Friday links! You wished for populism edition

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Wouldn’t it be great if the American people rose up? I’m talking about a popular revolution. I’m talking about a government, an economy, and a society run by regular folks for regular folks—a moment, a movement if you will, to throw off the yokes of political corruption and corporate greed and bring popular values to Washington. Of course I mean such popular values as thrift and hard work, not so much xenophobia or contempt for education. And I’m not saying I want populism in culture, either. Obviously I don’t want to see centuries of tradition reduced to The Big Bang Theory. Today is Friday, and I want a popular revolution without the racism, cultural repression, stupidity, or war of vengeance in the Middle East. Won’t you try to cram the genie back in the bottle with me?

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With $300 million, Gianforte challenges governor to refuse PAC money

Televised advisor Dr. Phil, whose net worth is about half Greg Gianforte's

Televised advisor Dr. Phil, whose net worth is about half Greg Gianforte’s

Last week, Montana entrepreneur and admitted gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte challenged Governor Bullock to refuse donations from political action committees. Gianforte personally delivered the pledge to his office in Helena, although the governor was in Billings at the time. But no matter! The gauntlet was thrown down, by a man still holding approximately 300 million gauntlets.

After that public gesture, Gianforte told reporters he would take their questions not at all. Even the Independent, which previously ran a friendly interview from the state’s handsomest columnist, got shut out. Gianforte started the day with a stunt carried on every media outlet in the state and finished by telling us there was money on the dresser, so to speak. But we didn’t get any money. It was an insult our honor could not bear, and we repaid him by calling him a secret theocrat before he actually did it.

I understand why Gianforte mistrusts the press. Back when he told the Montana Bible College that Noah didn’t retire and that’s why he doesn’t believe in Social Security, we pilloried him for treating Genesis as policy. He explicitly told me he didn’t want to discuss religion in November. In January, Darrell Ehrlick of the Billings Gazette published this editorial complaining that Gianforte wasn’t talking about his faith.

I wish I could believe that his reservations on the topic were borne out [of] some modesty or humility. Instead, Gianforte may be reluctant to talk about his beliefs because then we might discover what he really believes—about gay people, evolution or any number of hot-button issues.

His reservation seem borne of the time we all made fun of him for three weeks, bro. Also, we know he believes a bunch of crazy stuff about gay people and evolution because there’s an (R) next to his name. These and other insights will reveal themselves to you if you read my column in this week’s Missoula Independent. If you don’t, who knows what will happen? Everyone but you, I reckon. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!

Donald Trump withdraws from Republican debate

Donald Trump is not politically correct, so he can't believe how gay you are.

Donald Trump, who is not politically correct, suspects that you are gay.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has confirmed that the wealthy meringue will boycott tomorrow night’s Republican debate in Des Moines. “He’s definitely not participating in the Fox News debate,” Lewandowski told the Washington Post. “His word is his bond.” Trump cited two reasons for his refusal. The first was that he felt he had been treated badly at the first Fox News debate by moderator and intelligent resonating crystal Megyn Kelly. The second was that someone else was making money on the deal. I quote WaPo:

“Why should the networks continue to get rich on the debates?” Trump told reporters at a news conference in Marshalltown. “Why do I have to make Fox rich?”

Just to clarify, debates among presidential candidates are not original reality programming from Fox News. Certain theories of democracy view them as a service to voters. But whoever he thinks his clients are, Trump has pulled Maneuver X.

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How against Bernie Sanders is this anti-Sanders attack ad?

Scare tactics

Scare tactics

The New York Times reports that the ESA Fund, a super PAC founded by Joe Ricketts of TD Ameritrade, has spent $600,000 to run this ad on television before the Iowa caucus. It characterizes Bernie Sanders as “too liberal for Iowa,” but is it really meant to hurt his chances? Perhaps I am too liberal for Iowa, too, but this spot makes Sanders sound pretty good. He also sounds good in this ostensibly damning quote from the president of the ESA Fund, Brian Baker:

When it comes to federal spending and piling on our massive debt, Secretary Clinton is a five-car pile-up, but Senator Sanders is a train wreck. Given that Senator Sanders is the leading candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire and way ahead in the general election polls, ESA Fund will work hard to inform voters about his record and future plans.

Oh please, Democrats—please don’t make us run against Bernie Sanders in the general. We simply could not survive that briar patch. These final remarks from Baker were not transcribed, as he hurried away from the microphone to award his own party’s nomination to a crypto-fascist whom 70% of the country loathes. Video after the jump.

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A petition to replace the n-word with “Inca” in hip hop

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Reclaiming the n-word has been one of the few successful projects of our lifetime, and most of the thanks belongs to hip hop. The n-word used to be a word white people said to black people. Now it is a word black people say to one another, while white people hope silently that a black person will say it to them. This situation is better in all regards—except, ironically, for hip hop. The prevalence of the n-word in rap poses a major problem to its largest audience demographic, white people between the ages of 18 and 35. Now that the work of reclamation has been achieved, we should agree to replace the n-word in music with the word “Inca,” so that when we are rapping along with “Pass Dat,” we don’t have to choose between saying the n-word fifty times and delivering an inferior performance.

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