The Point of Michelle Wolf’s WHCD Monologue

Comedians You Should Know in Brooklyn Sept21 2016

On-point analysis of Michelle Wolf’s speech roast at the White House Correspondents Dinner by Rhonda Garelick at The Cut:

 Yes, it’s a sexist epithet, using a slur against women (“bitch”) to equate feminine behavior with inadequacy. But beyond that lay Wolf’s greater point: The White House currently resembles a misogynist dystopia, but the press has some complicity in this. The press complains, but they return again and again to that briefing room, asking questions as if they might ever get a straight answer, as if this were a normal White House that hadn’t declared the free press “an enemy of the people.” And so, in level four of her insult sequence, Michelle Wolf directed her comedic firepower not at her ostensible target, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but at every member of her audience.

There have continued to be protests. There’s no reason why there should not be. But every Black Lives Matter leader of any note has spoken clearly denouncing Johnson’s atrocity. Indeed, if anything the continuing protests have been tempered calls for an end to violence on all sides. For all the horror, the outrage has spawned moments of bridge-building, unity. So these are combustible times. But they’re not the racial end times Trump is describing. Indeed, what Trump said in the passage above is something verging on the notorious “big lie”. Micah Johnson didn’t inspire any marches. No one is marching on his behalf. Even the truly radical and potentially violent black nationalist fringe groups had apparently shunned him even before the shooting. No one called for a moment of silence on Johnson’s behalf or honored him in any way. This is just an up is down straight up lie served up for the purpose of stoking fear, menace and race hate.

Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo, once again makes a convincing argument why Donald Trump is “A Propagator of Race Hatred and Violence”

We’ve always basically known this was the case and that it was the actual intention behind these laws. But that knowledge was based on history, some studies and a lot of simple logic. But since 2008 numerous states have passed these laws. So we now have enough election data for an empirical study. A group of researchers at UC-San Diego are the first to look at validated election data, not self-reporting, to do controlled analysis of differential voting rates in Voter ID and non-Voter ID states. And the results are dramatic. Just one example: Hispanic voter turnout is fully 10% lower in Voter ID states than non-Voter ID states.

This Is A Huge Deal by Josh Marshall @  TPM

Object Thrown At Hillary Clinton During Speech

Years ago, at Obstwiesenfestival, someone threw a beer at the singer of Oceansize. Mike Vennart barely ducked and responded with a snarled, Manchesterian “If you want to get me, you’ll have to get up earlier, you little fuckwit.” I bet Hillary Clinton found other words when she ducked a shoe thrown at her by a woman at a Las Vegas event. She did joke about it.

You have to get up earlier to get Hillary.

Object Thrown At Hillary Clinton During Speech

Paul Ryan and Dignity

Paul Ryan, former running mate of Mitt Romney and still Representative for Wisconsin’s 1st district, spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday. He elaborated on his war view on the poor. Paul Krugman quotes two striking passages. First, on dignity:

 “The left is making a big mistake,” Ryan predicted. “What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. People don’t just want a life of comfort. They want a life of dignity, they want a life of self determination.”

I’m sure poor people want a life of dignity, so maybe not shame them for having to accept assistance to fulfill the most basic needs? Sure, many people (who mostly can afford more) call Kraft Mac & Cheese a “comfort food” but that doesn’t make feeding yourself on such cheep basics a “life of comfort." 

Thanks to his wife’s money and good tax-payer funded pay as a Representative, Ryan’s stomach is quite full, yet I’m not so sure about his soul. He has this to say about free lunches at school for children

“He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids,” he continued. “He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”

First off, there are a lot of things kids don’t want in one moment that are reasonable and help them in the mid- to long-term. Like math.

The anecdote is terrible. One reason for the kid’s feeling could be the shaming of poor people by politicians like Rep. Ryan that is handed down via the parents to the boy’s class mates, who continue shaming, bullying him for needing assistance. Another reason might be that the child, growing up in an extremely materialist society, has learned that love is expressed through material things, and feel unloved because his guardian can’t afford material tokens of affection. Maybe his parents really have issues, and do not show love towards their child.

It all sounds like a solution must lie in helping both the exemplary kid and parent. There are myriad ways to go about this (better wages for the parents, teaching that love mustn’t only be expressed through material, strategies against bullying, better assistance for struggling families, family therapy ..) but taking away what little the kid has isn’t one of them. 

You don’t magically start floating when someone pulls away the security net, Representative Ryan. You fall further down.

Update: Turns out the anecdote was bullshit anyway, further showing he’s the worst.

Obamacare and Job Projections: Congressional Budget Office Clarifies least as much as the CBO can clarify, in a Q&A. Paul Krugman quotes the most important passage: 

Q: Will 2.5 Million People Lose Their Jobs in 2024 Because of the ACA?
A: No, we would not describe our estimates in that way.

As others have pointed out, too, the reduced number of full-time workers are a result of the freedom Obamacare gives people who don’t want to work full-time but are forced to do so in order to get health insurance. Health insurance they can now get otherwise. Thanks, Obama.

However, Krugman also points out, this won’t stop pundits from misrepresenting the ACA and its impact.

A small federal contractor on having her biggest client disappear – The Washington Post

This interview with a small business owner who mainly does web design for federal government agencies offers a good example of how potentially catastrophic this shutdown may be for the still weak US economy.

A small federal contractor on having her biggest client disappear – The Washington Post

So here’s the thing about SNAP: it’s one federal program that really has exploded in size in recent years, with the number of beneficiaries rising around 80 percent. Of course, it’s exploded for a very good reason, namely a once-in-three-generations economic crisis, and the program has stayed large because our so-called recovery hasn’t trickled down to the bottom half of the income distribution. But the right doesn’t care about any of that; in food stamps, it gets to see what it wants to see — surging government spending! Millions of takers! And so food stamps become public enemy #2. Number 1 is, of course, Obamacare, which really does represent a major expansion of the government’s role.

And that, perhaps, is where Cowen’s weakness theory may come in: Republicans, frantic over their inability to kill health reform, may be trying to make themselves feel better by lashing out at the poor.