It’s not about liberalism or conservatism.

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trump on kim

Not sure how much more clear he can get. What’s more, the president knows his followers want, no, need a strong dictator, to balance a fundamental moral weakness within themselves. These are not Americans who can fight and die for the Constitution and rule of law. These are “Americans” who must grovel before a King and rejoice when his enemies are caged, banished, or worse.

But forget Trump for the moment. He didn’t elect himself. His voters didn’t suddenly rise up out of the swamps in 2016. They were here all along. Who are these people? A representative sample of their thought leaders:

chuckie2-COLLAGE

Candace-Owens-COLLAGE

By comparison, here is a representative sample of Americans who would rather live, and die, free:

anti-trump

Not all of the latter people are exactly moral paragons. That’s not the point. The only thing they have in common is a shared disgust with autocracy and those who promote it. A strong instinct that they refused to suppress, that this is not right. They often suffered personally for it, too. Erick Erickson, despite being a perfect right-wing nutjob in every other way, was fired from FoxNews for refusing to kneel before Zod and now struggles to make ends meet. Amanda Carpenter, despite being a photogenic conservative bombshell perfect for Murdoch’s network, must make do with being Meghan McCain’s second fiddle on The View. Bill Kristol must someday answer to a higher authority for his zealous promotion of the Iraq war; yet in this world, he is ostracized only over Trump; a former partisan neither at home on the Right nor the Left. Joe Walsh there, despite being squarely in the target demo for #MAGA and who in fact was once on the Trump Train, refused to surrender to Trump’s assault on law and order (hard to believe the GOP used to be for that), and says he sleeps with his shotgun over death threats triggered by his heresies. Anthony Bourdain was neither liberal nor conservative, but hated bullshit and evil wherever he saw it… one may only theorize if this had something to do with his eventual passing.

And as far as Jessica and Nicki go, well, they are simply beautiful souls. Hell, Bourdain too. That’s the difference. The people in the last collage are sometimes beautiful, often damaged, often tainted yet never fully surrendered to the darkness of our worst instincts. And the people on top are some of the ugliest Americans to have ever disgraced our soil. Forget Trump. Forget the idiotic culture wars over something as spurious as the NFL. Take away the political zeitgeist, remove them from our time, pretend it’s 1860 or 1938 or 2101. Whatever the specific issues of the day, would you want to be included in that number?

Again, forget for a moment your own politics. Pretend they’re all Socialists or Whigs. Pretend this is all a feud among an association of furries in Utica, NY. Doesn’t matter. Would you like to be part of any movement that hails a misshapen Gollum like Dinesh as a hero? That mistakes a pathetic weakling like Charlie Kirk as a leader of men? That has as its electoral base, twisted older men like Schilling and Nolte who are comprised of nothing but seething, roiling, irrational hate? That thinks a cynical manipulator and political chameleon like Candace Owens is a woman of principles? That views circus acts like Alex Jones and Laura Loomer as prophets of our time?

This is not liberal vs. conservative. Ben Shapiro, for instance, does not belong in the rogues gallery of these people. This is something else.

I’ve long mourned how the concepts of “good” and “evil” are considered too trite, too comic-book simplistic for our urbane, morally relativistic times. Using such terms is considered more damning to one’s arguments than even Godwinning. Yet these concepts are not only valid, they are the most fundamental descriptors of a person’s soul. Good and evil render such descriptors as liberal, conservative, populist, globalist, promiscuous, prudish, young, old, white, black almost as irrelevant of a descriptor as whether one prefers Five Guys or In-and-Out. Yet those who wish to discuss moral character are dismissed as a sad parody of a father figure from a 1950s sitcom.

Moral character means doing what’s right even when it costs you personally, as it has conservatives who still oppose Trump. Now it’s easy for a liberal to oppose Trump; but would they oppose a liberal equivalent? Some anti-democratic, Communist tyrant who openly fantasizes about throwing capitalists into gulags? I have no science to back this up but I really believe Chastain, Minaj, and some other lefty figures would fiercely oppose such a bastard — at the cost of being blacklisted out of their entertainment careers. Rachel Maddow would oppose such a figure and probably lose her job; Joy Reid, on the other hand, would be such a figure’s own Sean Hannity. Piers Morgan would enjoy the distinction of being on the wrong side of history in both scenarios.

Good and evil are far too ancient and unchanging for the petty red-vs-blue politics of this time and date. It’s not about liberalism or conservatism. It’s about freedom vs. the yoke of tyranny, law and order vs. the law of man, tried-and-true principles vs. momentary pleasures and fears. And it’s not even about being pure good, as none of us are capable of coming even near that. When the stakes suddenly get high, and history turns in a matter of days or weeks instead of decades, does one overcome their baser nature, or surrender to it? Transport the above cast of characters to any critical moment in history, and they’d still shake down into the same two sides.

Which side would you be on?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Roundup: 5/30/2018

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  • Trump’s claims that the FBI, under Obama’s orders, surveiled his 2016 campaign with a “spy” got some pushback from retiring Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Gowdy has repeatedly gone on TV as a “voice of reason” ever since announcing he would not be seeking reelection. He said the FBI was investigating Russia, not Trump specifically, and they were justified in using an “informant.” But as David French at NR noted, Gowdy also poured cold water on the #Resistance’s dreams of obstruction charges for Trump’s very public mistreating of Jeff Sessions (including yet another Twitter tirade this morning triggered by the Gowdy interview). Gowdy said that Sessions is to blame for not telling his future boss about the recusal until after he was confirmed as AG.
  • The fallout from Roseanne’s firing from ABC the day before continued. Roseanne blamed her racist tweet on Ambien, causing Ambien maker Sanofi to tweet (and then delete) “…racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” Most conservative figures, remarkably including even Tomi Lahren, continued to keep their distance from the disgraced, racist actress, although some on the #MAGA right continued to harp about “double standards.” And, as expected, the president tweeted about the debacle: “Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that “ABC does not tolerate comments like those” made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”
  • It’s been 20 days since First Lady Melania Trump has been sighted by anyone in the public. A tweet appeared today on the @FLOTUS feed: “I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I’m doing. Rest assured, I’m here at the @WhiteHouse w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!” This did little to ease concerns, coming from the White House-run account instead of her own @MELANIATRUMP one, and written in WH social media director Dan Scavino’s unmistakable style. The White House’s stated reason for Melania’s disappearance was medical, citing “an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition,” although this is hardly the kind of major operation that would require extensive recuperation — more like an overnight thing. Conspiracy theories still rage, ranging from Melania actually getting a cosmetic procedure, to she’s simply psychologically overwhelmed and hiding in the East Wing, to she’s left the White House and his hiding incognito somewhere in New York, to whispers of something far more grim. Whatever the case, the White House’s handling of it has been very strange.
  • In a plot twist straight out of a best-selling thriller novel, “murdered” anti-Putin journalist Arkady Babchenko turned up alive and unharmed one day after his supposed grisly demise. He says this was all a ploy to draw out the real hit-men, who are presumably working on contract for Putin. It appears that he played dead even for his wife, who had discovered his “corpse.” No word yet on how his stunt may affect marital relations.
  • For the second time this decade, the EU exercised its influence to overturn an Italian election result, as the Italian president (and not the prime minister, the latter of whom supposedly, in theory, wields the real power in Rome) instead chose to install a Brussels-loyal technocrat as finance minister. Today, the backlash grew, markets are in turmoil, and the Euroskeptic parties, thwarted thus far from forming a government, are expected to make even greater gains at the next elections. Then the ball will be back in the EU’s court: do they commit to even greater violations of Italy’s sovereignty and democracy to keep that country in line? A lot of things have brought Italian voters to this point, but the two greatest have been the euro and the recent migration waves from Africa that Brussels is unable, or unwilling, to staunch. As with America, Italy may turn to anti-establishment firebrands to punish an establishment that it feels has failed it.
  • The big Trump/Kim Jong Un summit still lingers in the preliminary stage, as neither side has fully re-committed to meetings in Singapore after Trump cancelled them last week. Lower-level officials, however, continue to meet. The original summit was scheduled for June 12.
  • Speaking of summits with Kim, Mrs. Kardashian West appeared at the White House today, ostensibly to push for prison reform. Her husband, of course, notoriously took a pro-MAGA turn in recent weeks, perhaps partly in a marketing push for his new album. No photos of her with the president have yet emerged, although it would be uncharacteristic of Trump not to indulge. (Update: yep, right after this post went up, this happened:)kim trump
  • The epic beef between Drake and Pusha T escalated to Defcon 1 today. Pusha fired back with another diss track, which, all at once, and let me see if I have this straight, a) used a picture of Drake in blackface (?), b) questioned his ability as a father, c) spoiled the name of Drake’s upcoming shoe line with Adidas called Adidon and d) generally knocked out power to the eastern seaboard for most of the day. Whatever the case, it’s clear Pusha’s no Meek Mill. Aubrey’s not known for backing down either, so this feud will be measured in megatons before this is all over.
  • Bethesda teased the latest Fallout title today, and despite the trailer, it’s rumored not to be a classic Fallout RPG but instead a multiplayer survival/PvP game like Rust or Ark. It’s not yet known if there will be a persistent world with saved progress, or if it will be a brand new game each match, although the latter seems more likely if it’s being compared to DayZ. Perhaps Bethesda felt stung by criticism of Fallout 4’s writing and story and was like, “Then screw you all! Next game, no story at all!”
  • And finally, here’s Twitter summed up. Have a good evening. twitterboat

A typical morning

So I decided to leave the house with just a $10 bill and no wallet, to limit my spending during the day. A $3.50 bacon egg cheese in the morning, a $4 turkey sandwich for lunch and a buck 50 left over for a diet coke to meet my daily caffeine quota. Perfect!

But after I dropped the little one off, I realized: no wallet means no MetroCard. So I was going to have to UberLyft it. And they suck in my area. The first Lyft I tried kept slowly but determinedly kept moving in the… complete opposite direction. So I had to cancel that guy and try Uber.

So a cab driver saw me fiddling with my phone, correctly surmising what I was doing, and asked if I wanted a ride.

Normally I try to take yellow/green cabs whenever possible because, I know how hard they have it these days. They have six- or even seven-figure mortgages on hack badges that have cratered in value since 2012. But… remember, no wallet, no credit card, and not enough cash even if I went hungry.

But how on earth was I going to explain all this? So like an asshole, I naturally did the worst thing and mumbled something about not having enough cash to which he promptly replied he, like virtually all cabs these days, has a card reader.

Then, and I shit you not: some random lady on the corner pointed across the street and asked why I wouldn’t just go use the ATM?

At which point, I did the adult thing and literally hid behind a bus stop until my Uber driver finally presented himself. I dove into the back seat and ducked like I was under sniper fire to avoid the withering scorn of the cabbie and his volunteer advocate. For a fare costing more than the money in my pocket.

It’s not even 9 yet.

Did Wakanda have a real-life inspiration?

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I didn’t see Black Panther until this month, and seeing the ideal of an uncolonized African country was something else. The techno-utopia is clearly the most advanced Earth nation in the MCU, and will play a major role fighting Thanos and his minions in the Avengers movie coming out this week. We never see precisely where Wakanda is, but during the prologue of BP, it’s made clear it’s somewhere in East Africa, which raises the obvious question: are they talking about Ethiopia here?

Colonial_Africa_1913_map.svg

Africa after colonization, shaded by occupying European power. White means uncolonized. Credit: Eric Gaba.

After all, other than the special case of Liberia, Ethiopia, aka Abyssnia at that time, was the sole African power not overrun by the European pre-WWI colonization wave — and it’s awfully close to where the movie implied the fictional nation of Wakanda to be. And as with Wakanda in the movie, Westerners think of the real-life nation as just another backwards third-world basket case, when there’s clearly something more going on with the sole African nation, not counting the one with patronage from the United States, that survived the brutal age of pre-WWI colonization with its independence intact.

Not that Europe didn’t try:

“Italian defeat came about after the Battle of Adwa, where the Ethiopian army dealt the heavily outnumbered Italians a decisive blow and forced their retreat back into Eritrea…

This was not the first African victory over Western colonizers, but it was the first time such an indigenous African army put a definitive stop to a colonizing nation’s efforts. According to one historian, “In an age of relentless European expansion, Ethiopia alone had successfully defended its independence.”

Now, the character Black Panther and his country were created by a couple of white dudes in the 1960s, so maybe this is all a coincidence. But some quick googling shows that lots of others made the connection, most of all Ethiopians:

“When I left the cinema, I thought, imagine if I saw this when I was 12,” [Ethiopian lawyer Blen Sahilu] said, noting as well the central debate in the movie between the Black Panther and his nemesis Erik Killmonger about how to respond to the crimes against Africans. “How do you bring about change? The battle between the Black Panther and Killmonger are two different schools of thought about how we respond to imperialism and force.”

Ethiopia did eventually fall to the Italians during the fascist colonization wave of the 1930s-40s, the one that triggered World War II; it should be noted that most of the other victims lay in Europe and Asia. And as with France and Austria, its occupation was relatively brief compared to that of, say, South Africa.

But either way, Ethiopia’s unique history really deserves more mention in the books.

Had to steal this game review checklist

Posted for my own future use. Stolen from a Skyrim review. (copy/paste checked and unchecked boxes PRN)


===[ ❤ Audience: ]===
☑ Kids
☑ Everyone
☑ Casual players
☑ Pro players
☑ Aliens
☑ Apache Helicopters
☑ Pervs

===[ ☼ Graphics: ]===
☐ Potato
☐ Really bad
☐ Bad
☐ OK
☐ Good
☑ Beautiful
☑ Masterpiece –> 4k mods

===[ $ Price/quality: ]===
☐ Full price
☑ Wait for sale
☐ Average
☑ Refund,
☐ Don’t buy it, it is free for pete`s sake

===[ ☣ Requirments: ]===
☐ 90′ PC
☐ Minimum
☐ Medium
☑ Fast
☑ High end
☑ NASA computer, 4k everything, even the insects on the dirt

===[ ☼ Difficulty: ]===
☐ You just need 2 arms
☐ Ez
☑ Easy to learn / Hard to master
☑ Hard (first few hours)
☐ Dark Souls

===[ ۞ Game time/length ]===
☐ Really short ( 0 – 2 hours)
☐ Short ( 2 – 8 hours)
☐ Few hours ( 8 – 12 hours)
☐ Long ( 12+ hours)
☑ Endless, so many things to do that even after a 1000 hours you are not even close to 100%

===[ ♬ Story] ===
☐ It doesn’t have
☑ Still better than Twilight
☐ Average
☑ Good
☐ Fantastic

===[ § Bugs ]===
☑ Game itself is one big BUG
☐ Bugs destroying the game
☑ Lot of bugs
☐ Few Bugs
☐ You can use them for speedrun
☐ Nothing

===[ ✦ Others: ]===
Multiplayer: No
Singleplayer: Yes

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The continuing transformation of the Right to another fabulous property of Trump, Inc.

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A great number of formerly principled conservatives jumped on the Trump Train after he secured the nomination. The reasons are usually quite venal: an urge to be on the winning side; because they hate liberals more; because FoxNews or their website’s financial backers demanded it; or simply because they were never “principled” to begin with.

You see, with someone like Sean Hannity, at least he never fudged his principles or who he is. He could quite correctly argue he has not changed himself one iota to fit into the new Trumpian landscape; rather, the mountain has come to Mohammed. Same with other conservatives who were born deplorable, like Dinesh D’Souza and John Cardillo. Kurt Schlichter’s 2018 Twitter timeline is not measurably different from his 2011 timeline. These guys may be evil, but at least it’s a principled evil.

against trumpBut senior editors of NeverTrump-until-it-became-unfashionable sites like the Federalist and National Review? This is how Cheeto Jesus permanently transformed conservatism: Not through Hannity or Schlichter, but by converting weak-willed mainstreamers like Mollie Hemingway, Ben Domenech and, as we see today, Rich Lowry.

Lowry, whose magazine was once responsible for the famous (or infamous) “Against Trump” issue, has, like many of the issue’s contributors, been leaning #MAGA for months. But it took until today, the end of March, 2018, to formally and utterly surrender. And, in the process, call his remaining NeverTrump colleagues at NR literally delusional.

cover_overlay_20180205-1“…the coterie of [Trump] critics on the right — loosely referred to as Never Trump — often sound like they are in denial… Yet we shouldn’t buy into the fantasy either that Trump is going to disappear into thin air, or that Trumpism can be blithely dismissed so the party can return to what some Never Trumpers believe constituted the status quo ante… The hold that Trump has on the GOP has a lot to do with his mesmerizing circus act, but it’s more than that. He’s been loyal to his coalition on judges, social-conservative causes and gun rights.”

That’s the brunt of his arguments. 1) Dear Leader won, so get over it, and 2) But Gorsuch.

Lowry also dresses up his piece with a sudden and convenient embrace of populism, arguing that even Reagan thumped some rabble-rousing lines to win elections. But more than that: Lowry argues that Flatulent Fannybanger is closer to the conservative heart than his own magazine. Or as he put it: “But make no mistake: On immigration and China trade, Trump is closer to the national Republican consensus than his conservative detractors.”

I wonder what the proudly elitist William F. Buckley Jr. would have thought of this statement from one of his successors.

Now what Lowry clearly does not want to engage with is the fact that the horror and disgust liberals like Chris Hayes, centrists like Jake Tapper or little old me, or conservatives like the oh-so-delusional David French possess has little to do with the psychopathic manchild’s politics. I mean, sure, there’s the usual liberal partisan idiots who treat President Mugabe-For-Idiots exactly the same as they do Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and George W. Bush, who have exhausted their supply of hyperbole so long ago that they have absolutely nothing new with which to come at Corn Chowder Face; but that’s not who we’re talking about. And Lowry conveniently ignores Captain ADHD blowing up the deficit with a reckless, spendthrift omnibus that he opposed literally hours before he supported it. There’s also the mindlessly cruel actions against Muslim immigrants and transgender troops, which all appear tied up in the courts for the time being. But politics really has little to do with it.

For one thing, he doesn’t even have much in the way of politics. The only things that are constant are his loving tariffs (which were opposed by NR up until it was no longer popular to do so) and his opposition to the estate tax, which is purely of personal interest to him. From guns to the tax bill, he would suddenly go squish until advisers reoriented him. He’s kind of a cuck even on his signature issue, immigration, waffling and wavering depending on whom he was last talking to five minutes ago.

The vast majority of his successes, from the conservative point of view, happened not because of Bronze Baboon but in spite of him. The tax bill was put together entirely by congressional Republicans; Gorsuch was from a list of judges submitted to him. One of those auto-signing pens could have been sworn in as POTUS and have been just as effective. The main policy “win” we can attribute to POTUS personally is the tariff and trade-war thing; I suspect this won’t be a “win” most Republicans, who were pro-free-trade until ordered not to be, will be bragging about by 2020.

But either way, and I don’t know how many times this has to be said: it has little to do with the Dissembler in Chief’s politics and everything to do with his moral character. Doesn’t anyone care about that anymore?

The serial adultery that he remains proud of. The sexual assault that he also remains proud of. The irrationality, the impulsivity right next to the nuclear football. His utter contempt for the rule of law and the system. His rage against federal law enforcement for the temerity of thinking that presidents and their top lieutenants are not above the law. The imperialist tendencies, the deep respect for dictators like Putin and Erdogan, and contempt of state or local law that make Obama and Bush 43 look deferential by comparison. His incompetent blundering in Syria that predictably led to the doom of our allies, the Kurds. His blatant corruption and his diplomacy purely in the service of his own, or Jared Kushner’s, properties. His acolyte Devin Nunes converting the House Intelligence Committee into a body dedicated not against foreign enemies, but against people of the opposing party. The lies, one after another, sometimes contradicting another lie, never having any reason to believe lying is wrong. And, yes, the tweets. Tweets that turn both him and the country into the laughingstock of the world.

Also, there’s the epic turnover within the chaotic White House, which Lowry briefly touched on; Lowry’s only problem with this is how unseemly it is to fire someone over Twitter.

Which has been the complete sum of Brave Brave Sir Lowry’s criticism of the Buddha of Bullshit since the inauguration: “Oh, he just could be a bit more polite on Twitter, that’s all.” As if this timid, submissive stance would cause Mike Cernovich to stop calling Lowry a cuckservative.

Now, I understand the intense pushback from the always-apoplectic base against anyone who would dare question their God-Emperor. They’re constantly calling for Shep Smith’s ouster from FoxNews for his remainingly stubbornly honest about President Combover’s administration, as FoxNews viewers are more intolerant of dissent than your average Oberlin gender studies major; their abuse and literal death threats have led even a right-winger named Joe Walsh to sleep next to his shotgun — purely because he took the FBI’s side against Caligula’s inquisition. Siding with the FBI used to be a no-brainer position for the party of law and order, up until High Ayatollah Fatass issued his fatwa declaring them haram.

In that setting, it takes both courage and a strong moral compass to remain defiant against Lord von Clownstick and his fanatical swams of deplorables. Conservatives such as Rick Wilson, Tom Nichols, and Amanda Carpenter have the strength of character to be up to the task despite the intense blowback. Lowry, however, represents the more typical turn of the typical commoner when faced with adversity, with narrow and petty little interests and goals unrelated to the grand stage of American history, a stage that Lowry’s magazine was founded entirely to help preserve.

Because to fervently support Trump almost by definition means you couldn’t care less about the Constitution. A lot of #MAGA types swear they’re defending the Constitution, but their speech and their actions prove that they do not want a federal democracy; they want a strongman who has absolute power. It has been observed prior to 2015 that Trump is a poor man’s idea of a rich man. In that vein: Trump is also a weak man’s idea of a strong leader.

And Lowry is just a product of human nature. Heroes in human history almost by definition have been a tiny minority; most people prefer to be passively blown around by the winds of history, than stand against them and risk breaking apart. Easier is the life of the leaf than the tree. Think of any evil regime, past or present; they are able to take hold because the people’s natural instinct is to either salute or else lay low when the Legions of Doom come marching through the village, instead of to proudly defy them.

Moral character is pretty much set upon adulthood. Lowry is who he is. I wouldn’t have cared if he were just some random like me. But the former editorial head of the conservative establishment’s flagship publication? Come to think of it, why was he elevated to such lofty heights to begin with? (Current editor Charles Cooke still occasionally snarks at the Sundowner-in-Chief, without offering up serious criticism. I suspect he too will yield when the 2020 cycle begins.)

I honestly feel this is a critical juncture in American history, one in which the very continuation of the Republic is threatened. These existential crises have hit almost like clockwork every eighty years. We survived the challenges of 1776, 1861, and 1941, and came out stronger each time. The beast again reared its head in 2016, and like the second crisis, it is one almost entirely of our own making. It takes Americans of great courage, fortitude and wisdom to shepherd the rest of the people through these seasons; with the few such great people on hand today actively getting shouted down by the mobs of either the left or the right, followers like Rich Lowry instead acquiesce to the people utterly committed to this nation’s destruction, or transformation into something lawless and unrecognizable, most likely via Article V convention. (There are no shortage of liberal Lowrys also ready to follow charlatans like Farrakhan to the country’s dismemberment, if called upon.)

And to be sure, there were Americans, both leaders and followers, working against our interests in the previous crises as well. But what we have now are deep paucity of leaders working for our interests. The theme of the Last Jedi was letting the old institutions of good die, even the Jedi order, hoping for new ones to eventually emerge from the darkness and barbarity later. It’s a theme perfectly suited for our times, and is one increasingly ascribed to by both right and left.

I just wish that the country forged by Washington, preserved by Lincoln and defended by FDR and Eisenhower would at least go down fighting.

Case Records of the Urgent Care 13: The Two-Minute Heart Attack

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sick man suffering from heart attackA 50-year old Hispanic patient came in last week complaining of daily chest pain for 2 weeks. The pain was described as being on the left, radiating to his left arm and back; however, it only lasted roughly two minutes per episode. It usually hit in the morning. The patient reported no known triggers for this pain; it was not hitting during exercise, going up stairs, lifting heavy objects. In fact, he said he would get up and walk around until the pain subsided. He had no known cardiac history of hypertension, coronary artery disease, or anything else.

There was no trauma. It was not associated with palpitations, shortness of breath, anxiety. The patient took no medications. He was a smoker, but denied drug or alcohol use. In the clinic when I saw him, the patient reported no pain or any other symptoms at that moment. His vital signs were all normal. He was not overweight. Exam, including cardiac and pulses, were normal. An EKG showed a normal sinus rhythm with no abnormalities.

I never saw this patient again, so you tell me…

WHAT WAS THE MOST LIKELY DIAGNOSIS? 

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The turn of Kevin Williamson

Twitter has been raging lately about — well, ok, to be more specific: some of Twitter’s raging these days has been about National Review writer Kevin Williamson, recently elevated to the lofty pages of The Atlantic. Liberals predictably came out in force against this hiring of a right-wing firebrand to a left-of-center publication, as they do with their periodic paroxysms re: NY Times conservatives like Bret Stephens. And conservatives, of course, rose to his defense, both within NR and without.

This really touched a nerve for me because Williamson was for many years my go-to writer on the right. Rare was the day when I didn’t check NRO at least once to see if a Williamson article had shown up. His technical skill with turning a sentence is unmatched by virtually any political writer of either side, as even his detractors are forced to agree. And back when I considered myself a liberal, he usually presented arguments in such a way that forced me to consider both the conservative position and my own. Is capitalism really what my Trotskyite undergrad U.S. history prof said it was? Is the plight of your average poor person really entirely the fault of The System or The Man? I’ve written about Williamson or his pieces probably more than any other conservative writer in these oh-so-glamorous pages, precisely because his work is so interesting.

Sure, he engaged in trolling. His infamous column bashing Laverne Cox seemed to me more inflammatory and mean-spirited than it needed to be to get the point across. On the other hand, he (or his editors) could claim it was precisely as inflammatory as it needed to be to generate clicks. Hey, these are the rules of punditry in the age of social media, they could argue — publish, and more importantly, SEO, or perish. Williamson is hardly the first to intentionally rattle a few cages in order to garner a trending topic or two. Also, his ill-advised tweet that he wanted to see women who had abortions hanged had more than a little air of the hyperbole to it — but on the other hand, nobody would have talked about him if he hadn’t said that, right? An Oscar Wilde quote does spring to mind.

And Williamson seemed invulnerable to some of the more nefarious forces fundamentally reshaping conservatism over the last two years. Yes, I’m talking about the yuge you-know-who, and his total and complete domination of the conservative worldview, its major political party, most of its major websites, its TV network; everything. From day one, Williamson was against that “witless ape,” sensing before practically anyone else the mortal threat Trump presented against the conservatism of Goldwater and Buckley. And he was right: Even Williamson’s one-time editor, Rich Lowry, mastermind of NR’s “Against Trump” issue, eventually found it necessary to prostitute himself and WFB’s magazine to the men of #MAGA. Although Williamson shared the NR masthead with a couple of other NeverTrump dead-enders, Jonah Goldberg and David French, it was clear the money behind the magazine knew which way the winds were blowing, and that Williamson’s days in good standing with the magazine were numbered.

With that background, it made perfect sense for Williamson to enthusiastically accept the offer to write for a mainstream publication. I should have been celebrating such a talented, Trump-skeptic righty to reach such an influential and important editorial position, warts and all. And I would have, except for one insurmountable, irreconcilable column, one that goes against and in fact renders utterly irrelevant everything else mentioned so far, one that revealed Williamson’s shtick to be just that, an act, a charade, a dancing-bear routine from the ground up, not just shaped on the edges here and there to step up a few notches in Facebook’s algorithms but built entirely of nothing but sawdust.

This column celebrating Mark Levin — Mark Levin — as a great conservative thinker.

For conservatives, think of a liberal who you mostly disagree with, but one that you nevertheless respect. A liberal that, wrong as he or she may be on abortion and taxes and so forth, writes her arguments so effectively that you really have to consider her point of view. More importantly, she really has you convinced she’s arguing from good faith, as opposed to all those flag-burning, SJW, caucasian-hating lefty crazies you see on social media all the damn time.

Now imagine that as you’re visiting your favorite liberal’s site one morning over coffee, you read her column celebrating the life and works of Louis Farrakhan, or Bill Ayers. With nary a hint of criticism.

That’s how I felt about Williamson after that piece. There is no reconciling what used to seem like his honest observations, with his propping up one of the most insidious, the most negative, the most cynical, the most dastardly voices in all of American politics today, of either side. There is no reconciling this with his much-ballyhooed public feud with Sean Hannity, not when the only material difference between Levin and Hannity is roughly twenty IQ points.

Because just like Hannity, Levin is intentionally and deliberately tearing this country apart. He is daily telling his viewers, not about the goodness of Republican values or the purity of a pro-life stance, but how much they must hate, and yes I mean *HATE*, the other side. Obama, Hillary, Schumer, sure. But not just them. Levin wants you to hate THEM — the amorphous “them,” which clearly means the regular people of blue states or Democratic voters, even your liberal friends and neighbors — just as much as Mao wanted his people to hate bourgeois counter-revolutionaries, and this is not an exaggeration. Just like Hannity, Mark Levin’s work is nothing but almost entirely negative, hostile, and dedicated to pitting American against American. And just like Hannity, Levin includes only the most gossamer of conservative trappings to justify his program of unalloyed rage.

Also not an exaggeration: his vision of literally tearing apart the country. Mark Levin’s end-goal — that is to say, America’s end — is the the Article V Convention, where men such as Levin will succeed where Jefferson Davis and Bill Ayers and Vladmir Putin and countless other enemies of the United States of America failed, and sunder the 50 states apart. And they will do it legally.

Levin does this just for the ratings, one may argue. Sure, that’s part of it. But he’s not somehow making this up. Nobody could put on this kind of act for many decades and not mean it. Mark Levin is Mike Cernovich, he’s Chuck C. Johnson, he’s Seb Gorka, he’s Roger Stone, and the only difference is that Levin’s been doing their schtick for decades before any of the above clawed their ways into wider public knowledge from the septic tank known as “2016.”

Williamson does not laud Levin, and then turn around and slam Hannity, out of any kind of moral, philosophical, or even honest motive. He’s just obviously pals with Levin. And in turn, his little spat with Hannity must certainly have been fueled only by some kind of personal animus or incident, not privy to us, perhaps from some long-ago party or green-room incident, but which has absolutely nothing to do with the grave immorality of Hannity’s, or Levin’s message. Hell, I made an earlier comparison to Cernovich, but at least the latter still clings to pretensions of trying to help the country.

I tried reconciling Williamson’s deep respect for such a malignant anti-American with what I had thought of him. But it was impossible on its face. It was game-breaking. That column was incompatible with Kevin Williamson being a beneficial, or even honest, writer.

He is different than other impolite, Trump-skeptic right-wingers such as Erick Erickson and Ben Shapiro in that there is no doubt that the latter two believe what they say. Even if, especially in case of Shapiro, they dress it up with trappings fit for a modern audience. Hate him and his politics all you want, but Shapiro’s intellectual honesty earned him more anti-Semitic backlash from Trump supporters than anyone else on Twitter; and Erickson’s refusal to kneel before Zod got his ass fired from FoxNews. All three of these guys are equally offensive to liberals, but only one holds up Mark Levin as some kind of hero.

There is no going back from Williamson’s propping up of one of the most odious, most despicable men of talk radio as some kind of leading intellectual. That column is a smoking gun. It is a pee tape. It is a failed drug test right before the Olympics. It is automatically disqualifying, and not a word Williamson ever writes again can be seen as anything but a conspiracy against his readers again.

Case Records of the Urgent Care 12: Just Another Headache

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Hey, it’s been a couple years since I’ve done this sort of thing. Let’s get back to it.

black-woman-with-headache-600x300A 32 y/o African-American female presented with a headache x3 days. The pain was described as being the worst around and behind the eyes. Pt said she preferred to sit in the dark. Regular Motrin provided temporary relief. Pt said she thought it might be a sinus infection. She denied any fevers, stuffy nose, trouble breathing, runny nose, postnasal drip, cough. The pain is not changed by looking up or down. Pt describes the pain as being “funny.” She denied any past medical history of migraines. Her history does include asthma, and “swollen optic nerves” found a couple years ago on routine eye exam. Pt says she saw a neuro-opthalmologist for the latter; scans of her head and a spinal tap were reportedly normal and no other interventions were performed. Pt has not had this kind of headache before.

Vitals were normal, besides pt being overweight. Her lungs were clear. She had no particular tenderness on her face or forehead. Her neck was non-stiff. Her cranial nerves showed no obvious problems. No muscle weakness or numbness were present.

WHAT IS THE MOST LIKELY DIAGNOSIS?

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The penalties for infidelity in MAGAland seem… slightly different for women. Even single women.

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In late 2016, during the tail end of the campaign and during the beginning of the transition, Trump advisers Jason Miller (married) and A.J. Delgado (single) carried out an affair. The relationship fell apart after Delgado got pregnant, and chose to keep the baby. You can read more about the story here.

The total blowback that Miller got was feeling compelled to pass on a Trump White House gig due to the affair. (Considering what we know about our president, he probably didn’t even have to do that.) Today, Miller maintains a high-paying lobbyist gig as well as earning compensation as a Trump surrogate on CNN. In addition, he reportedly still has input with the administration. And Delgado? Well, here is what she tweeted today:

delgado

Considered a rising star in Washington until the news of the affair broke, Delgado quickly lost her job, and all her cable-news gigs. She lives with her mother, an unemployed (and, in that world, unemployable) single mom considering literally selling her el-cheapo car to pay the bills. She remains fanatically faithful to Trump, but the affection is completely one-sided. Delgado to this day regularly gets taunted by angry Trumpkins about the affair, far more than Miller does (the few people coming at him on Twitter seem to be liberals).

In the #MAGA world, women like Delgado are hussies, sluts and whores. Men like Miller, though? It’s like with POTUS himself: boys will be boys. Evangelical leaders all point out they don’t expect their leaders in Washington to be choir boys.

The above merely presented without comment.

Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, for some reason, conservative men in Washington complain about not being able to get laid. Those biased libtards, amirite?