Category Archives: Politics

The Florida school shooting, victim blaming and other topics

I never have much to write about tragedies like this. So I’ll just link.

Charles Pierce says Trump supporters know perfectly well that “nobody expects him to mean what he says, because that would mark you as a sap who believes that politics can be a constructive endeavor.” Got to say I don’t think this is so. Neither does No More Mr. Nice Blog.

Paul Campos reminds us that while shootings are up, overall murder rates are down. Whatever that signifies.

Apparently white nationalists who claimed the shooter as their own were lying.

Right-winger Ben Shapiro suffers from the delusion that old-school morality stopped sexual harassment. As explained at the link, wrong (and I make the same point here) And of course lots of traditional-values conservatives are still into blaming the victims.  Case in point, right-winger Sandy Rios supports accused spouse-beater Rob Porter — you can’t believe a word those lying sluts accusing men say, right? Of course the White House repeatedly contradicts its own claims about Porter but I bet Rios is okay with that. Other right wingers settle for blaming the whole thing on liberals and feminists. And that like Shapiro, this kind of thing wouldn’t happen if we went back to the Good Old Days.

Continuing with the victim-blaming, conservative pastor Kevin Swanson explains that the Larry Nassar scandal is what you can expect if you put a “red-blooded” male in the presence of a lot of women who are dressed immodestly. So Swanson thinks assaulting underage girls is natural for red-blooded men (a typical man-hating attitude on the right)? And he ignores that Nassar penetrated his victims with his fingers — that’s abusive but it’s not what most men do for sexual satisfaction. As for Swanson’s claim Nassar was caught because God wouldn’t tolerate him — er, why did God put up with him for the previous twenty years, then?

There’s a theory Trump can’t be blackmailed because nothing shames him. If that were true, he wouldn’t bury so many stories.

More ways in which the Trump budget sucks. Here’s another. And it will bring on a massive deficit but articles on the budget ignore that’s normal for Republicans.

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey beat a corruption charge because court decisions have made proving corruption harder.

it seems Wikileaks was more than a little biased against the female candidate in 2016.

It took two months for the Wisconsin GOP to formally disavow anti-semite candidate Paul Nehlen.

Right-wing Christian pundit Dave Daubenmire says black Christians only call him racist because skin color matters to them more than God. Otherwise why would they have voted for the Muslim Obama like they did?

Megan McArdle has become the WaPo’s new columnist. Roy Edroso, who despises her writing as much as I do, vents. LGM looks at some of her past bullshit. If you want more examples, plug her name into my blog’s search engine.  Though Chris Christie as pundit is no improvement.

I’ve never had much use for Joe Scarborough, but he totally crushes the author whose book claims Trump is on a Christian spiritual voyage.

Ben Shapiro (again) cannot understand why black people are so excited about a movie with an almost all-black cast, so he dismisses it as identity politics. The late Dwayne McDuffie pre-emptively explains this writing about what T’Challa’s first comic book series meant to him.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has a simple way to stop Republicans losing seats in special elections: don’t hold any.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

Trump’s idea of “the best and brightest”

Back in 2016, a former FB friend of mine (rape-apologist trolling is a fast way to get yourself unfriended) argued we didn’t need to worry about Trump being a vainglorious dumbass. He was a smart, Big Apple businessman: he knew how to hire the best people, they’d make up for Trump’s shortcomings.

Like so many rationale for why Trump was the right choice, it’s bullshit. Let’s look at some examples:

First of course, as you probably all know, we have Staff Secretary Rob Porter. His alleged history of spousal abuse was enough to keep him from getting a security clearance. (apparently lots of Trumpites working with classified material do not have clearance). But Trump hired him anyway — after all, Porter denied the charges! How could they have known? Even John Kelly, The Grownup In The Room supported Porter — and as LGM points out at the second link, what does it say about Trump hiring the best people that everyone accepts the White House needs a grown-up in the room? Of course, Trump himself says Porter is awesome and besides, Porter said he was innocent! I’m sure the latest White House abuser says the same thing. Though as LGM points out, Trump doesn’t care about innocence when it’s Clinton or black men rather than white male abusers.

Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, tries to pretend he and  President Shit-Gibbon really care about spouse abuse (newsflash: a lot of religious conservatives don’t). He also indignantly denied his support for “conversion therapy” when he was called out by a gay Olympic athlete. More here.

Trump lickspittle Kellyanne Conway is head of the White House opioids response team. Her response? Ignore experts and rely on political appointees. Of course Conway’s a political hack herself whose highest career accomplishment is toadying to the white supremacist in the Oval Office, so it’s not surprising — but it’s still horrifying. We’re seeing hundreds of deaths from this thing, and Trump’s crew of the Best People doesn’t give a damn.

And even Conway looks good compared to FEMA’s Puerto Rico contractor, Tiffany Brown.

Kentucky Republican and Trump backer Timothy Nolan has been charged with forcing women to sleep with him, using everything from threats to money to calls to their probation officer. He’s pleaded guilty.

As for Trump’s decisive ability to bellow You’re Fired at his people just like he did on The Apprenticewell, no. Though apparently the blame for the Porter fiasco is somehow settling on Porter’s current girlfriend. And President Shit-Gibbon is quite happy to punish legal immigrants who use federal services by making it harder for them to get a green card.

It would almost be funny if this incompetent and morally bankrupt hacks weren’t running the country and getting loyal support from Republicans in Congress. They own this as much as Trump does. So let’s look at the rest of the right wing:

They hate that conservative kids might be exposed to liberal ideas in college.

Right-wing liar David Barton claims Obama designated him an enemy of the state. And a right-wing Christian pastor claims the Trumps had to exorcise Obama’s literally demonic influence.

A Fox News executive objects to the Olympic team being too dark and too gay.

Repub presidential wannabe Marco Rubio thinks we should fund paid family leave by cutting Social Security benefits.

An armed Trump supporter asked a Navajo legislator if he was a legal immigrant.

An Illinois neo-Nazi joins the ranks of neo-Nazis who’ve run for office as Republicans (David Duke did it years ago)

Remember when Republicans claimed cutting the deficit was the most vital mission on Earth? They lied.

And the Trump Consumer Finance Protection Bureau won’t do crap about firms that don’t guard our personal information.

A Trump supporter and Pizzagate believer is shocked anyone would say she pushes fake news.

And I’m inclined to agree with Lance Manion that if Trump’s biggest accomplishment is keeping America whiter, he’d be proud of that — as if FDR wanted to be remembered for the Japanese-American internment camps.

Rights to Edward Munch’s The Scream remain with current holder.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

Hypocrites and Pharisees, i.e., Republicans

As I’ve mentioned before, pointing out Republicans don’t live up to their own supposed standards sometimes comes off as if that’s the problem with Republican policies. It isn’t. Even if they walked the walk, their policies on abortion, birth control, taxes, etc. would be horrible — their personal virtue or lack of same doesn’t affect that.

But that said, as they are so quick to crow and puff themselves up about having the moral high ground, it can’t help to point out that the congressmen (and President Shit-Gibbon) have no clothes — for example, they’re perfectly fine (as they were throughout the W years) with warrantless spying on Americans, just not on themselves. And they’re perfectly fine overriding states’ rights if it’s in their interest [update: Alito ruled against the appeal, so I apologize for thinking the worst of him]. Or if it will ban abortion. Or Jonah Goldberg arguing that liberals are the real white nationalists so how can they criticize Trump (I have actually had a Republican friend cite Woodrow Wilson’s unquestionably racist views as if that really proved 21st century liberals are the real racists). And for that matter libertarians talk a lot about freedom but some prominent ones are fine with rallying behind Trump. Why wouldn’t they?

Then we have Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp” in DC of corruption. Yet we end up with a CDC head who buys stock in tobacco and pharmaceutical firms — no way that could be an issue, right?

And for all they talk about freedom and their love for the bill of rights, conservative pundits is always happy to demand government treat Trump critics and “disloyal” government officials as traitors. Though there’s nothing new in this, they were making the exact same arguments while W was president. And they’re also hoping to go back to the spoils system where federal workers can be fired and hired based on political loyalty. Again not new — the Iraq occupation was much more interested in recruiting conservatives than anyone with relevant qualifications.

Then we have the Religious Right. Supposed moral voice Tony Perkins insists it’s perfectly reasonable not to hold Trump to moral standards such as “thou shalt not commit adultery.” Which makes perfect sense as a political tactic, but it also says Perkins and all the other religious rightwingers rallying to Trump aren’t actually moral voices unless morality translates into ” oppress gay people” or “oppress women.” Similarly, you can’t pretend your concern is “moral decline,” and then defend Trump. No, they support Trump as a political move that gives Christians more power in government, even though they pretend they don’t want a Christian state. Just as some white nationalists don’t want to admit they are.

But it’s not just religion: NRA sock-puppet Dana Loesch has gone from condemning people who trash Trump opponents (back when Loesch was in Ted Cruz’s camp) to trashing Trump opponents. This is, of course, pretty common. David Brooks enthusiastically supported the Iraq war, then wrote a column about how our leaders totally misread the situation, and didn’t mention his own misjudgments. Syndicated columnist Ron Hart gushed about how utterly, utterly awesome Sarah Palin was, then as soon as she lost only referenced her as an obvious incompetent. I don’t recall him ever explaining the switch, other than political convenience.

And we’re still stuck with a media where many reporters and pundits struggle to make it look like both parties are equally insane. Which is not really hypocrisy, but it’s definitely false. And by trying to treat Republicans as if they were anything other than a white supremacist/1 percent-supremacist party, ignores how rotten they are.

And to end with something that’s not hypocritical at all, but is extremely stupid, we have a religious conservative recommending we not get flu shots — Jesus is our flu shot! Given my health issues, needless to say I disagree.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

The thing about cover-ups (a sexual harassment link post)

People often say that “the cover-up is worse than the scandal.” Meaning cases of police brutality, sexual harassment, corruption etc. would cause less of a shit-storm if people hadn’t covered them up. But as I pointed out in an old And column, that’s not really true. The players can reasonably hope that the cover-up will hold until they’re retired or dead so they’ll never suffer any blowback from either superiors (“How could you humiliate us by taking this public?”) or the enraged public. It’s a gamble, but it’s not a foolish one. Just an utterly unethical, morally bankrupt one: screw the needs of the many, what’s in it for me?

Case in point, Michigan State University which Athletic Magazine shows completely failed in its handling of the Larry Nassar sex harassment case (not to mention sexual assault cases involving athletes). Well completely failed unless it’s intention was to bury the accusations by Nassar’s victims, such as Rachael Denhollander. If that’s the standard, they were aces. Nevertheless, the only thing MSU President Lou Anna Simon is suffering is resigning her job, while insisting the university did everything right (the MSU attorney told them they were doing great!). Nassar himself spent more than two decades abusing girls with impunity before justice caught up with him. Prior to Simon’s resignation, one board member laughed at the idea she needed to go — what was “this Nassar thing” compared to MSU’s new basketball stadium?

And of course, there’s plenty of harassment elsewhere to go around. Like a black-tie fundraiser that offers up its female waitstaff as sex toys for guests. Or Silicon Valley swinger-parties for dudes who feel they don’t get enough sex.

Rep. Patrick Meehan insists he totally did not sexually harass the staffer he called his soul mate.

Stanford University is putting up a memorial plaque on the site Brock Turner assault victim. When the university didn’t like the quote she suggested for the plaque, it picked “Everything is okay” out of context from her trial testimony.

Kirsten Gillibrand on not letting your side get away with harassment or abuse. “[Franken] is entitled to a hearing. He’s not entitled to my silence.”

Perhaps part of the problem is that even in consensual sex, women are taught their discomfort is normal.

Missouri Republican Courtland Sykes is so stereotypically sexist, Slacktivist wonders if he’s a hoax (but thinks he’s probably for real).

For something to wrap up, when teen adventurer Jade Hameister encouraged her fellow teenage girls to shoot for the stars, Internet trolls responded with “make me a sandwich!” So she did — they just have to get to the South Pole to eat it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

Rush Limbaugh’s ratings sink, so his bullshit grows

Rush Limbaugh’s ratings and the reach of his show have been shrinking for a while. So perhaps it’s not surprising that he’s racing even further into right-wing idiocy to keep up with the Alex Jones of this world. For example, claiming that beloved bugaboo of the Trumpites, the Deep State, tricked Bush II into invading Iraq to destroy his presidency.

For the record this is crap. We have two accounts of W declaring in the week after 9/11 that he suspected Iraq; Vice President Dick Cheney had been advocating overthrowing Saddam for a while; Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz believed Iraq was behind the Oklahoma City bombing; W and Cheney began pushing Iraq as the enemy well before the CIA’s findings; and several defectors and assets told the U.S. government that Hussein didn’t have any weapons (W pulled weapons inspectors out of Iraq before they’d finished their inspection or they’d presumably have found the same). Oh, and W said before his election that if he got to be a war president he’d use the political capital to push big domestic policy changes. W wasn’t a dupe; at best, he wanted to go in so badly he fooled himself, at worst, the weapons were an excuse for what he and Cheney wanted to do anyway (Wolfowitz once described Saddam’s WMDs as a convenient excuse — the real goal, he said, was to eliminate Saddam, remove US troops from Saudi Arabia and thereby relieve pressure on the Saudi monarchy).

But I don’t doubt Limbaugh’s bullcrap will find a willing audience (No More Mr. Nice Blog has thoughts on that). Just like there are people willing to buy into Pizzagate and the even more batshit theory The Storm.  Because as Slacktivist points out, you can fool some of the people all of the time . Some people want to be fooled all of the time because believing lies makes the world the way they want it to be. Believing in the Deep State’s absolute power explains why Trump hasn’t already ended gay rights, abortion, immigration and rebuilt the coal industry. Limbaugh, Jones, Mike Cernovich and others know that and exploit it. They sell bullshit to willing customers (much like creationists accept the impossible to preserve their faith in an inerrant Bible, and the media cling to the delusion Trump will suddenly become competent) who want to know that the other side are lying traitors and cannibal child molesters, so believers can feel virtuous just by hating them.

Some of the believers probably swallow the bullshit wholesale, so they can keep hating. Some of them have enough self-awareness to struggle. The right wing’s lying liars such as Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer knowingly prey upon their willingness to be fooled. Take Trump’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniels. Some conservative men may see it as proof Trump is awesome, other voters are probably glad to hear Fischer and Perkins, as representatives of godly morality, assure them it’s no reflection on what a godly man Trump is (just like the religious right rallying around Roy Moore). As former RNC chair Michael Steele has pointed out, what Fischer and Perkins say makes no moral sense but they probably don’t give a damn (the real moral threats are gay people and women having sex without risk of pregnancy, not men enjoying themselves). And their listeners can use their words, or Fox News, or Limbaugh to reassure themselves Trump’s morality is not an issue. And that voting straight Republican is a vote to stop Hilary Clinton personally raping the pizzagate sex slaves.

And then they can sleep at night.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

The Chosen One trope didn’t give us Trump

Writing a guest post for John Scalzi’s The Big Idea, Michael Moreci describes his novel Black Star Renegades as a rejection of the Chosen One trope. “See, I’ve always had trouble with the messiah complex. The idea that we should sit around and wait for an all-powerful someone or other to come along and save our butts from the fire isn’t a healthy one. It leads to bad places. Like when, oh, I don’t know, a tyrannical buffoon campaigns under the promise that he’s the only one—him alone—who can solve all the country’s problems. And people actually believe him. Because that’s what we’re taught. Iron Man will save us. Luke Skywalker. Katniss Everdeen. Harry Potter. Whoever. There’s a magical chosen one, and without this person we wouldn’t be able to do a darn thing on our own. Sure, we can play supporting roles, but at the end of the day, only one person can vanquish Voldemort or Vader.”

Like Melissa Olson’s critique of suburban horror, I think this gets lots of stuff wrong — which doesn’t say anything about the quality of the book, of course.

First off, Moreci seems to be equating “the Chosen One” with “the hero of the book,” and that’s way off. As I put it seven years ago, Chosen Ones are born great, gifted with great powers or a great destiny. How does Iron Man qualify? Tony Stark is a hero because he made himself one. Built his armor (albeit with help). Improved his armor. Made the choice to use it to protect people. He wasn’t born great, he achieved greatness (I break down the differences at the link)

Katniss is the third category, one who has greatness thrust upon her. She enters the Hunger Games because she has no choice if she wants to save her sister. By the time of Mockingjay she is indeed the shining symbol of the revolution, but that’s revolutionary propaganda to rally the troops, not because she is, in fact, a Chosen One (in its own way, I think Mockingjay rejects the same tropes Moreci objects to)

Harry Potter? True, he’s born to be the nemesis of Voldemort, but he still relies heavily on training and pluck more than destiny. And far from doing it alone, he does what heroes are supposed to do: inspire others to follow them. He takes the lead, but he’d have been toast without Ron or Hermione, or Dumbledore’s Army, or the Order of the Phoenix There are likewise lots of stories where superheroes inspire others to step up to the plate, rather than do it all themselves.

As I’ve said before, it’s not longing for a hero that gave us the Trump presidency, any more than movies like Dave. The desire for an authoritarian leader is one that exists quite independently of pop culture. It no more goes away if we don’t have chosen ones than we can banish it by dramatizing the horrors of fictional dictators (Doom, Palpatine, Darkseid).

 

Which is not to say Moreci’s idea of a book where everyone has to step up to the plate is bad. It’s a good, classic idea, one you can see a lot in WW II movies, where we were told over and over again that everyone has to do their part.

All rights to image remain with current holder. #SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Reading, Writing

I now defy right-wing political correctness!

A lot of conservatives are happy to denounce “PC” on the left in contrast to their own supposed willingness to stare reality in the face. In reality, PC — in the sense of “blindly accepting dogma” — is something anyone can fall victim to, including conservatives.

For examples conservatives during the W years were adamant that our government did not torture anyone. A detailed report from The Constitution Project shows that yes, we did. And the torture was systemic, common and not at all “a few bad apples.” At the bare minimum higher authorities demanded information, encouraged soldiers to “take the gloves off” getting it and offered no guidelines on what not to do. If nothing else, that’s negligence on a massive (and in some cases fatal) scale.

Nothing in my columns for the Destin Log, however, freaked right-wingers out as much as the phrase “right wing terrorism.” Nope. No way. Doesn’t exist. Not a problem. It’s Muslims, okay and maybe radical leftists but it’s never conservatives. I’m not sure how much is fear of having the anti-terrorist system they’ve supported turned on them, how much sympathy for the far right and how much the same kind of discomfort the word “racist” causes (David Neiwert offers some thoughts on this and other topics in an interview). But “there’s no right-wing terrorism” is bullshit whatever the reason, as the Anti-Defamation League shows with its report, A Dark and Constant Rage. 150 incidents over the past 25 years is a lot for something that supposedly doesn’t exist.

Moving on … speaking of the right wing and racism, here’s yet another Trump sleazebag appointee. Of course the media still flinch from acknowledging President Shit-Gibbon is a racist. Speaking of racism, the real reason the Republicans aren’t cutting a deal on DACA is that they don’t want to. And don’t forget, believing in racist bullshit requires making yourself stupider.

John Roberts and the conservative wing of the Supreme Court have said North Carolina doesn’t have to redraw gerrymandered districts before the fall election. Can’t disadvantage Republicans, can we?

As Shakezula says, will religious-freedom-to-discriminate laws ever be used to deny treatment to adulterers? Or just trans, gay and female people? Heck, with Trump cheating and banging porn stars probably makes his acolytes love him more.

Another day, another abuser exposed. And as usual, it looks like he had people willing to cover up for him. And charges have been filed against another supposedly godly man. And here’s how churches shouldn’t respond.

The Star of David is Satanic according to one right-wing Bible thumper.

Even when Gamergate participants confessed to sending women death threats, the FBI file shows no charges were filed.

Sexual abuse of a coworker doesn’t have to take place in the workplace.

Elderly immigrants being deported don’t get the Social Security they’ve been paying into for years.

It costs the IRS more to employ private debt-collectors than the contractors bring in to the agency.

The Museum of the Bible: more politics than museum.

Anthem’s new policy for covering ER visits: if they decide you should have known that stabbing gut pain wasn’t an emergency, you’re not covered.

And now some links courtesy of the Slacktivist blog:

Hiram Revels was the first black man to serve in Congress. Yet in the places where he lived in work, it’s statues to Confederates, not Revels, that people see.

How we whitewash and sanitize the civil rights struggle.

Back in the 1990s, Pat Robertson warned conservatives against the Illuminati takeover (with the added twist the Illuminati were run by International Jewish Bankers); apparently the Illuminati are still a bogeyman (Alex Jones at the link doesn’t deny they exist, he just denies Trump’s a member).

Leave a comment

Filed under economics, Politics, Undead sexist cliches