Cold War

A Dwindling Conservative Pretense

#PutiToots | #WhatTheyVotedFor

A child walks past a graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the walls of a bar in the old town in Vilnius, Lithuania, 14 May 2016. (Photo by Mindaugas Kulbis/AP Photo)

“Note, in this three-sentence statement, Team Trump (1) attacked the U.S. intelligence community in order to defend Russia; (2) flagrantly lied about the 2016 election results; and (3) and made no effort to deny the accuracy of the revelations, saying instead that we should ‘move on,’ rather than acknowledge Russian intervention in the American election, which Republicans chose to overlook, apparently to advance their own interests.”

Steve Benen

This is, genuinely, extraordinary. For all people wish to carry on about “both sides” and all that, some days it seems worth noting that there really is a difference.

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A Note on Conservative Values

Kellyanne Conway speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, 4 March 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

This is fun. Peter Montgomery, for Right Wing Watch, the day after Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012:

Not only did Obama win big, but voters in Maine and Maryland embraced marriage equality, and Washington seems likely to join them. Minnesota voters rejected a Religious Right-backed attempt to put anti-gay discrimination into the state’s constitution. Tammy Baldwin was elected to the Senate, where she will be the first openly gay member.

Well before all those results were in, it was clear that the night was not going according to what Religious Right leaders had thought was God’s plan. At 10 pm, Tony Perkins and Jim Garlow held a phone call briefing for pastors. It was a very subdued affair, with representatives of the state marriage campaigns trying to sound hopeful about the then-uncalled outcomes in their states. Perkins and Garlow also held a Wednesday webcast on the “aftermath and aftershocks” as the scope of their Election Day drubbing sank in. “The problem in America is sin,” said Garlow. But, he said, “we have no problem that the next Great Awakening cannot solve.”

The tendency after an election defeat to avoid blame by casting it elsewhere was in full flower the day after the election. Rep. Jim Jordan, a Religious Right favorite, described Mitt Romney as “the most liberal Republican nominee in history” who had “waffled” on abortion, had passed a health care bill as governor, and had a hard time convincing conservatives on his commitments on taxing and spending. Perkins criticized Romney for not campaigning on issues of life, marriage, and religious liberty, even though Obama used them to appeal to his base. Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway agreed, saying Republicans had not done enough to draw the contrast on social and “moral” issues. Regarding the marriage wins, Perkins blamed Obama in part, saying the president’s policies have had “a shaping influence on the culture.” He and others also blamed marriage equality proponents’ financial advantage ....

.... Some Religious Right leaders sought solace in faith that God is ultimately in control. “America as we know it may have signed its death warrant tonight,” said Garlow during the pastors’ briefing. But not to worry, he said, nations come and go, but God’s kingdom is forever. Perkins said FRC and its allies would continue to stand strong in the face of “an increasingly hostile culture.”

Others looked forward to the next political fight. Pollster Conway predicted that 2014 would bring, like 2010’s Tea Party wave, a conservative resurgence and called for candidate recruitment to begin now. Perkins agreed that conservatives have never had a stronger “farm team” and touted potential conservative candidates for 2016, including Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, and Mike Pence.

Yes, indeed, a genuine Kellyanne Conway sighting, as the pollster reminded Republicans, as we hear every election, how things would go better if they would just become more misogynistic, homophobic, masculinist, Christianist, supremacist―you now, whatever counts among Republicans as family values and morality. It’s also worth noting, in addition to the farm team standouts, the presence of Tony Perkins of Family Research Council.

It’s just an interesting contrast. Kellyanne Conway, in her role as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, has undoubtedly drawn a contrast on social and moral issues. Mr. Perkins, for his part, was last heard explaining, “My personal support for Donald Trump has never been based upon shared values”.

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The Thrilling Stupidity of Yesteryear

You know, nostalgia is as nostalgia does―Puti Toots

Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.

(Sanger and Schmitt)

―but this is a bit ridiculous. I mean, really, a lede like that in the twenty-first century?

That it is even possible to write a lede like that is something of a testament to humanity, though hardly one to be proud of.

____________________

Sanger, David E. and Eric Schmitt. “Russian Ships Near Data Cables Are Too Close for U.S. Comfort”. The New York Times. 25 October 2015.

Your Morning Metal (Modern Day Cowboy)

Logo for the band Tesla

There did come a point at which it seems laughable to call it metal, yet we did. Still, we all had our favorites.

Stormy night, under jet black skies. Billy pulls into town. Thunder rolled and the lightnin’ bolts come crashin’ to the ground. Cold as ice, hard as stone as he walks into the room with another man who was feelin’ the same way; all Hell’s breakin’ loose. Bang, bang! Shoot ’em up! Bang, bang! Blow you away! It’s a showdown in a no man’s land for the cowboy of the modern day. Come on, sundown, don’t be hangin’ ’round, ’cause the cowboy will blow you away, yeah. Al Capone and Bad Boy Jones, one the wrong side of the law. Johnny Dee and his company, always first to the draw. Gangster lean, feelin’ so mean. Tryin’ to take more than their share, ’cause all they saw was ruling it all. The scent of blood was in the air. Bang, bang! Shoot ’em up! Bang, bang! Blow you away! It’s a showdown in a no man’s land for the cowboy of the modern day. Come on, sundown, don’t be hangin’ ’round, ’cause the cowboy will blow you away, yeah. So here we are, and we’ve come this far, but it’s only getting worse. Foreign lands with their terrorist demands, only cause the good to hurt. The USA, the USSR, with their six-guns to their side. I see the message written on the wall. Too much anger, deep inside. Bang, Bang! I’ll shoot ’em up. Bang, bang! Blow you away! It’s a showdown in a no man’s land for the cowboy of the modern day. Come on, sundown, don’t be hangin’ ’round, ’cause the cowboy will blow you away, yeah.

Tesla, “Modern Day Cowboy” (1986)

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Something About Shakespeare, Something About Kidneys

Ariel and Bernice ride along with Madame Oreille.  (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, ep. 3)

More often than not, Alexandra Petri is a useful target for recreational ridicule. Still, though, nobody is without their moments. We dig ourselves holes; it sounds silly of me to note that Petri wrote a decent―hell, actually good―article, since I’m quite certain this is well within her capabilites. After all, you don’t reach the Washington Post without some skill.

Once you have the job, that’s when you can sit back and cruise on a vapid pretense of wit.

See what I did, there?

Oh, come on. At least she isn’t Jennifer Rubin.

Right. Petri:

America gets more assurances of unconditional Love and Approval in the course of a single candidate speech than many WASP children get in the course of their entire childhoods, and we turn out okay, although years later we bring this fact up indignantly during Thanksgiving dinner and start sobbing for no reason. My point is: America does not need this.

But the people who run for president, and the people behind them, beg to differ. The people who listen to speeches, they seem to feel, will absolutely wither up and die without hearing how remarkable the American way of life is, and how special the American dream has proved to be. If that does not come up at some point in the speech, paired neatly with fears for Our Children, these fragile listeners will run from the hall in tears and you will lose their votes for good.

Otherwise why do they insist on doing this?

She does move on to Shakespeare and kidney transplants, but her headline, “Rand Paul and Ted Cruz secretly gave the same speech” not only reads well, but proves true.

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