Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Spy's Review of Unreadable Books Pandemic Special

Editors' Note: Long-time Spy readers tell us “Sir, we really like your Review of Unreadable Books.”  We get that all the time.  It's tremendous. There's never been anything like that, probably. For the 4% of you who haven't said those exact words to us, an Unreadable Book is not only terrible, but its inherent lack of quality can be definitively determined without having to crack open its covers. After being cooped up for three months with no end in sight thanks to the collapse of a functioning national government, we understand the temptation to read a book. Just not one of these.

Restoring American Democracy
By David Frum  
$28.99, already marked down to $26.09. 

What does America need now? If you said advice from a middle-aged white Canadian who used to flack for George W. Bush, then you're the target audience for Trumpocalypse.

Frum first came to infamy waving the bloody shirt for George W. Bush's gruesome war of choice and torture in Iraq and other placesRemember the Axis of Evil, as he yclept three disparate countries, two of which had recently been at war with each other, for one of Bush's warmongering speeches?  (That would be Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, for those of you with short attention spans.)
From the Great White North comes the man with a plan

Since then, he's had a conversion of sorts as he's realized that not only was he wrong about every f***in' thing but his future success as a no-heavy-lifting neocon gasbag required, sball we say, a mid-course correction.  He has sorta apologized for the hundreds of thousands of lives he helped to end or ruin in Iraq.  So now we should just let the ghosts of Abu Ghraib rest in peace.  To paraphrase Julie Hagerty 's explanation for gambling away their life savings in Lost in America, he said he was sorry.

So what's on his mind now?  He's been heard telling us how bad the Tangerine-Faced Grifter as if the TFG wasn't the culmination of 60 years of corrupt, plutocratic, race-baiting, antidemocratic, divisive Republican politics.

That's page 1, but he's got another 321 to fill.  What could be in there?  We confess; we cheated a little and read the review by Joe Klein, ex-celebrity creative writer who wrote a roman sans clu about Hillary Clinton having an affair or some such BS.  Perfect.

According to Klein, Frum proposes “bold and provocative” initiatives, but danks Gott not “wild eyed,” like eliminating the grotesquely unfair and useless Electoral College. Why not? Supposedly it's unfeasible, although if states representing a majority of electoral votes passed laws requiring electors to vote for the national popular vote winner (and they're only 74 EV's away), it would be completely useless and therefore easily rubbished by Constitutional amendment.

But any ham-and-egger can gas on about what can't be done to fix our democracy.  Frum's got so much more:

He proposes a political trade: a severe tightening of immigration rules in return for the passage of much-needed social and climate legislation 

Whiskey. Tango.  Foxtrot.

First, it takes balls the size of icebergs for a, as noted above, Canadian whom we rescued from his native frozen wasteland, to propose closing the door behind him, leaving millions trapped north of the border forced to eat hamburgers slathered with mayonnaise and French fries drenched in gravy and worse.

Second, have you ever met anyone, anywhere who has said they would be willing to support spending on social welfare and regulations to limit the harm of climate change as long as we barred the door to those browns and blacks seeking a new life in America?  What's the connection?

Klein approvingly quotes the Frumster's breathtaking historical analysis:

It is possible, he observes, that stopping the human flow from Eastern Europe, and creating a more homogeneous America, made it easier for Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson to pass their enormous social programs. 

It's possible that a horrible racist immigration act passed in 1924 made possible social programs enacted in 1993-37 and in 1964-65?  What about other legislation passed around that time, like Prohibition?  Did that help?  And if screwing minority immigrants was such a boon to social legislation, why was none passed under Republican government from 1924 through 1932 and again from 1953 to 1960?  And, after the same Democratic government that passed Great Society programs also fixed the most outrageously racist aspects of immigration law in 1965, how did we get Obamacare in 2010?

Having brought us a nonexistent Axis of Evil, Toronto's gift to us invents a non-existent Axis of Racist History.  Both leave you spinning, from incredulity and outrage.

In fact, animus toward immigrants, rejection of climate science, and opposition to social spending based on racism are characteristics of a well-defined group of people.  You know them as Republicans.

Here's an idea, for which you need not pay us $26.99: how about winning the Presidency and both houses of Congress and then (1) restore equity and decency to our immigration system, (2) spend and regulate to avoid the worst effects of climate change, and (3) repair and restore the social safety net, including health care for all?  It's so easy – all you have to do is vote Democratic.

Bonus dumb s***: After following Frummie's arguments right off of Occam's Cliff, Klein has some crapcan ideas of his own he'd like to plug, presumably in a book for which he too will get a big advance:

To my mind, the only government program that can mitigate tribalism is a robust form of national service.

Old white men love this national service ragtime, amirite, Homewrecker Dave Brooks?  Why should young people be forced to labor for free or short money whilst entitled old s***s like Joe and Dave get to live large scarfing down sopprrasata subs?

Here's an idea: impress underemployed rich old white men into national service, allowing them to give back a tad of what they ripped off from their country.  There's an understaffed food bank near Joe and Dave waiting for their call.


I Kept My Pants On [Surely, Guilt by Accusation? – Book Review Ed.]
By Alan Dershowitz 
Hot Books
$25.99, already marked down to $00.00, and worth every penny. 

Dershowitz, shown here with his researchers,
Olga and Shtupela.
You can pretty much tell everything about this book from its blurbs:

“A slashing attack on how people are falsely accused of things they certainly didn't do.  Alan really gets to the heart of the matter, over and over again.” – O.J. Simpson

“Alan opens up a 64-ounce can of whoop-ass on whining beyatches.” – Mike Tyson

“There can be no doubt that Alan Dershowitz has been a shining beacon of hope to child rapists everywhere.” – Professor Jonathan Turley

“I hope he keeps his pants on when he comes to Lucy Vincent Beach this summer.” – The people of Chilmark, Mass.

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