23 August 2009

Read what he wrote, and reach your own conclusions

"Read what he wrote, and reach your own conclusions."

That is only too easy to say, Dr. Bones, even when the sayer does not actually live far out in Foxcuckooland. But it can be not easy at all to follow through.

I mean, to read what the G. O. Party neocomrade wrote, -- the conclusions part is no trickier than usual. Indeed, sometimes I get the feeling that my own conclusions about the militant extremist GOP come first, and that I do not go about to examine each new bill of goods from Hooverville and Wingnut City and Rio Limbaigh with Arctic or Martian dispassion.

Nevertheless, it was a whole new experience (for the present keyboard) to be referred to a tendentious URL by a cultivated despiser thereof, and discover that its proprietor/perpetrator has neither left his original-intent contemptibility alone, nor silently and undetectably patched it up, but rather ...

... but ....

Well, there IS a strong temptation to say 'Go look for yourself!' at this juncture. And it would do nobody any harm if she did.

Still, one ought to be able to describe such things, and not be reduced to wordless wonder each time Kennebunkport-Crawford Dynasty gentry, or one of their hired-hand or volunteer dubyapologists, discover a new twist.

So then: Neocomrade M. Ambinder has gone hog-wild with that STRIKEOUT gizmo from HTML in his second paragraph. One might, perhaps, call neo-Ambinderism the ‘journalistic’ equivalent of an octopus retreatin’ behind a cloud of her own ‘ink’.

I'm not even very interested, it turns out, in drawing my own conclusions about this ploy. It is a lot more fun to wonder what impression this specimen can have been hopin’ to cause folks to draw about its off-beat behaviour. There may not even be a definite conclusion yet, I won't know for sure until I work through the stage of patting my political pocket to make sure the wallet is still there. So to speak.

Though the ploy be off-beat, the plight of the ployster is not. Neocomrade M. Ambinder has merely discovered that somethin’ he originally dismissed as rubbish because it was advanced by a sentimentally or ‘ideologically’ displeasin’ source. [1]

This might have happened to anybody. In fact, it does happen to somebody often enough to get included in Prof. Fisher’s Historians’ Fallacies several decades ago. Fisher has, as I recall, a crazed Polish chauvinist caught claiming, out of sheer Bircher-worthy dottiness, that Germany invaded his holy Homeland, 1 September 1939. In spite of which, that DOES happen to be what actually happened.

Or at least there was a firm consensus that that is what had happened back when Dr. Fisher wrote the book. Now that on has encountered the Invisible Empire of Karl Rove -- "'That is not the way the world really works anymore. WE are an Empire now, and when WE act, WE create OUR OWN reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- WE will act again, creating other new realities..." &c. &c. -- one would rather like to ask Dr. Fisher if he has reconsidered the supposed fallacy.

It occurs to me as I scribble that Neocomrade M. Ambinder might conceivably be buildin' deliberately on foundations laid for himself and for the Party of Big Management by Neocomrade Karl, Lord Rove. That is to say, the aspirin’ neoteric leaves a few fragments and ruins of her ‘journalism’ in its bad --its pre-invisible and subimperial-- manner around to set off the main attraction. Like the Kaiserwilhelmkirche in Berlin, don't you know?

I can frame no clear and distinct idea why a neocomrade M. Ambinder would wish to do that, but then, I have never altogether understood about the Kaiserwilhelmkirche either. So that’s all right.

Perhaps Coventry Cathedral would be a better analogue, though, since we get the Revised Standard Version set down right next to the picturesque rubble, as follows:

[Addition. That's a hasty generalization. Many of the loudest voices were reflexively anti-Bush, but I can't accurately describe the motivations of everyone, much less a majority, of those who were skeptical. There were plenty of non-liberals who believed that the terror threats were exaggerated.]

Unless I am mistaken, Dr. Bones, we do not have complete repentance of sin and amendment of neo-life here, because the neocomrade ‘journalist’ still manages to give the impression that he can "accurately describe the motivations" of most folks. It's only maybe thirty-eight per ten thousand cases in which Dr. Ambinder gets his diagnoses wrong.

More importantly, it appears that charter members of the neocomradely community do not look at this matter the way Prof. Krugman and Dr. Fisher and you and I do. For decent political grown-ups, the chief point would be that Germany really did invade Poland. For the like of M. Ambinder, however, it is rather that M. Ambinder still cannot detect the secret- or private-sector motives of the heart with perfect reliability. At least, not when it comes to spottin’ rabid Polak patriotism.

We humble want to hear about ‘facts’ or "objective reality" or the like. Something of that sort, despite all the critical and philosophical problems. Whereas Neocomrade Dr. M. Ambinder much prefers talkin’ about the current state of Neocomrade Dr. M. Ambinder’s diagnostic methodology.

It really does look as if subtle degenerative influences from the Rovan Empire may be at work here, does it not?

Yet perhaps not, after all, for this nifty neoism of Ambinder’s may be at bottom no more than that same old tune that Shakespeare set words to in his day: Richard loves Richard. That is, I am I.

Mais que sçay-je?

Happy days.

[1] That's my own cultivated-despiser type formulation, obviously. The exact words that get the Striveover Therapy (Pat. Pend.) treatment were "those folks based on gut hatred for [President Bush]" -- intelligibility requires that the name of George XLIII be crossed out too, but possibly the neocomrade aimed at intensifyin’ his rhetorical shtyk by leavin' the ostensibly corrected sentence ungrammatical?

As I have moaned already, Dr. Bones, it is not given to me to grasp exactly what Neocomrade M. Ambinder is aimin’ at ‘journalistically’ when he behaves like this.

21 August 2009

Also sprach 'sbvpav'

Mr. Poster 'sbvpav' illustrates how even good guys listen pretty selectively. His summary of the health care agenda of President Summers and Mr. Obama is half right. Since 'sbvpav' is a good guy, the other half is not wingnuttified into "false witness," it is just plain AWOL, omitted altogether.

Mr. Poster says (P-0) "no one is going to be forced into the public option," which merits being numbered as zero because S&O are not, of course, starry-eyed libertarians out to increase the sphere of everybody's self-freedomisation.

His (P-1) "keeping private insurers honest by providing competition, where there is none now, and over time lowering the over-all cost of insurance for all" is more to the point, unless you think it is two points. Here one can actually find Mr. Obama saying more or less the same thing,

"Point number two, it has to bend the cost curve. What that means is that we've got to create a -- a plan that experts credibly say will reduce health care inflation. Because if all we're doing is adding more people, but we're not controlling costs, that will blow up the deficit over the long term, and it will blow up the burdens on individual families and businesses. We've got to get control of our costs. We spend $6,000 more than any other advanced country per person on health care. That's number two."

Then there is Mr. Poster's (P-2), universality of coverage, "not [to] lose sight of the goal: health insurance for all, a right not a privilege." That paraphrase does not, as it happens, correspond to anything that Mr. Obama said to Neocomrade M. Smerconish on Thursday afternoon, although probably he and President Summers are indeed for universality in principle. (Mr. Obama may have been pandering by his silence to the passionate desire of many at Wingnut City to have uncredentialled wetbacks drop dead in the street rather than crowd the emergency rooms. But God knows best.)

(P-3) is "the ability to purchase affordable health care for yourself and your family even with a pre-existing condition; assurance and the security of knowing when you get ill, your insurance will be there for you and not canceled." This one is soundly based. Mr. O. said

Number three, we've got to have the insurance reforms I talked about for people who already have health insurance, and that means making sure you can get health insurance even if you've got a pre-existing condition, making sure that you're not burdened by lifetime caps, making sure that insurance companies can't drop you just because you get sick or because you're older or because you're not as healthy. So making sure that there are basic insurance protections, that's very important."

Mr. Poster's (P-4), "preventive care such as routine yearly exams and nutritional counseling," was not in Mr. Obama's 20 August bullet points at all. Unlike universality, I don't think that angle was left out merely by accident or as part of a deliberate anti-reactionary strategy of persuasion. Probably Summers and Obama really do take only a contingent interest in medical prevention: if it helps cut costs, fine, include it under that rubric. But prevention may not cut costs, and in any case it is not an end that S&O seek for its own sake.

(Presumably 'sbvpav' does think of prevention as an end in itself. That passage sounds to me as if Dr. Procrustes wants to fit the Administration’s program into a preconceived agenda of his own and finds the job a bit challenging: wrench, twist, fold, staple, mutilate! But God knows best.)

Finally (P-5) is another one that might be numbered zero, "the financial security of Medicare sustainable for all when they reach 65 and the closing of the doughnut hole in prescription drug prices." That is great stuff and I'm all for it, and so is Mr. Obama, almost certainly, and maybe Larry S. is for it as well -- BUT this is "flowers that bloom in the spring" stuff as regards the actual case at hand.

Unless I have misunderstood radically, Medicare and Medicaid, pensioners and poor folks, are simply not what the now fuss is about, though no doubt universality will require that certain persons who are already eligible for these programs get hooked up to them. Plus naturally if closing "doughnut holes" in them saves money that can be spent on the actual objectives, that is OK too. But bucks are fungible: patching holes in the Pentagon budget, or that of the National Endowment for the Arts, would do just as well.


I have already cited Mr. Obama's second and third bullet points, (O-2) "bend the cost curve" and (O-3) regulate the secret-sector insurance industry with unrelenting rigor.

As I began by complaining, that leaves half the Administration’s stuff out. The other half went like this, as told by Mr. Obama to Neocomrade M. A. Smerconish and the dittoheads:

(O-1)"Now, Tracy, you had a good point about, what are the bullet points that I want? Number one, it's got to be deficit-neutral. This has to be paid for, because in the past some of the health care plans that we've put forward have not been paid for. A good example of this was the prescription drug benefit for seniors. That was an important thing to do, but we never actually figured out how to pay for it. That just went directly into the deficit and the national debt. We can't afford to do that. So that would be point number one."

(O-4) "Number four is, I want to make sure that we have a health exchange, as I just described, that is similar to what members of Congress have, where you will have a set of options. If you're a small business, if you're an individual, self-employed, you have trouble getting health insurance right now, you can go and look at a bunch of options, and we've got to make it affordable for middle-class families. So part of the plan has to be that, if you can't afford a market-based premium, that we're giving you a little bit of help and you're able to get health insurance."

I daresay President Summers feels quite as passionately about "deficit-neutrality" as Mr. Poster feels about "Death to obesity!" But, life being unfair, it is Larry who gets to set the agenda.

Mr. Obama's fourth bullet is admittedly not as clear and crisp as one would wish. "A health exchange" may or may not be the same thing as "a public option that people could sign up for." It may or may not be the same thing as "a coöperative." (The first quoted scrap is from Mr. Obama, the second, from Neocomrade M. A. Smerconish.)

Mr. O. never mentioned coöps at all, which falls in with my own guess that the Administration is not really much interested in that particular gimmick. But I could be wrong. If avoiding the subject was intended as another wingnut-management technique, why Mr. Obama should think coöperatives particularly obnoxious to Rio Limbaugh would be a puzzle: the GOP base and vile would, I think, need a stiff course of agitprop before they grasp how monstrous a threat to the blessèd AEIdeology coöperative medical insurance would be. At the moment the typical neocomradely response would be along the lines of "Huh?"

Hearing Mr. Obama live, I thought it plain that he did not have his bullet points written down in advance of Neocomradess ‘Tracy’ askin’ him to set them forth. (Mr. Obama has been getting better at ex tempore lately, I am happy to imagine.)

In context it sounded as if the phrase "health exchange" came in as a description of the current program for (civilian) Fedguv employees, Neocomrade ‘Ernie’ havin’ set the stage for it as follows:

"Congress has voted, to my understanding, not to join the public plan once it passes, because they want to keep their good federal plan. Would you be willing to either urge Congress to have the federal employees join the public plan or would you be willing to urge Congress to somehow open up the federal health plan to all Americans?"

Now strictly speaking, USAID is beside the point for the same reasons that Medicare and Medicaid are beside the point. Probably the Veterans Administration can be tossed in as well, to make four parts of the existing system (or ‘system’) that do not urgently need to be fixed because they are not obviously broke. Mr. Obama was perhaps alluding vaguely to the non-brokenness of USAID when he promoted "a health exchange" to the status of an ad hoc bullet point. He gave the Smerconishian dittohead (what I thought) rather a good exposition of how and why USAID works, culminating as follows,

"Now, what we have said is, let's make a public option one choice of many choices that are available to people who are joining the exchange. And I see nothing wrong with potentially having that public option as one option for federal employees, as well."

I am not entirely sure what is going on here, although it does look as if Mr. Obama thinks a longer menu to choose from is always eo ipso a better menu. Call it ‘diversity’! Maybe. [1]

But God knows best.

Happy days.

[1] President Summers is not likely to be quite so great a fan of diversity. With him, "bend the cost curve" is, as befits a past master of Chicagonomics, pretty well the whole megillah. Presented with an immensely long menu of options, I betcha the first thing Larry would do is click to sort them by "Price: Low to High" just as we humble do over Chez Amazon.

(But God knows best about President Summers!)

20 August 2009

"Wow! There is a real American Neo-Fascist Movement abroad."

Picking on other people's epiphanies is a dubious game. It is awfully likely that one will just make them angry when they figure out that one is not really impressed by, say,

There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.

That little gem happens to be the late Mr. James of H*rv*rd self-intoxicated with nitrous oxide [1].

A critic might plausibly crititicize that the N2O tale gets even funnier when wild Bill, restored to cold blood, more or less, attempts to discredit poor Herr Prof. Dr. Hegel with a Jamesocentric pseudepiphany. Tastes may, however, vary on such funninesses.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch,

"Do you think people should be able to bring a loaded gun and sit in the first row of a President Obama event? And the gun owners flack says --"Yes."

Not quite on the same level as literature, is it? But perhaps to weigh it against the laughin’ gas would not be too imbalanced and unfair? Let's try it a little and see what happens, shall we?

I have to wonder, myself, what Dr. Taplin thinks Neocomrade G. O. Flack might have said, had he said anythin’ other than YES. There might be something to be said, of course, if there existed a municipal or state or Fedguv law against how these alleged ‘people’ behaved in the presence of their POTUS. Yet if the seer has omitted that small point when he rehearses the revelatory narrative, we could safely ignore the Visions of Taplin now and forever.

More to the point, militant extremist Republicans will, as I conjecture, take the line that if the gun-totin’ was not illegal, there is simply nothin’ more to be said.

As usual, I’d take the sweet puppies of the Right to be perfectly sincere subjectively when they take that line. Sincere or not, most of ’em are far from clever enough to notice, let alone exploit, the fact that they could put decent political grown-ups on the defensive by snappin’ right back with "And just what the [expletive] do you think was wrong with it, if it's not illegal, Mister?"

Not a hard question! One can think of the answer in a flash. The trouble is that, having thought of it, one does not much want to say it out loud. So excuse me if I try to hush it up in a footnote. [2] Wink, wink, nod, nod!


Reverting to the Visions of Taplin, I maintain that he cannot have beheld Fascism proper, only something that maybe looked a little like it to him.

The F-word gets squabbled over endlessly by boobs and loons, but if we try to apprehend it at the level of a Prussian-style graduate school instead, it is pretty safe to say that Fascism, taken as a generalized brain disease and not just Prime Minister Mussolini, was an Old Euro phenomenon. As Yank-style gun-totin’ and the smelly orthodoxies of the National Rifle Association are not.

The whole ethos is different. For one thing, in Italy and Germany and Hungary and Roumania &c. -- even in France and Britain -- if you did spot a 1930’s Fascist toting a gun, the odds were about ten thousand to one that she would be wearing a uniform as well. Very likely a private- or secret-sector uniform rather than a State uniform, but a uniform all the same. Portsmouth NH is not much like that.

In Germany, furthermore, there was a lot of "street fighting." All the books say so. On the other hand, the books never make this street fighting sound much like Al Capone on St. Valentine's day. Presumably the petty heroes of the proletariat and of the Kleinbürgertum went at one another with clubs and daggers and tomahawks -- or possibly Junker swords, inherited or fresh from the pawnshop -- rather than with semiautomatic firearms. The old joke about revolution being impossible in Germany "because the police would never stand for it" cannot be defended by any ideologue who wants his ‘Fascism’ to be ‘revolutionary’, but there is a little something to it all the same. Above a certain level, quite a low one by NRA standards, a State monopoly on the means of violence was successfully maintained from 30 January 1933 all the way down to 8 May 1945.

Italy, and especially Spain, were somewhat less completely devoted to Sicherheit durch Recht und Ordnung, but let's face it, they were Old Euros too -- meaning sad-sack wimps in the eyes of Rancho Crawford and John Galt wannabes. Venereal rather than martial, like Neocomrade Dr. Whoziz put the point.

Five Glocks, two Uzis and one Kalashnikov per household is a scheme that has no connection worth mentioning with Fascism. I should guess off-hand that it is a frontier or settler-colonialist phenomenon at bottom, a provincial and peripheral nastiness whose roots would be far better sought at Johannisberg and Tel Avîv and Alice Springs and the Alamo and the O.K. Corral rather than at Rome, Madrid and Berlin.

If, that is, one is looking for roots in the spirit of a Prussian graduate school seminar room, and not just for some blunt verbal object to throw at the enemies of one's Big Party or one’s tiny factionette.

Mais que sçay-je?

Happy days.

[1] The Will to Believe, and Other Essays in Popular Psychology, p. 294.

... With me, as with every other person of whom I have heard, the keynote of the [laughing-gas] experience is the tremendously exciting sense of an intense metaphysical illumination. Truth lies open to the view in depth beneath depth of almost blinding evidence. (...) [A]s sobriety returns, the feeling of insight fades, and one is left staring vacantly at a few disjointed words and phrases, as one stares at a cadaverous-looking snow-peak from which the sunset glow has just fled, or at the black cinder left by an extinguished brand....

Read Bill's whole NOTE -- it's a hoot any time, but especially suitable for the Silly Season.

[2] Here goes, with emphasis added for the sake of discussion: "NICE people do not gratuitously bring it to an interlocutor’s attention that they could ASSASSINATE her if they chose."

Should they ever stumble across that formulation, no doubt the sweet puppies will bark loudest at me about my crudely saying ‘assassinate’ when that is what I mean. Inevitably they will "know in their heart" (like their late Party neocomrade, B. Goldwater of AZ) that Mr. McCloskey takes for granted that bloody murder is what they crave and that they are thinkin’ of it all the time.

It would avail me not at all to protest--to them--that I take most of their crew to be no worse than rabid self-servicin’ impeachsters left over from ’98. And some not even that.

Which is why I think NICE is even more of a key word than ASSASSINATE. It was not nice for gun-toters to behave like that, but to point out unmistakably that that is how they are behavin’ is an offense against civility as well. If Neocomrade G. O. Flack was five times smarter, he would have thought this ploy up consciously as a way to embarrass such a cultivated despiser of Party and AEIdeology as myself. That idea is merely ridiculous, given the sweet puppies’ average level of mental evolvedness.

All the same, I betcha they knew in their hearts that puttin’ on a show like that one would embarrass liberals and democrats and Democrats generally, and Barák Husáyn Obáma specifically. Exactly how the embarrassment process works few neocomrades will have calculated. Perhaps they did not get much beyond figurin’ that BHO would not think ostentatious gun-totin’ is very nice -- and that it was therefore it would be the perfect thing to do. The Party of Grant and Hoover (of Goldwater! and of ATWATER!!!) have been positively wallowin’ in "No more Mr. Nice Guy" for years, after all. Why, without his I-hate-niceness shtyk, Neocomrade Dr. R. Limbaugh would be out of business in six weeks. (The puppies often bark "politically correct" when we would say ‘nice’. That, too, they’ve been doin’ for years.)

In the small part of the Stupid Party iceberg that is visible above the water, there are a few bright neo-whippersnappers who could consciously think of ASSASSINATE. But doubtless they would tone the thought down and tart it up, even for their own private mental consumption, along traditional holy-Homelandic™ lines of "the people's right to rebel" and A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State ... and so forth and so on. The whippersnapper element will not have intended the fiend Obama to worry about his personal safety, only about maybe finding his régime changed out from under him if he does not start showing Them the People of Wingnut City the respect and deference that they deserve for bein’, like Citizen Rush, infallibly right more than 99.1% of the time. (Not to mention bein’ the only TRUE holy-Homelanders™!)

The whole circus ought to please Prof. MacLuhan down there below where it is always too warm. Gun-totin’ is what a certain specialized kind of wicked elitist would call "symbolic speech." Or call it "picture think." It allows your run-of-the-mill wingnutettes and wingnuts, as opposed to a few señorito-class clevers, to look at the pictures without, I think, EVER formulatin’ anythin’ clearly and distinctly to themselves in old-fashioned words. (Certainly not in icky words like ‘assassinate’!) When the sweet puppies bark offendedly that they certainly never intended to send any message of that sort, they bark honestly enough -- PROVIDED that there cannot be intention without clear and distinct verbal formulation. However a study of the behavior and psychology of lower animals, "dumb beasts" in the narrow sense of wordless beasts, makes this a very questionable proviso.

Be that as it may, picture-think makes analytical difficulties insofar as one can never know for sure what a frog, or a chimpanzee, or a militant extremist Republican, sees in the pictures that she is lookin’ at.

In the case at hand, perhaps the picture thought was (to crystalize it in mere words) that all those bulgin’ pockets visible in the front row of the auditorium reflect great credit on Neocomrade So-and-So for makin’ sure that the citizens with the best politics also got the best seats. How the fiend Obama or the "drive-by media" would react to the bulges may have been quite secondary, although I do not find it easy to imagine that it was absent altogether.

18 August 2009

The Jingos’ Big Fight

The preamble to this morning’s unsigned rupertorial is worthy of your attention, Dr. Bones:

The Public Option Goes Over
The big fight over ObamaCare is far from finished.

So it looks as if the public option has been sent to the death panel—so to speak. (...)

To gloss each precious line of it briefly:

(1) The slaves of Murdoch really do seem to be tryin’ to emulate Their Master's voice. In Chicagoland English, "X goes over" can only mean "X has been successfully marketed." In Austrobrittic, or call it Middle High Rupertesque, it evidently means "X has been jettisoned." Once they get all their neocommunities gated foolproofly, the language of OnePercenters will no doubt diverge more and more from that of their predestinate inferiors. [0]

(2) This will be our main scribble in a moment. Since the jingos wanna fly it way up their flagpole, though, I presume they think that vast popular movement, the ’Óh'vei Beitûah G'dôláh, "Lovers of Big Insurance™" may start their gloatin’ too soon.

(3) The relationship between Jingo-class OnePercenters and their dupes and marks and Party base ’n’ vile is nicely hit off by "sent to the death panel--so to speak." That relation contains a large element of "wink, wink, nod, nod" -- as it were. The neogentry know better than to believe in death panels, but "Hey, it worked, dinnit?"

OK, now that that's out of the way, what fight do the jingos wanna pick next?

Not a hard question, Dr. Bones. In fact, you and I have already guessed it. But here it is, straight from the keyboard of the professional twistifier:

The idea of creating member-owned co-ops in the states ... isn't necessarily harmful. But if regulated as advertised by Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid, they'd be satellites of Washington and have 50 open checks drawn on the Treasury, creating the insurance industry equivalents of Fannie Mae. Another path may be to ... regulate who the insurers must cover, how generous the benefits must be and how much they can charge, including a limit on out-of-pocket spending. If Democrats decide to centrally plan the insurance market, in what sense is that different from a public option?

I have stigmatized the devil word, which is unnecessary between us and the Muses but may assist casual passers-by.

Neocomradess I. Twist here will, I suppose, be in a similar position vis-à-vis her own OnePercenterly neocomrades. Many or most paper-totin’ Jingos do not need to be warned of the evils of 1930's-style regulation. They are well aware that the only True Freedom is the freedom to bigmanage, which of course makes Fedguv Regulation not only icky and bad for the bottom line, but the veritable Road to Serfdom. Yet I. Twist cannot preach to the AEIdeological choir alone, for the ranks of the economic OnePercenters have never consisted entirely of neocomrades with hands-on experience of the practice of Big Management. There are still, no doubt, a number of coupon clippers left, though I doubt they actually clip coupons any more, plus spouses and kiddies. Also M. Georges du Soros and the whole phalanx of class traitors, though I daresay they are beyond the reach of any agitprop that His Presslordship disseminates.

Managée I. Twist continues in her WWNN mode as already noted: she could explain with ease why icky Regulation "is that different from a public option" if she chose. But no doubt it is better for the Kiddie Konservative Kause as a whole that she not do this. She may even be runnin’ a risk her by havin’ just mentioned one significant difference herself: "50 open checks drawn on the Treasury" is quite unnecessary. The Evil Regulators can do their dirty business very cheaply indeed, with or without "member-owned co-ops in the states," because that dirty business is overwhelmingly a matter of JUST SAY NO. [1]

To be sure, if zealot disciples of R*nd and N*z*ck were to start dodgin’ regulation of medical insurance the same way purveyors of cocaine and heroin are complled to, enforcement costs might rise alarmingly. Considering the nature of the commodity to be bootlegged, though, that is no likely scenario.

"If health insurance is regulated, only Evil Regulators will have guns."

But Father Zeus knows best about dotty scenarios.

Closer to home, Neocomradess I. Twist is only slightly coy about what strategy Their Master's voice prefers: "Or drop the scheme entirely and focus on improving the economy."

But as you see, Mr. Bones, formally, that is only the Jingo's Plan B. Here's the whole Big Picture, as viewed from the bigmanagerial penthouse:

[The 2008] election was not a call for larger government or a return to 1970s-era entitlement liberalism a la Henry Waxman or Pete Stark. Rather, it was in favor of the amorphous change—"change we can believe in"—to clean up the Beltway mess and toss out an exhausted GOP. The best health-care option now is to attempt a truly bipartisan reform, likely one built on individual tax credits for private health insurance. Or drop the scheme entirely and focus on improving the economy. The Democratic walk-back on the public option is just a few steps. This fight is a long way from over.

Comrade Frank of Kansas might want to snip that little gem for his scrapbook. The neocomradess of undisclosed name nicely illustrates how his "wrecking crew" wanna reduce their own Fedguv to an ‘amorphous’ ‘mess’ and then run against it for bein’ exactly what they made it.

As for change that WE can believe in, Dr. Bones, the Muses and you and I, that will happen when the militant extremist GOP stops bein’ able to get away with that self-servicin’ scam.

Meanwhile, even I. Twist and her Proprietor deem it advisable to pretend (at least a little) to want to do somethin’ about the Amorphous Medical Mess. I suspect it will be a hoot to examine the OnePercenters’ "individual tax credits for private health insurance," should they ever trouble to work up a detailed proposal. Unfortunately at this point the Twist gang have no reason to brighten other folks’ lives with a little free entertainment by doin’ so. If they ever get back in the saddle, they would have a reason to make a serious stab at it.

But at that point they would have to fudge it up with tripe and baloney about supposedly benefittin’ "the middle class" the same way Master Dubya did in 2000. So probably our gratification must be put on hold indefinitely. ¡Qué lástima!

Happy days.

[0] There are other un-Yankee linguistic activities that ought to be deposed and cross-examined, like ‘fisc’.

[1] The sweet puppies of Endarkenment dearly love that JSN phrase, so Neocomradess I. Twist should make sure never to use it when speakin’ of operations by the Jingo’s class enemy.

If I may wander over to the better side of the barricades for a moment, Dr. Bones, I continue to think that our own best bet is to try to get sweetpuppiedom to reflect how they will be feelin’ themselves after they get a stiff dose of JUST SAY NO from UnitedHealth or WellPoint or Ætna. BFZKB.

16 August 2009

Neocomrade F. Hiatt on Taxpayer-Funded Medicine

Because the profounder interests of The Demographic, ‘existential’ or this-worldly, are not obviously at stake in the current troubles, Master Freddy of Fox-on-Fifteenth-Street™ manages to be almost glacially detached about Governess S. Heath-Paling’s trendy brand of thanatopsis. And about all the rest of it as well.

I think that's what is goin’ on here, Dr. Bones, but there may also be a certain underdoggism vis-à-vis the New York Times Company left over from when the Baní WaPo used to be liberals and democrats and Democrats. Nitsy herself happens to be in an Eleanor Roosevelt frame of mind for the nonce-- "it is easy to lose sight of the human dimensions of the crisis" and so on. Maybe we can talk about that later on or separately. But we must begin with Freddy, who lays it all out on the gurney with impeccable detachment. Nothin’ here to indicate that F. Hiatt belongs to the human race himself.

Broadly speaking, there are three sides to the debate ... (1) Advocates of universal access, mostly liberal Democrats, can explain why everyone, even the insured, should be on their side ... (2) Then there's the Bend the Curve Camp, the Blue Dog Democrats and deficit hawks in the administration and the Senate for whom health reform is a way to control costs ... (3) [T]hose [militant extremist Republicans] who do put forward ideas mostly belong in the Let the Market Work Camp, the idea being that if consumers could see the true costs of their health care, they would make wiser decisions.

Before I pick on Master Freddy's preferred nonsolution, sir, I would have you decide for yourself about that tripartition. As often happens, it collapses into a bipartition under slight pressure. The first pigeon-hole contains all us "reactionary liberal" bird brains who don't worry about meetin’ payrolls and gratifyin’ our betters of the Concord Coalition the way every rational creature damnwell ought to. (2) and (3), by contrast, form a sort of Fiscal Responsibility Suite, with only a gauzy curtain, not a brick firewall, between those who admit that Public Administration might conceivably help control costs and those true believers who do not.

A guesser could have guessed in advance that Master Freddy would locate himself in the middle of the road, without even knowing what road it is. And that is just where the Washin’ton Neotimes has been editorializin’ from for quite a while now, even though Freddy, writin’ under his own name here, does not remind us of it, or award a gilded apple to any of his pulchritudinous competitors. I.e., Mr. Hiatt is a left-wing plutocrat, a demoplutocrat of that thoroughly orthodox holy-Homelandic™ school that has never understood why The Market should not accept the occasional favor from Uncle Sam. Or, indeed, lots of favors all the time. If land grants for railroads, why not policyholder grants for insurance corporations?

Even here there are faint signs that this neocomrade thinks demoplutocratic true believers who wander off lustin’ after Miss Rand of Petersburg and Mr. Nozick of H*rv*rd and the more steel-claptrap-minded Chicagonomists are a bit infra dig.:

It almost gives them too much credit to put Republicans in any camp, because many of them have decided that their best strategy is to hang back and carp.

That seems to mean that Master Freddy was tempted to erect a conceptual ghetto or ghettino out on the far side of "the Let the Market Work Camp," a "The Market Has ALREADY Worked Perfectly" camp, as it were, in which to concentrate those of his neocomrades who rush to unseemly economic extremes. Since Freddy himself has been degeneratin’ from left to right, it is natural enough that he still finds that crew a bit much for his taste and decided to expunge them from his classification. [1]

There may even be five pigeon camps here: the three enumerated, a camp labeled "Whatever Sells, Is RIGHT!" as just outlined, and yet another that would cater directly to Master Freddy’s "middle class," the pigeons who possess health insurance policies at the moment (and tell that nice Dr. Rasmussen they love them dearly whenever he calls), but who may nevertheless be unpleasantly surprised should they ever need to convert them into medical attention. President Summers and Mr. Obama have shown signs in the last couple of days of zeroing in on that group, which would be an excellent idea no matter whether it ever crossed the WaPo/Hiattoid corporate mind. In fact it looks as if it did cross and promptly got slapped down:

[T]he administration has shifted to calling its program health insurance reform, and implying that one of its big advantages will be to pry annoying claims adjusters off everyone's back. This was never the main point, and in a world of controlling costs, those adjusters aren't going away. But it's one of the misdirections of August.

To translate that as "Freddy is not interested" may be incomplete, but it seems accurate as far as it goes. You can safely take for granted, Dr. Bones, that Neocomrade F. Hiatt is (A) not worried personally about his own medical arrangements, (B) not heavily invested in drug companies or insurance companies or even in the historic lustre of the Republican Party and the American medical profession, and (C) not exactly Florence Nightingale when it comes to his inferiors’ portfolios and pancreases. "I'm all right, Jack," says Freddy.

Freddy’s is not a genuinely Martian impartiality, no doubt, but I betcha Jack, whoever he is, would find it hard to tell the difference.

As to that ‘nonsolution’ I promised you above, sir, looking back through the wilderness I cannot make out that there is any. But then, given Master Freddy's modus operandi, why should there be? For reasons of publicism and politics, mostly publicism, a demoplutocratic señorito cannot just deny there is any problem. But havin' acknowledged the existence of a problem is as far as he absolutely needs to go, and accordin’ly that is where Freddy stops.

Hiattstán, you see, Dr. Bones, is not unlike the Department of Wehrner von Braun.

Happy days.

[1] Q. Then why mention them at all?

A. Not a hard question: Master Freddy does not wish to be recognized as a neocomrade. His influence and his organ’s would drop steeply if they did not keep on bein’ accounted liberal and democratic and Democratic by the sheer inertia of other people's minds. Hence an indication that there may actually still exist des enemis à gauche props up that inertia and wards off the dreadful Day of Reckonin’ when pretty well everybody will think "Fox on Fifteenth Street" whenever they hear about Fred Hiatt’s latest.

But you will notice, Dr. Bones, that he carefully does not say anythin’ the least bit offensive about the zealots for Political Capitalism. "[T]heir best strategy is to hang back and carp" makes it sound as if Freddy disagrees with his more vigorous neocomrades only because they are more devoted than he is to the Party of Grant and Hoover and Goldwater and Atwater quâ institutional Party. As long as Freddy can get his demoplutocratic fix, he does see any reason to insist that there be a picture of an elephant on the needle.

It is (perhaps) faintly hinted in this scribble that after the hangers-back and carpers have brough their POTUS to his Waterloo, some sort of ‘reasonable’ or ‘moderate’ neocomradely consensus will arise to make "consumers ... see the true costs of their health care" and do about it what the Washington Post Company wants them to do about it -- mainly smashin’ Social Security and scrappin’ Medicare. To the extent that Master Freddy cares about such dismal science stuff seriously, his heart and his hormones are no doubt with the Concord Coalition. But as I said at the outset, Dr. Bones, the cause of The Demographic does not seem to most of its partisans to have a great deal to do with the condition of medical and pharmaceutical and insurance corporations in central North America.

You or I can imagine a linkage without too much effort, sir, -- say, money wasted on pensions and public health in the holy Homeland™ must (?) mean fewer resources will be available for invasions and occupations and whatnot overseas. If Neocomrade F. Hiatt thinks any thoughts like those, however, he covers them up admirably. I'd guess he does not think any, myself, and just has a mild sentimental/ideological preference for the Concord Coalition sentimentalities. Not far from his Uncle Polonius and "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" is Master Freddy, me judice.

But Father Zeus knows best.

12 August 2009

Also sprach K. Priestap!

To sink much below the level of Neocomradess K. Priestap [1] would seem to be impossible.

Yet look closely, Mr. Bones, at what the estimable wingnutette is doin' as she slums: unless she is recitin' her favourite bits from recent sermons of the Rev. Dr. Limbaugh merely to pleasure herself, which would not be very public-spirited, she must consider that some of the weaker siblin’s of the Big Management Party can not take in HIMSELF's profundities on the first pass.

That is to say, "K. Priestap" takes for granted that these lower levels and depths below the deep exist, that there is a market down there in the abyss somewhere for a CliffsNotes or Readers-Digest-condensed-book version of Citizen Rush. Or, if not a ‘market’, exactly, at least a window of opportunity for charitable visitation of the Good Poor [2] by their ideological betters.

Can wombschoolin’ and Niederdümmung really have come so far, so fast?

Though the thought be appalling, Mr. Bones, I fear we must think it. Take a gander at the K. Priestap peanut gallery, where the neokiddies scramble to get their sarcasm detectors synchronised on some very elementary examples. [3]

Happy days.

[1] It's a acronym, right?

[2] Beati pauperes intellectû, quoniam "Be good, sweet maid, / And let who will be clever!"

(( Mr. Kingsley's poetic flight of fancy could be used to emblemize, if not exactly explain, a good deal of what has been goin’ on in America's Otherparty lately. ))

[3] That is the obvious primâ facie account, but it occurs to me, Mr. Bones, that it might not be the right account. A neospecimen like #19 may only be shammin’ dumb, so to speak. It may realize clearly enough that #2 is an authentic "Democrat Party" fiend, whereas #3 is the fruit of a thoroughly respectable home in the Rio Limbaugh quarter of Wingnut City, but eccentrically happens to like wearin’ a Halloween mask in August. (Perhaps it is attemptin’ to terrorise its congresscritter? Father Zeus knows best.)

I am only guessing from outside the asylum grounds, of course, but would it not make a sort of Big Management Party neo-sense to ignore the distinction, or even, ideally, to prefer fake liberals and democrats and Democrats to the real thing. You must know yourself, Mr. Bones, how disappointing the real thing can be at times. Reverse the colours here, sir, and reflect whether unquestionably genuine illiberals and antidemocrats do not let us decent political grown-ups down sadly from time to time. Being indeed real, they often forget, or fail for some other reason, to live down to their own Party-’n’-Ideology weekly-standardised new criteria. No straw wingnutette or wingnut would ever dare behave so uncharacteristically in a spoof scenario where thee and I conduct the ‘narrative’.

"Every man is dictator in his own book," said their belovèd St. Jack: of course we would dictate that Professor Anthrax and Miss Diphtheria and "K. Priestap" and the rest of our cast of wind-up-toy zombie rightists be so relentlessly illiberal and antidemocratic that everybody this side of Wombschool Normal University would perceive in a flash that they must be dealing with a fiction even though we would have titled the performance something like The Memoirs of Rabbi Ben Trovato. (That feeble gesture of pretending to attempt to deceive is itself part of the genre and has been since at least Defoe.)

Specimen #19 is unlikely to have thought this plan through as far as I expound, but he may be settin’ out in that general direction. Or he may not be.

Setting present company aside altogether, Mr. Bones, and re-reversing the colours, don't you think this direction ought to be especially congenial to the neocomradely community and the Wingnut City mindset? Neocomrade Karl, Lord Rove, may have gone a trifle too far with his "' That is not the way the world really works anymore. WE are an Empire now, and when WE act, WE create OUR OWN reality...." &c. &c.. Plus of course there are logical and physical limits to how far anybody merely human can hope to advance in that make-up-one's-own-facts direction.

Nevertheless, don't you see why I think that subscribers to CommonTerror magazine, and weekly standardisers, and neocriterionmongers, and pajamatarians (both lay and clerical), and AEIdeologues, and Hoovervillains, and Catoholics, and ... -- indeed, pretty well all the GOP geniuses and much of the Big Party base ’n’ vile as well is what it comes to -- .. would not such folks LIKE to live in the Rovan Empire? If the militant extremist neocomrades could find an airline that flies to it, wouldn't they all be gone rovin’ in a couple of months?

To be sure, there is no such airline. Yet in a certain sense there need not to be. In theory the wingnutettes and wingnuts could simply emigrate internally, and that seems to be what scads and scads of ’em are actually doin’ in practice.

Consider this late flash from Neocomrade M. Drudge, Mr. Bones:

NITE (( ahem! )) OF AUG 10, 2009

FOXNEWS BECK 2,417,000

Though the kiddie konservatives cannot ever build a proper Rovan Empire, as far as I can see, they may, without clinical insanity, propose to innovate themselves a Foxcuckooland™ product that would offer many of the same advantages. And one of the chief advantages, apparent even from outside the factional monkey-house, is just what we have been discussing: in Foxcuckooland™, the ideosky will never, ever be cloudy all day, but that does not mean that the occasional discouragin’ word won't be heard. What it does mean is that the discouragin' word will never, or hardly ever, be heard directly. The sweet puppies of Endarkement could always go look at some other network if they were interested in that.

Most of them are not the least bit interested, though, and thus the management and staff of Foxcuckooland™ must add some value to the product before marketin’ it. Naturally that plan requires that the Discouragin’ Word product be presented indirectly. Even if the DW fills the whole canvas, there is always a hefty frame of Murdochoid gildin’ around it. More often, the DW proper is only a small part of the total composition. Exactly what sort of neovalue gets added to the product will vary from case to case, though I daresay "Look what idiots they are!" is a formula that will cover an immense number of instances.

At the extreme tippy-top of Wingnut City, up around Castle Podhóretz, the neogentry have been caterin’ to that taste for years. One might almost venture to say that the Foxcuckooland™ shtyk is only a vast vulgarisation of a select up-market shtyk from The New Criterion, the one called Notes and Comments. There is no reason why middle- and low-brow neocomrades should not have a "Worst-Liberal-Abomination-Ever of the Month Club" of their own, though naturally the selections and the bonus WLAE's cannot be identical.

But Father Zeus knows best.

09 August 2009

On the Stinkfruitism of Dr. Gitlin

The Rev. Gitlin’ never gets as far as preachin’ us down here in the choir any SECONDLY after

The first general rule is: scrupulous good behavior.

Like unto the Rev. E. Gantry on fornication is the Rev T. Gitlin’ on civility in political discourse! The lips of such scribes and Philistines may appear to be mumblin’ somethin’ edifyin’ about "Let the bullies and idiots discredit themelves. Don’t scream back ... but expose!" But who cares about their lips, when Dr. Gantry sports a used prophylactic device in his buttonhole and Dr. Gitlin’, a garish flier from his local den of ideological videoporn?

(( Perhaps that is enough of the GOP Brand® neo-Homelandic grammar and orthography to classify the specimen? Around here were are all wicked elitists (are we not?) who can easily imagine a missin’ final ‘G’ in gerunds and participles for ourselves without having it written out in its unfullness each and every time. Silly season or not, that shtyk gets borin’ fast unless you happen to be a middlebrow Victorian novelist or some other statistical improbability. ))

I guess the specimen in the pulpit this morning must have thought that it was fighting back, that referring everybody to that dismal home-movie clip constitued exposure of the errors of militant extremist Republicans and Kiddie Konservatives.

That train of thought is so far off the track that extending charity to it becomes a challenge. The best I can manage off-hand is to fancy that Dr. Gitlin does not waste a lot of time observing how his agitprop counterparts at Wingnut City and Rio Limbaugh and Hooverville go about their business. Especially his top-drawer agitprop counterparts.

The present keyboard’s preference for listening to the dotty bozos of the Big Management Party and the AEIdeology rather that to the thirty-eighth rehearsal of sensible moderate liberalism and democracy (stuff that one knows all about already, of course, if one be adult enough to have a cognitive acquaintance with one’s own views) -- this preference seems to be very eccentric. Dr. Gitlin seems rather an extreme case of factional self-cocoonment, but it does not appear that many of ‘us’ enjoy the performances of, for example, Neocomrade Dr. R.. Limbaugh as I do. Actually enjoy the bozodom, I mean, naturally: not merely run through transcripts of it quickly once in five years to compile an anthology of stinkfruits.

It may not be worth doing, but if you were to try it, Dr. Bones, you might notice what I have noticed, that the GOP geniuses (plus probably a lot of their Party base ’n’ vile) are themselves heavily invested in stinkfruit collectin’. [1]

Especially, as noted, up towards the high end of the Great Scale of Neoreaction. Indeed, the past master of stinkfruit collection (in my experience) is as up-market a neoteric as they come, him bein’ Kramer Minor, the head honcho of The New Criterion. Every month since time out of mind, Neocomrade H. Kramer (or possibly Neocomrade Herr Prof. Dr. R. Kimball) has been scribblin’ a vanity-press column at the front of their mag that the criterionmongers call Notes & Comments. Myself, I’d call it the Apotheosis of Stinkfruitism. To peruse it regularly is to beome a member of the Worst-L*b*r*l-Outrage-Yet of the Month Club. As it were.

Dr. Kimball and Mr. Kramer are well above the level of cartoons and YooToob stuff. A strict equivalent of that wretched Gitlinguesque exhibit must be sought elsewhere, perhaps in Outer Pajamastán. But since I have nothing good to say for stinkfruitism, I owe it to my argument to take a first-class example of it. (Don’t I?) This month’s WLOY selection (somebody called "Mike Hale") is not much to my own taste, but it will do.

The ... lemme see ... "the first general rule" about stinkfruitism is surely that it is but a small province in the vast imperium of Anecdotal Evidence. The second general rule is, or ought to be, that it is a swindle: stinkfruit artists rarely say out loud "Look at this! And remember, comrades, THEY are ALL like that!!" If that is not what they are thinkin[g], their misbehaviour is unaccountable.

Hence the first thing to do to pick up after Dr. Gitlin is to think as clearly and distinctly as one possibly can [2] that probably not one Party-’n’-Ideology neocomrade in three hundred thousand is like that boob on the Toob clip. As a specimen of stinkfruit culture, of the Kramerian and Gitlinguesque technique, it is of mild interest, perhaps. As a reflection of what THEY are ALL like, it is worthless.

I began by criticizing the Rev. for his emulation of Dr. Gantry, i.e., pointing out that his dissemination of that particular stinkfruit is completely at odds with the Rev.’s own pious professions about playing our cards right and "Americans who may be baffled about health care issues--who can blame them?--don’t especially like being yelled at" and so on. If this friendly agitpropper cannot understand that his nifty little video is the virtual equivalent of yellin’ at, it must, I conjecture, be because he does not understand what a "virtual equivalent" is.

This, however, is not the chief defect. By my lights, that honor must go to the sheer inaccuracy of the thing, the underlying attempted swindle about "THEY are ALL like that." They aren’t. And if Dr. Todd Gitlin does not understand very well that they are not, why, then I am Marie of Roumania.

On the other hand, this is political discourse, so one must not leap to any such crude conclusion as that our agitpropper is simply telling lies. Stinkfruitmongering is so common that its ability to deceive any political adult is very dubious, and, when deception is not in fact possible, my judgment, perhaps not the best possible, is that their cannot be any genuine lyin’ goin’ on -- not even when deception was originally intended.

The original intentions of others are known but to Father Zeus, and therefore they can not count for much when one attempts, as I do, to moralize in the style of M. Pascal: Travaillons donc à bien penser, voilà le principe de la morale!

Perhaps, however, one can not fairly subtract any points from Dr. Gitlin’s score when one cannot tell with whom he moralizes. A Pascalian would, obviously, be wiped out by such badly thought behavior, but not (say) a Nietzschean or a Marxist or . . . .

Plus of course it is the Silly Season, after all, which means that there may not be any critical or philosophical moralizing present at all: what we have here may be no more than "animal spirits," some Greenspanoid ‘exuberance’. It falls short of bien penser because it isn’t any sort of penser at all, really, it’s just a dog-days ebullition of hormones.

To take another whack at charity: Dr. Gitlin may have scribbled like that to assure us good guys that he belongs to our tribe: the particular shibboleth and secret handshake happens to consist in badmouthing and stinkfruiting of the militant extremist GOP, but, because its real function is to identify the scribbler as a good guy, not to convey accurate information about the ostensible subject of THEM, it would be a naïve misunderstanding to worry much about the inaccuracy, and positively childish to impute mendacity. [2]

But Father Zeus knows best.

Happy days.

[1] Dr. G. can be let off the hook philologically, but when it comes to echt wingutettes and wingnuts, I shall persist in the dialect of (presumably) Crawford TX. ’Tis second nature to me now to do so.

[2] Bien penser seems (to this keyboard) to require that one suspend judgment about how well an attempt is carried off until one is quite certain what feat was being attempted.

Dr. Gitlin professes to be offering good tactical advice to America’s party. Whether anybody should take him at his word is not clear to me, but if we do so provisionally, the attempt cannot be rated very high. Is it not, in fact, shipwrecked on the rocky shore of "Actions speak louder than words"? The Gantry-Gitlin ‘hypocrisy’ (as such misconduct, this radical lack of mouth-hand coördination, is usually called) is not merely unedifying to the moralist, it is unpromising for the practical pol.

On the other hand, the blunder cannot do liberals and democrats and Democrats much damage, because, just as most of ‘us’ do not pay a significant amount of attention to Neocomrade Dr. R. Limbaugh, so the vast majority of THEM would not be caught dead at an e-place like Talking Points Memo Café. Thus they’ll never be aware that the Gitlinguesque boo-boo happened to take advantage. There will be lots of similar boo-boos further down towards the gutter that militant extremism will take advantage of to make us good guys out hate-filled antagonists and shameless throwers of unrepresentative stinkfruit -- but this particular rotten egg is not likely to matter.

Gott hat eine besondere Vorsehung für Idioten, Betrunkene, und die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika."

07 August 2009

Gone Trollin’

(( A whole lot of fuss, Dr. Bones, only to find that one cannot get the TPM Café comments software to do strikethroughs. So I'll dump it here and maybe send a link to it there. Happy days. ))


Why not give that troll citizenness a dose of Dr. Rotwang’s Reality Pills? Let her go attempt to terrorize her Fedguv Rep into compliance with the militant extremist GOP -- only to run into some counterterror and wind up with (for example) a bloody nose. [1]

Thus, you see, the citizenness would be provided with a chance to find out how happy she really is with her favorite premium-eaters. Will they pay the claim promptly and cheerfully, or will they defend their profitability tooth-and-nail, perhaps arguin’ that the citizenness brought nosebleed problems on herself by venturin’ into a well marked combat zone as was perspicuously delineated in section 113 (b) [II] {c} of the policy product? [2]

She may be quite certain that she is blissfully happy with her present arrangements. Nevertheless, I betcha she has not actually read all the fine print that Scrooge Assurance Trust LLC has graciously made available. Life is short, after all, not to mention unfair, and obviously the fine print in H. R. ??? takes precedence. Obviously.

In any event, her bliss would be all the more impressive to bystanders if she had actually had to use her coverage and is not just speculatin’ about it hypothetically like a Wallstreeter. It’s only too easy for your typical backwards-leanin’ citizenness to sit on some comfy cumulonimbus up in Foxcuckooland harpin’ away ’n’ singin

For whatever reason, you prefer your head-in-the-sand magic-fairy-world view of reality, in which Americans will suddenly give up the well-known, well-understood (if somewhat flawed) health care system they have, for a completely unknown, pig-in-a-poke, government run single payer system.

-- and that, despite the fact that Baron Baucus of Montanastán has already put the kibosh on all single-poke and single-porker plans!

That such a sweet puppy of Endarkenment as this one don’t have all her facts lined up quite straight is, of course, no reason for more sensible persons to take to illiberalism and antidemocracy and the cult of Big Management. A lot of very interested persons have sayin’ a lot of things at the citizenness that she cannot reasonably be expected to evaluate accurately down in her basement social labóratory.

Very likely the citizenness does not actually know much more about unreformed medicine in the holy Homeland™ than she learned in kindergarten. 0.00%, approximately, of what there is to know. What she does know is whom to trust – i.e., good folksy folks like (say) Neocomrade Dr. L. Limbaugh rather than elitist fiends in human form like Secretary Sebelius and President Summers and Mr. Obama. Plus her local congresscritter, if he is a Demoncrat. (Plus definitely Dr. Rotwang.)

Well, knowledge and accuracy are great goods, yet loyalty is a virtue too, is it not? It’s not very civil to call the citizenness a ’troll’ when she is just out agitproppin’ faithfully for Party ’n’ Ideology -- for keepin’ her country in the hands of respectable neocomrades who have actually met a payroll or two.

Of course it is August, and of course that Big Management Party line of "JUST VOTE NO!" does get a little wearisome to hear of after about the thirty-eighth repetition. But come along, good guys, surely our flesh is not so weak that we cannot put up with America’s Otherparty’s noise machine!

Happy days.




[1] Though I write merrily as befits the time of year, yet I put it to everybody of good will that coverage of those entirely uninsured should not be made the center of this affair. People who thought they were adequately covered only to go bankrupt when they learn better are at least as important. Maybe more important. I wish we were hearing more about them.

Possibly the blue dogs and green weenies and whatever worry that "the Democrat Party" will be accused of launching a wicked Class War if we start making Jane Sixpack doubt that the secret or private sector has her all taken care of in sæcula sæculorum amen.

But that’s silly – we’re guilty of Class War just by breathing, as far as the staff and management of Rio Limbaugh are concerned. You might as well be hanged for a sheep, ladies and gentlemen!

[2] LEGAL NOTICE. Dr. Rotwang did not actually prescribe this innovative course of political therapy, though I thought as I read him that he might be leading up to something of the sort.

Should the irate troll citizenness act along the lines above suggested and then discover that Scrooge Assurance is go’n’ta weasel on her, it is the present keyboard that she ought to sic her tort lawyer on. Not that that plan will do her much good: Hard to lick honey out of a marble stone....

05 August 2009

"It Couldn't Get Any Worse"

Few statements that general are invariably false. If you can think of even a second case, Dr. Bones, please let me know at once.

At the moment what is degeneratin’ from an already low base happens to be that prestige organ of the señorito element at Wingnut City, The Weekly Standard. Before we get to the nature of this perceptible degeneration, though, allow me to indicate the probable cause:

Philip Frederick Anschutz (born 28 December 1939 in Russell, Kansas) is an American businessman. With an estimated current net worth of around $7.8 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 31st richest person in the USA. (...) He graduated from Wichita High School East in 1957, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Kansas in 1961, where he was also a brother of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. (...) A member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, he is a conservative Christian.

And there is a badness behind that badness, for listen to what the neocomrade proprietor's smelly little neoörthodoxy is like:

The EPC began as a result of prayer meetings in 1980 and 1981 by pastors and elders increasingly alienated by liberalism in the "northern" branch of Presbyterianism (the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., which merged with the Southern and border-state Presbyterian Church in the U.S. in 1983 to form the present Presbyterian Church USA).... the increasing influence of theological liberalism has led many in the mainline Presbyterian Church (or PCUSA) to seek a new denominational home. The EPC has become the refuge of choice for many of these churches in the last few years. One of the major reasons for many of these churches to align themselves with the EPC has been a shared missional vision for the 21st Century.

I betcha, Dr. Bones, that Century XIV/XX/LVII is go’n’ta let this litter of sweet puppies down rather badly. But that's their look-out. Mine is merely that it would take only a very few weeks standardized to that hymn tune to demote me from cultivated despiser of TWS to resolute ignorer. Plus of course Rupert Presslord Murdoch was, in his way, an antagonist of stature, whereas it is by way of a happy accident and silver linin' amid the encirclin' gloom that Anschutz could be (slightly forcibly) rhymed with, say, "rich klutz."

As regularly happens when news of such a transaction inside the secret or private sector leaks out, we despisers, as well as the loyal customers of the neoörgan in question, are assured that nothin’ will change just because it's now to be Big Phil of Witchita payin’ the bills (and reapin’ the vanity) rather than his presslordship from the remoter antipodes. Aunt Nitsy reports as follows:

In June, the magazine was handed from one conservative billionaire, Mr. Murdoch, to another, Philip F. Anschutz, for about $1 million, according to an executive close to Mr. Murdoch who spoke anonymously because the terms of the deal were meant to be confidential. The new ownership comes at a time when conservatism, especially the version espoused by The Standard involving American muscularity to spread freedom abroad, is not in the ascendancy. Mr. Anschutz, who made his billions in oil, real estate, railroads and telecommunications before turning to media, is more closely aligned with Christian conservatism, a thread not associated with The Standard. Staff members say Mr. Anschutz, who has visited the magazine’s Washington offices once since buying it, did not meet with the staff as a whole. He instructed the two top editors — William Kristol, who last year was also a columnist for The New York Times, and Fred Barnes — not to alter the publication’s ideological complexion. Mr. Anschutz, as is his custom, [1] declined to be interviewed. His spokesman, Jim Monaghan, said, “We have a high regard for the magazine, and a high regard for the leadership in Kristol and Barnes. We look forward to increasing circulation, increasing advertising and Web presence.”

You may have noticed at once, Dr. Bones, that Nitsy's boy takes for granted that the vanity-press neocomrades are fibbin’ about "not to alter the publication’s ideological complexion." I don't quite see why he (Mr. Tim Arango) expects the Domino Democracy™ ideoproduct in particular to be soft-pedaled. I can't, myself, think of much antecedent incongruity between DD™ and the sort of "shared missional vision for the 21st Century" likely to emanate from the wronger parts of Kansas. [2] Still, the odds are high that Mr. Arango is correct to anticipate major changes in the TWS ideoproduct line, even if he picked a dubious example. After all, that is what usually does happen: a case like Presslord Murdoch more less keepin’ his paws off the Wall Street Jingo after he bought it is exceptional.

(( Digression. Mr. Arango cannot, I presume, discuss the S*m*t*c, or call it the ‘demographical’, aspect of this transaction. In addition to bein’ frabjously braindead, poor Fred is of course a humble dhimmí. If I recall correctly from years ago, Neocomrade F. Barnes is pretty much the same brand of militant extremist dhimmí as Neocomrade Ph. Anschutz looks to be. One mustn't say ‘fundamentalist’, I guess, because the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (¡FZPIS!) does not care to be so described. But you know what I mean, sir. (Don't you?)

(( "Change and decay in all around I see"! His Kangaroostání presslordship was not like Fred and Phil at all. One of the unchosen many was their Rupert, to be sure, but at least a thoroughly this-worldly unchosen, with scarcely a ‘missional’ bone in his entire carcass. ))

Rather than muck about with neocomradely ‘ideology’ and ‘complexion’, it would be simpler to assume that Fred is in, and, correlatively, that Kristol Minor is probably on the way out.

Though it would be fun to gloss and cross-examine Mr. Arengo at length, we must postpone that pleasure to another occasion. This morning I want to adduce some evidence that the newer-than-neo rot has already set in.

Exhibit A (basically about l'obésité en Amérique)

Reductionism is the metaphysics of our intellectuals. Somehow they have convinced themselves that the most accurate way of accounting for reality is to reduce everything that happens to its physical processes: neurons dart, chemicals percolate, synapses bristle, and--presto--you've got the Sistine Chapel and the Bhagavad Gita, the Little Sisters of the Poor and the bombing of Hiroshima, Rosalyn Tureck playing the Goldberg Variations and an American consumer going limp watching an ad for a Triple Stack Baconator from Wendy's. Reductionism gives off an air of scientific rigor. With Kessler it makes his case for regulation appear more impressive and, what amounts to the same thing, more complicated than it really is.

(( Dr. David Aaron Kessler was Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under St. Bill Clinton. ))

Exhibit B (basically about the debility of the Native Mind™)

Arab and European intellectuals seem to suffer from the same intellectual vertigo: they don't grasp the central religious rationale that has guided and legitimized successful democracies, namely, the idea of a loving God who has endowed every individual with natural rights and binding obligations.

Chief among these rights is the freedom to seek spiritual truth without fear of penalty or coercion. This is what we mean in the West by religious liberty--including the liberty to change one's religion. It is a central duty of the State to protect this right, without discrimination, for all its citizens. This is what we mean by equal justice under the law. "Neither pagan, nor Mahometan, nor Jew, ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth, because of his religion," wrote John Locke in A Letter Concerning Toleration "The Gospel commands no such thing . . . And the commonwealth, which embraces indifferently all men that are honest, peaceable, and industrious, requires it not."

The genius of the American Founders--who drew heavily on Locke--was their ability to find within the prevailing religious tradition, Protestant Christianity, the moral and spiritual resources to anchor democratic government. Their argument about "inalienable rights" drew its strength from a belief in the transcendent source of human rights. Neither Madison nor Jefferson could conceive of a just society without protections for the rights of conscience, the crown jewel of democratic freedoms.

Both señoritos (Neocomrade A. Ferguson and Neocomrade J. Laconte, respectively) wander far from their announced topic to purvey much the same sort of rancid tripe and baloney. I do not need to explain to you, Dr. Bones, what makes it so rancid, although Master Laconte plays such an amusin’ pack of tricks on the dead that I am tempted to waste time exposing them.

But that is a secondary matter. The main thing is that one did not often encounter this particular whiff back in good Presslord Rupert's golden days. I noticed the two foul odors and the resemblance between them well before remembering that the neoörgan had changed hands.

Now I put it to you, Dr. Bones, that this detestable whiff must be the sort of whiff that Señorito de Barnes likes, but which Kristol Minor used to be able to keep in check. In short: Freddie’s in, and Billy's out.

And if that be not Change and Decay, sir, what on Gore's green earth is?

Happy days.

[1] By no means does this quaint parochial custom pertain to Neocomrade Ph. Anschutz alone. "Declined to be interviewed" is standard operatin’ procedure in the fastnesses of the SoPS, the "secret-or-private sector." Indeed, "declined to be interviewed" is mostly why one troubled to make up that particular pet name for the Baní John Galt in the first place.

[2] "Everythin’s up to date in Kansas City / They've gone about as fur as they can go" comes to mind irresistably. Though of course that will have been Kansas City, Missouri.

04 August 2009

Concerning the Appeasement-Evil Nexus

To brighten up our Silly Season, here comes Neocomrade Grand Ayatollah M. Bin Ledeen, provin’ (yet again!) that faith-craziness and merely human politics do not mix well. What a good idea was Mr. Jefferson's Great Wall of Separation!

Form takes precedence over matter, so the triune theological manifesto vouchsafed by His Eminence in, or right after, his third paragraph is of only secondary importance. The student of Kiddie Konservatism should here notice first and foremost the enemies whom H. E. wants to make: Neocomrade Herr Prof. Dr. F. von Fukuyama and Neocomrade Prof. E. Cohen, who are not exactly enemies to illiberalism (in the Yank journalistic sense) and antidemocracy themselves. ("Strike up the ‘Tertius Gaudens Polka’, wouldya plese, Sam?" And play it again after that!")

So it looks as if icky State Department Persianists and Secretary Clinton and Mr. Obama and President Summers will just have to stand in line and wait for their dressin’s down until His Eminence has cleansed the Wingnut City idol house of heresy and apostasy and nonconformity.

An old tune, that one, amongst the Enthusiastick and the Superstitious.

Shaykh al-’Islám Ibn Taymiyya is perhaps the E&S guy formally nearest to the Rev. Mikey. At any rate, His Eminence of Damascus made a famous distinction in Century VIII/XIV/LI between the "near enemies" and "far enemies" of E&S. A predestinate epigone like His Eminence of JINSA seven centuries later need only insist that near enemies must always be extirpated first, and--hey presto!--that’s the formaliter of Mikey’s scribble.

Now as to His Eminence’s tripartite materialiter,

... my forthcoming book, Accomplice to Evil, ... identifies many sources of the willful blindness that has long been a central part of the foreign policies of the Western democracies. The three most important factors seem to me to be:

–the Enlightenment theory of human nature, according to which “we are all the same, and we are all basically good”;

–Beaudelaire’s profound insight, most recently presented in the great movie “The Usual Suspects”: “the greatest trick the devil ever played on mankind was to convince us that he does not exist”;

–the terrible costs and risk of failure if we recognize our evil enemies for what they are, and defend ourselves against them. Politicians don’t like that; they’d rather leave it to their successors.

I’ll admit to a certain degree of perplexity. The first half of Table I of the Binledeenian Neolaw is impeccable: every illiberal and antidemocrat almost without exception gets a big kick out of gettin’ in a kick at the evil Enlightenment. Maybe the topos has become a little shopworn, but apart from that no objection can be raised.

The second half of Table I, however, "we are [not] all basically good," and Table II of the Binledeenian Neolaw in its entirety, look positively alarming to the present keyboard. Has the Grand Ayatollah deliberately committed himself, if not to brand-name Vatican City Ware®, at least to certain flamin’ly un-Hebraïc features of the former Christojudæanity?

Given a little factious zeal and a top-of-the-Herrnstein-Murray-Curve I.Q. [1], neither of which commodities is lackin’ chez Ledeen, one can badmouth the firm of Locke Hume Voltaire Kant LLC easily enough without draggin’ in either peccatum originale or His Highness the Prince of Darkness. Lots of wingutettes and wingnuts no more unintelligent than the Rev. Mikey have managed the trick. [2]

An objecter might object that His Eminence must clamber way out on this shaky religionistical branch in order to make clear what it signifies to anathematise the enemies of his faction as ‘evil’. I respond: it is quite unnecessary to take such trouble. It would be sufficient for purposes of a fifteen hundred word sermonette to define ‘evil’ as "that which Neocomrade M. Bin Ledeen will never, ever, appease."

To be sure, when it’s a matter of the Rev. Mikey scribblin’ that operatin’ definition for himself, it would be wiser to avoid the obviously omphaloscopic, so let’s revise my preliminary formulation to read "Evil is that which should never under any circumstances be appeased." [3]

The Rev. himself would very likely hold out for "which CAN never be appeased," but that version must be pronounced unacceptable, for it introduces an empirical element unpredictable in advance. "How do we know for sure that THEY cannot be appeased till we have tried?," asks poor old Stultus -- but of course Binledeenoid neoterics don’t want any appeasement experiments tried regardless of how they would/might/could/should turn out. [4] "Just say NO!"

Commonterrorisers and weekly standardisers and all the guruettes and gurus of Outer Pajamastán may, if they please, try to bluff their dupes and marks into thinkin’ that such-and-such that they would hate to see happen simply CANNOT happen. Naturally it is the duty of every decent political grown-up to see straight through that factional figleaf and call the bozos’ bluff at once. [5] [6]

Happy days.

[1] For victims of wombschoolin’ at Rio Limbaugh or elsewhere: what stands proudly at the apex of the ever-immortal H-M Curve is, loosely speaking, the average value of a set of data points.

[2] To be fair, though, the student should recognize that what is left of the former Christojudæanity as of Century XIV/XXI/LVII is so corrupt and decerebrated as to make it temerarious to assume any resemblance between it and what was originally intended.

Specifically, quite a number of modern wingutettes and wingnuts hold that Erbsünde is not literally pandemic, as the Old Book was taken for centuries to have inculcated, and not unreal either, but more or less confined to the ranks of those who dislike the sentimentality or ‘ideology’ of Wingnut City. Hence the Rev. Neocomrade M. Bin Ledeen could, in principle, have borrowed this trendy neorubbish as a mere bit of cultural bric-à-brac entirely free of mythological implications. My own guess is that His Eminence wanted his ‘evil’ to be numinous and nimbus-equipped, though it is not a case I promise to go to the stake for.

[3] If Father Zeus hated the passive voice as much as certain amateur grammarians do, He would ... I beg your pardon, it would never have been created.

Meanwhile, back on the formaliter front, it seems to be entirely indifferent whether one deduces the Binledeenian ‘appease’ from the Binledeenian ‘evil’ or the other way around. Without endorsing brand-name Pragmatism all across the board, one may venture to claim that it settles little Mikey’s present hash well enough to point out that anybody duped by His Eminence of JINSA will behave exactly the same way in either case.

At the same time, let the student reflect that the Republican Party base ’n’ vile almost invariably prefer to have their snake oil labeled what they would call ‘objectively’. Whether His Eminence is accomplished enough a sophist to exploit this Party brain disease deliberately, I have no idea. (It’s possible that the Rev. suffers from it too.) Anyway, for purposes of appealin’ to marks and dupes at the e-gutter level, there is a lot to be said for presentin’ the evil of the Evil Qommies as a fact about them, not a policy choice made by Neocomrade Grand Ayatollah M. Bin Ledeen. Not a policy choice made ‘subjectively’ by *any* identifiable weekly standardiser or gaggle of weekly standardisers.

But halt! this line of scribble is coming perilously close to real criticism or philosophy. And Father Zeus knows best about Big Management Party brain diseases.

[4] I am tempted to argue that this reflection establishes that the ‘real’ or ‘objective’ locus of the Appeasement-Evil Nexus is the minds, or hormones, of the neocomrades. But epistemology can be tricky, so let us not rush to judgment. Fortunately there is no cheapjack "Faster please!" about deciding this higher-order question.

[5] The ‘subjective’ theory of the Appeasement-Evil Nexus might even hold a certain appeal for the wingnutettes and wingnuts if it were carefully expounded to them. "I, for one, will never appease Islamophalangitarianism!" may be sheer bozodom, but one thing it cannot be is bluff. That fortified Party line is inexpugnable, as far as I can make out.

[6] Oops. I see I never got around to glossing Tablet III of the Binledeenian Neolaw.

Briefly, then, Tablet III appears to be either a category mistake or else only another neocomradely brickbat thrown at liberals and democrats and Democrats. To discover or pretend that some of Wingnut City’s domestic enemies are lazy or reckless has no genuine connection with the Appeasement-Evil Nexus. All it can establish is that errare est humanum. In light of the neorevelation in Tablet I about "we are all [not] the same," there is, I think, some question whether the Rev. Mikey would not be shootin’ himself in His Eminence’s own foot [6a] to appeal to that particular soundbite, bromide though it looks to be.

For example: Speaker Pelosi or Mr. Rahm Emmanuel or President Summers might be too slothful to confront the heartbreak of psoriasis head-on and at the same time wildly irresponsible about fiscal imbalance and unfairness. But it would only be foolish to accuse them of ‘appeasement’ of these evils. Indeed, such problems are not proper Binledeenian evils at all, only some sort of distant lexicographic cousin.

[6a] Cf. http://tinyurl.com/labu9s (p. xlix)

02 August 2009

The Smaller Picture

I’ll return to the larger picture, but before the battle of Cambridge fades entirely, let’s note that the only crime Obama committed at his news conference was honesty (always impolitic in Washington). He conceded he did not know “all the facts” and so wisely resisted passing judgment on “what role race played” in the incident. He said, accurately, that “separate and apart from this incident” there is “a long history” of “African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcing disproportionately.” And, yes, the police did act “stupidly in arresting” — not to mention shackling — “somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.” If Obama had really wanted to go for the jugular, he might have added that the police may have overstepped the law as well.

The president’s subsequent apology for his news-conference answer was superfluous. But he might have used it to acknowledge the one exemplary player in Cambridge, Lucia Whalen, the white passer-by whose good deed of a 911 phone call did not go unpunished. In his police report, Sgt. James Crowley portrayed Whalen as a racial profiler by saying she had told him that the two men at Gates’s door were black. She denied it, and the audio tape of her original call backs her up: she had told the dispatcher (only when asked) that one of the men “looked kind of Hispanic” and that she couldn’t see the other. Yet Whalen, who was pilloried as a racist because of Crowley’s report, received no apology from him and no White House invitation from Obama. That’s stupid behavior by both men.

It’s also stupid to look at Harvard as a paradigm of anything, race included.

Aunt Nitsy's lad Frank does well even to suspect that there exists a "smaller picture." He's about the only national motormouth of his pigmentation who has made that much progress towards the heart of Gatesio-Crawleyan darkness. But unfortunately it is not a very useful "smaller picture" that the mouth of the motor zooms in on. As you can see for yourself, Dr. Bones, Mr. Rich wants to focus on Barák Husáyn XLIV Obáma [0]. In the course of Master Frank jiggering his drooloscope to get exactly the shot he craves, what I consider the true point of recursion does flash by, but only to be excluded preëmptorily: H*rv*rd, we learn authoritatively, is "not a paradign of anything."

Though alma mater is definitely not a taxpayer-owned utility corporation either, "not a paradigm of anything," is just silly, a silliness that every other national motormouth, at least, ought to see immediately. Wingnut City motormouths like Neocomrade B. Hume and Neocomrade G. Beck and Neocomrade Dr. R. Limbaugh and Neocomrade Lord Speaker Professor Doctor N. Gingrich--all four neospecimens bein’ eventually named in this very scribble--notoriously do not much care for the Crimson Octopus, so ‘paradigm’ is not the exact word they would apply, but ‘hotbed’ or the like will do just as well. The guruettes and gurus of wombscholarship may not recur to H*rv*rd Yard to emulate, but they do dearly love to drop by 02138 for an occasional sneerfest. If Nitsy's boy Frank genuinely believes that H*rv*rd is to be classified with the flowers that bloom in the spring for purposes of Gatesgate analysis, he ... well, let's say Mr. Rich is even more so than we have accounted him all along. [1]

Not to waste any more bartlettisms on how our picture-loving laddie might have focused his drooloscope better, let us examine how he did focus it. Surely "the only crime Obama committed was honesty" is an odd point for iconographic artistry to choose. The clowns and bozos of Rio Limbaugh and parts adjoinin’ have said a lot of very characteristic things about Gatesgate, but that BHO [0] was flirting with perjury when he used the word ‘stupid’ is not one of them. In context, the effective thrust of Mr. Rich’s drool is that he (Mr. Rich) agrees that it is stupid to arrest persons for being demonstrably in their own houses. Well, so do I, for what little that is worth. Why thinking so should be worth a little more when it is Mr. Rich's Class of 1971 littleness rather than Mr. McCloskey's Class of 1966 ditto is no great mystery. But let's face it, even in Master Frank's case, who cares?

With the Columbia University Class of 1983 not-so-littleness, the issue is different. Though I doubt Nitsy's boy saw the problem he was generating for himself, if ‘stupid’ is to be defended tooth and nail, a great many subsequent words from That One[0] will have to be examined very closely for sincerity. That One[0] has not abandoned his ‘stupid’ to the extent of formally apologizing for it and undertaking amendment of life hereafter. In a purely forensic sense his position is inexpugnable: not even a pluperfect Foxcuckoolander like G. Beck is go’n’ta claim explicitly that arrestin’ blacks and tans (or even citizens at large) for bein’ in their own houses is perfectly OK by him.[2] As a repudiation of a certain counterstupidity that has always been lurkin’ out in the fever swamps of the holy-Homelandic™ Right, ‘stupid’ is not merely defensible but admirable.

On the other hand, Dr. Bones, surely you must have got my own impression that ThatOne [0] feels a bit sorry he actually said ‘stupid’ out loud? And if so, don’t you, too, subtract a few points from Nitsy’s boy’s score for either pretending not to notice that point or--worse--for genuinely missing it?

(( More to come? ))

Happy days.

[0] May Father Zeus emanate His lofty pænumbra!

[1] It seems of late to have become literally impossible to engage qualified op-ed servants down on Manhattan Island.

Before saddling herself with Master Frank, did Nitsy attend to his C. V. closely? I wonder especially about the part of it rehashed by the learnèd wikipædiatricians as follows:

Rich graduated from Harvard in 1971, where he was editorial chairman of the Harvard Crimson, studied American History and Literature, and lived in Lowell House.

And the next thing to wonder, obviously, is whether such journalistic neocomradesses and neocomrades as read today's performance by Master Frank and then decide to advance the banner of Kiddie Konservatism by attackin’ it will exploit the obvious Lowell House opportunity.

How about "I knew FDR, and you, sir, are no FDR!"

[2] G. Beck probably does not even think privately that it is OK. It is a great triumph of the neocomrade's self-presentation, however, than nobody can ever be entirely sure.