Saturday, 10/21/17

  1. If he won’t set the record straight, I will
  2. Hedgehog and Honey Badger
  3. Housing subsidies
  4. Liberal Hobby Lobby fan comes out of the closet
  5. Things White Folks Like
  6. CNN’s good rap on Richard Spencer’s fans
  7. Quotable
  8. Rewteetable

1

I wrote this with heavy heart, after having messaged the author (who I much respect) on Facebook where the offensive item appeared, but having gotten no response or correction.

Then at 10:59 last night, when I was providentially still up and on computer, I got a message back that the offensive item, which I had disproven, had been deleted from his Facebook wall.

Therefore, I’m with lightened heart removing the criticism I had assembled.  But it was 11:03 pm, and I wasn’t going to re-arrange everything.

2

The hedgehog, said the Greek poet Archilochus, knows one big thing. McCain knows honor. He refused early release from prison camp in Hanoi to save his honor. He reproved Republican voters for calling Barack Obama an Arab in 2008 to save his party’s honor. He championed the surge in Iraq when it was least popular, to save the country’s honor.

The honey badger, by contrast, will do anything to get what it wants. It is wily, nasty and has as much use for honor as a pornographer has for dress. In the 2016 presidential campaign, according to biographer Joshua Green, Bannon treated white supremacists as useful fellow travelers and urged Donald Trump to persist in what seemed to many to be his use of anti-Jewish tropes. Later he waged a smear campaign against H.R. McMaster on the grounds that the national security adviser was anti-Israel.

For the honey badger, it’s whatever works: anti-Semite one day; Israel’s make-believe champion the next. Bannon is the most revolting operator in American political life since Roy Cohn. He is also the most consequential one.

In his speech, Bannon asked of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell: “Who’s going to be Brutus to your Julius Caesar”? Caesar was stabbed 23 times on the floor of the Roman Senate on the 15th of March, 44 B.C. John Wilkes Booth also invoked Brutus from the stage of Ford’s Theatre after he had assassinated Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party. This is what now passes for acceptable speech among the G.O.P.’s “values voters.”

(Bret Stephens, McCain the Hedgehog vs. Bannon the Honey Badger, emphasis added)

On the other hand, I omitted from Stephens’ worshipful tribute to McCain the cringeworthy parts that, conveniently enough, Andrew Bacevich critiques:

[I]f McCain is pissed, he has every right to be. Long may he rail. Long may this octogenarian senator persevere in discomfiting the current occupant of the White House.

That said, McCain’s remarks reflect an abiding commitment to a “tired dogma” of his own. By no means is that dogma his own invention. Indeed, it’s one that he shares with legions of other politicians and pundits predisposed to see the last “three quarters of a century” as a good news story in which America delivers the world from evil and brings it within sight of the Promised Land. Take that claim at face value and America’s present-day duty is plain to see: It’s to finish the job so that all will enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy.

True, in his remarks McCain did make passing reference to America’s flaws, mistakes, and frailties. We’re not perfect. But all in all, he insists, “we have been a blessing to humanity.”

Now, made by a Russian about Russia, a German about Germany, or a Chinese about China, such a broad judgment would invite mockery and derision. Uttered by a respected American statesman about his own country, it becomes a sure-fire applause line.

Has America been a blessing to humanity? The correct answer to that question ought to be “Yes, but….”

Yet strip away the rhetoric and what we have are dueling forms of ignorance, with each party imprisoned by his own illusions. Trump thinks that having run the Trump Organization he can run the world. McCain thinks that running the world is what God or Providence summons the mystical enterprise known as America to do.

(John McCain’s Tired Dogma)

3

The trial court stated, “You’re an adult. … Mom and dad are out of the picture now. You take care of yourself. Okay, now, who is paying your rent? Thirty-eight dollars a month in rent?” Harris replied, “Me.” The trial court responded, “No, no, this apartment does not cost them thirty-eight dollars. Who else is paying your rent? Somebody is paying rent. Me as a taxpayer[? I]s it Section 8? What is it?” Ms. Fleming advised the trial court that Harris’s housing was Section 8.

The trial court responded, “Which is one of the crazy things about our country now. You have people who don’t work and free apartments[,] and the rest of us have to work to pay for it. That’s one of the problems in our country.” The trial court then repeatedly asked Harris why she did not just pay the $38.00 as a “practical matter … just to get this over with?”

The trial court asked Harris, “Why are you not paying rent? I pay rent. I pay a mortgage. Why don’t you?” Harris said, “Because I wasn’t working. When you don’t work[,] you don’t have to pay rent.” Id. The trial court responded, “So [you] don’t work you get free rent? …. What a country, what a country.”

(Harris v. Lafayette LIHTC, LP, citations to trial transcript omitted)*

What image springs to mind when you picture “federally subsidized housing”? Most people imagine a low-income public housing tower, a homeless shelter, or a shoddy apartment building.

Nope—suburban homeowners are the single biggest recipient of housing subsidies. As a result, suburbs dominate housing in the United States.

(Devon Marisa Zuegel, How We Subsidize Suburbia)

One of the things I appreciate about the American Conservative is that it doesn’t reflexively think that what’s good for homebuilders, furniture makers, and auto manufacturers, including heavy and skewed subsidies, is good for America. It doesn’t even mind wiping smug sneers off faces about whose lifestyles the government really is subsidizing.

Not enough people, including judges, read it. “That’s one of the problems in our country,” to quote this trial judge.

If you’ve paid no attention to the history of suburbia, Zuegel has a decent introduction.

* (In case you’re wondering, “We conclude that the trial court failed to preside over the hearing as a neutral, impartial decision maker in violation of Harris’s due process rights.”)

4

Hobby Lobby, that terrible organization, pays full time associates $16 per hour (in our city), well above minimum wage, and offers full medical and dental, retirement benefits, sick leave, and vacation. AND since they are closed on Sunday you get one predictable day off which is unheard of in retail.

Now..I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck so I know that there may be very few full time associates in each store and part timers get paid $12 per hour with no bennies–but…we also have a labor shortage so it may be that people DO get full time schedules there.

Employers do get to decide what benefits they will and will not offer–nobody is forcing Hobby Lobby to offer dental insurance or paid time off. They do pay well for a retailer.

But nobody knows that Hobby Lobby is living out their Christian values by treating employees justly–they are just mad that they aren’t paying for their IUD’s. This is how the culture wars warp and distort our minds–mine included.

I decided to be out and proud about supporting this company-because the greater good is a just employer paying a living wage. And employees earning a living wage are empowered to buy that IUD with their wages if they so desire.

(Rod Dreher, quoting a liberal female reader)

Since I don’t do crafts, and don’t really care for Chik-fil-A, it would be as much a culture war warp and distortion for me to self-consciously patronize them as for the left to self-consciously boycott and vilify.

5

We’ve gone from William F. Buckley Jr. to the gentlemen from Duck Dynasty.

Shake your head at rap music all you like: When’s the last time you heard a popular country song about finishing up your master’s in engineering at MIT?

White people acting white have embraced the ethic of the white underclass, which is distinct from the white working class, which has the distinguishing feature of regular gainful employment. The manners of the white underclass are Trump’s — vulgar, aggressive, boastful, selfish, promiscuous, consumerist. The white working class has a very different ethic. Its members are, in the main, churchgoing, financially prudent, and married, and their manners are formal to the point of icy politeness. You’ll recognize the style if you’ve ever been around it: It’s “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” but it is the formality of soldiers and police officers — correct and polite, but not in the least bit deferential. It is a formality adopted not to acknowledge the superiority of social betters but to assert the equality of the speaker — equal to any person or situation, perfectly republican manners. It is the general social respect rooted in genuine self-respect.

Its opposite is the sneering, leveling, drag-’em-all-down-into-the-mud anti-“elitism” of contemporary right-wing populism. Self-respect says: “I’m an American citizen, and I can walk into any room, talk to any president, prince, or potentate, because I can rise to any occasion.” Populist anti-elitism says the opposite: “I can be rude enough and denigrating enough to drag anybody down to my level.” …

(Kevin Williamson, White People Acting White)

6

Three supporters of the prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer have been charged with attempted murder after police said one of the men, egged on by his friends, shot at protesters “with the intent to kill” following Spencer’s speech at the University of Florida on Thursday.

William Fears told one journalist that he supported [Richard] Spencer’s message, and he also told a Miami CBS news affiliate that the “only people who think we’re the violent ones, causing violence, are people who watch CNN.”

Tyler Eugene Tenbrink, 28, of Richmond, Texas, got out of the Jeep and pulled out a gun, police said.

Colton Gene Fears, 28, and William Henry Fears, 30, brothers who live in Pasadena, Texas, told Tenbrink to “kill them” and “shoot them,” according to the arrest reports …

Tenbrink fired one shot, which missed a person at the bus stop and hit a business behind the person, and the men then got back in the Jeep and drove away, police said. The person took down the Jeep’s license plate number and the men were arrested 20 miles north of Gainesville, with a gun found in the car, police said ….

(Los Angeles Times, rearranged to highlight the irony)

H/T:

7

Quotable:

There is nothing quite so tragic as a young cynic, because it means the person has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”

Maya Angelou, quoted in BrainPickings.org

Do not worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older it will avoid you.”

Comedian Joey Adams, quoted in The Observer (U.K.)

Politics boils down to the stories we tell ourselves. And unfortunately, we tell ourselves different stories.”

Historian Ron Chernow, quoted in Time.com

All three of these, if memory serves, came from The Week.

8

Retweetable (but “preening English fop” is my favorite):

* * * * *

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.