trump budget proposal to turn half of the SNAP program into church basement–style distribution of beans and rice, to stop the poor from indulging in their well-known habit of blowing all their food stamps on crab legs and pomegranate juice:

I like my headline, but Republicans might prefer "Trump Picks Up On Bolivarian Socialism".