Category Archives: Politics

More reasons we can’t have nice things (#SFWApro)

Because whackaloon conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones are taken seriously. Even when claiming that George Soros is making pot stronger to destroy America.

•Because ass-hats like Michael Reagan (son of Ronnie) respond to Bill O’Reilly’s alleged sexual harassment by saying men should have the right to sue women for looking sexy. They dress to get us all hot and bothered, then they get upset when we notice how they’re dressed. The answer: sexual harassment isn’t just men noticing women are attractive. And if men can’t control themselves, it’s not the woman’s fault. No matter how she’s dressed.

•The fight against abortion continues. On a plus side, Maryland is revising its definition of rape so that even if it’s not forcible, cops can charge the rapist.

•Congress is considering a bill that would reduce regulation on crooked payday lenders. Bill’s primary supporter is a Republican, natch. And Trump’s “populism continues to focus on reducing regulation on businesses. And Congress is also looking to cut protections for people using prepaid debit cards.

•Donald Trump has also eased wildlife restrictions in Alaska that make it easier to shoot hibernating bears. Because let’s face it, how else can a man feel like a man?

•Attorney General Jeff Sessions thinks Hawaii is not a real state. Which may reflect long-standing right-wing fears that Hawaii isn’t white enough to be a state.

•Because Paul Ryan, that supposed man of principle and seriously wonky disposition, has no qualms tongue-bathing Trump in print. And while he seems cool with having gone to college on his family’s Social Security Disability income, Ryan opposes retired miners getting health benefits.

•Because some right-wingers can’t grasp that choosing to have a baby doesn’t make you anti-abortion.

•Because pundits still want to blame Trump and angry conservatives on liberals. Or explain that if black America suffers, it’s their own fault. While still insisting Trump is Clinton’s fault. And claiming Democrats raise the murder rate.

•Because a Republican Congressman (Jim Sensenbrenner) thinks there’s no need for government to impose privacy rules on Internet providers — nobody has to use the Internet, right? By which logic we shouldn’t worry about keeping up roads, as nobody has to drive.

•Because reporters can paint a spectacular Democratic win as a Republican triumph. Or continue to insist on how awesome it is they’re interviewing Trump voters.

•Because think tanks like CATO can suddenly discover feminism when they can use it to argue in favor of exploiting third-world workers.

•Because part of the right-wing isn’t even denying they like shari’a law as long as it’s white shari’a.

•Because women’s achievements are sometimes hand-waved away and credited to men.

•Because sexual harassers can stick around academia for years. And years.

•Because as IF Stone once put it, the real problem isn’t when governments lie but when they start drinking their own snake-oil. Republicans used to use the right-wing media to manipulate people, but now they’re believers themselves.

•As that’s kind of a downbeat post, I’ll leave on one cheerful note: Florida State Senator Frank Artiles used the n-word on a political opponent. It created such a backlash, he’s resigning.

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Filed under economics, Politics, Undead sexist cliches

Why we can’t have nice things. For starters, Republicans

Because they’re thrilled, absolutely thrilled that we’re bombing Syria.

•Because if they can’t get the state education budget cuts they want, they veto the entire education budget.

•They elected an authoritarian, borderline fascist president. Who despite all the talk in the campaign (and since) about him Not Being a Politician is now a bog-standard Republican only more openly racist.

•Because President Shit-Gibbon’s AG Jeff Sessions has given up on improving forensic science. Apparently sloppy science often works in the prosecution’s favor, so good science might get more people off. Which would be bad. And he’s going to get even tougher on immigrants. I’m sure he’ll make up for it by not spending any DoJ resources on things like right wing terrorism.

•Because education secretary Betsy Devos has dropped an Obama policy of not contracting with student-loan servicers who screw over borrowers.

•Because electing “godly” people (which large numbers of Republicans stopped worrying about when Trump ran) doesn’t lead to moral government. Nor does electing homophobes.

•Because in Texas the Republicans don’t want minors joining unions without parental consent.

•Because some North Carolina Republicans want to make marriage heterosexual-only again. Ditto Tennessee. And one of the NC legislators, Larry Pittman, puts Lincoln fighting the Civil War in the same class as Hitler. And has also supported a bill canceling the “never secede again” clause in the Constitution. Funny, he doesn’t seem to see any connection between Hitler’s belief in racial superiority and the Confederacy’s support of racial superiority.

•Because they’re voting to let a church have its own police force. I know they say its purely for security, but I have a bad feeling about this …

•Because they give us daily examples of white privilege. And more white privilege (and then whine about how minorities shouldn’t be let into college because, merit!). Which we’re supposed to believe represents rugged individualism.

•Because they’re not answerable to the taxpayers: Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin says he’s so rich his taxes pay his salary, so he’s really doing it for free. But I’m sure he’s carefully crunched the numbers and eliminated all the other things he gets like roads, law enforcement and the military.

•Because if they can’t repeal Obamacare, they’re willing to shut off the money.

•Because they cut funding to libraries and legal services for the poor.

•Because their media lackeys will insist on explaining, even now, that Trump is identical to Clinton. Or that he’s the Martin Luther King of healthcare.

•Because they think a woman with a dead fetus should carry it to term instead of aborting (Republicans say the bill doesn’t actually require that, but that doesn’t change that Republican Shannon Lundgren, thinking it did, was cool with it).

•Because they’re still convinced this country belongs to Christians and nobody else.

•Because of the angry white men who think they got ripped off.

•Because we get smug Catholic conservatives like Ross Douthat taking up space in the NYT to tell liberals you should all go to church and (a classic!) even atheists know God exists. Though I will admit “go to liberal churches” is an improvement over his usual paeans to right-wing reactionaries and abstinence.

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Filed under economics, Politics, Undead sexist cliches

The tide has turned. That may be a good thing (#SFWApro)

So a couple of weeks ago I was dealing with four different sources of nonfiction, income generating projects. At this point it looks like next week I’ll be down to one. I don’t feel bad about (perhaps in a few months).

The legal articles I was doing for Leaf has now wrapped up. It was fun doing it again — after several years with them back when I first moved up here I know the format and a lot of the topics well — but simply because it was for a limited time I put in a lot more effort than if it had been long-term. So that’ll free up quite a bit of time.

Two of the other income streams I was dealing with have yet to send me any work. Which is good because I had the Leaf stuff — it paid a lot better — and I don’t know how much more I could have handled. I keep wondering if one of them will start next week, enabling me to keep the money flowing. But I wouldn’t mind a week of getting back to mostly fiction, even though I’m still hustling for nonfiction gigs and magazine article ideas.

Screen Rant, of course, remains. I did my newest article this week (Dalek trivia!) but it’s not online yet. Rights to image remain with current holder.

And I did get close to 3,000 words of Southern Discomfort done, but that’s 2,000 short of what I’d planned. I should have stuck with the impulse I followed the previous week: when the nonfiction gets tough, just make myself put in the extra time to get 1,000 words each day. I’d figured I could catch up today — I did my last Leaf article (on the educational power of attorney) yesterday — but no. We had a somewhat chaotic morning with me walking the dogs (TYG was stuck handling something else) and then Plushie went and sat up in the bedroom. When I checked on him he stared at me as if he couldn’t quite figure out why he didn’t have one of his parents next to him to snuggle with (he’s not the sharpest card in the deck). So I settled in with him until he finally headed downstairs. All of which apparently left my brain too unfocused to work on fiction, so I switched to batting out some of Undead Sexist Cliches (The Book). I’m pleased I kept my nose to the grindstone, frustrated I got thrown so easily by morning events (and I had such a good night’s sleep, too!). But like I said, next week looks free and clear for catching up (fingers crossed).

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Filed under Personal, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead sexist cliches, Writing

Trump, Trump’s people and some people fighting against them

I wrote last week that the the one time we shouldn’t take Trump literally is when he promises something that will help people. Case in point, Trump is not planning to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. But that doesn’t stop some pundits dreaming that Trump is shifting to the center. Or applauding that as he attacked Syria, that makes him more presidential. Or in one particularly ghastly Politico piece, arguing that Trump running the White House as a family business is a good thing.

•The White House demanded Twitter provide the identity of an alleged government employee tweeting against Trump. Twitter refused. The White House backed down.

•The current FCC chair is working to eliminate the FCC’s new net neutrality policy. Oh, and Charter’s no longer required to compete for customers as part of its Time Warner merger. And with the FCC’s privacy restrictions on Internet providers also toast, one state is looking at imposing its own privacy rule.

•The EPA has postponed banning a pesticide that its own science says is dangerous to humans. It’s getting sued over that decision.

•Slacktivist discusses why Trump voters won’t let us have nice things (because that means people of color get them too). Echidne looks at Trump’s win and his staff as a backlash against feminism. Slacktivist (again) reminds us that when Jesus says we must love our neighbor the person who gets technical about who our neighbors are is doing it wrong.

•A court has ruled that civil rights laws prevents firing or refusing to hire gays.

•Some Republicans are proposing a way to let insurers charge through the roof for pre-existing conditions.

•No, the Democrats filibustering Neil Gorsuch is not at all unprecedented.

•If conservatives can live with Bill O’Reilly and the allegations of sexual harassment against him, why would they be bothered by Trump’s sexism?

•A close-up look at what Trump’s 2005 tax return really shows.

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Filed under economics, Politics, Undead sexist cliches

Hulk must smash and smash again!

A short list of people who deserve some smashing:

•Charles Krauthammer, paraplegic right-wing hack who thinks it’s outrageous maternity care coverage is included in his health insurance as he doesn’t need it. Astonishingly, he doesn’t then suggest that it’s unfair on the able-bodied who don’t need the kind of treatments and wheelchairs he does to have to buy insurance that covers them. Almost like there’s a double standard. Ditto every other guy who objects to buying policies with maternity care but not, say, women buying policies that cover testicular cancer.

•A Lutheran pastor whose response to Mike Pence refusing to eat alone with women says men and women can’t be friends. And even trying is bad because that means they’re not popping out babies America needs to replenish himself (he doesn’t say white babies, but that’s my automatic assumption). As someone whose two best friends are women, dude you’re an ignorant idiot. And so are some of the guys Roy Edroso lists making similar arguments.

•Andrew Bowen, a US columnist who asked Arab News to purge his past columns because they were anti-Trump and might stop him getting a State Department post.

•And everyone involved in a Business Insider richsplaining article about all the way to become wealthy earning minimum wage. Like moving to a more affordable city (because moving across country when you’re broke is sooo easy). Living on $75 worth of food a month (I followed most of their tips, such as eating little meat, when I lived by myself and food bills were still $40 a week). Oh, and increase your annual earnings from $14,000 (at minimum wage) to $32,000. So basically it’s “how to build wealth on minimum wage by not working minimum wage.” richsplaining article.

•Donald Trump ,who condemned Obama for bombing Syria, but has begun aggressively bombing Syria.

•Bank of America for screwing over a couple struggling with their mortgage.

Rape apologists.

Bill O’Reilly, accused sexual harasser.

•Megan McArdle, complaining that the Democrats, as opposition party, are actually opposing stuff. She’s spouting all the usual cliches (and as noted at the link, in full double-standard mode). And she’s McArdle, whose bullshit was the subject of an earlier Hulk Smash post.

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Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

Mike Pence’s fear of women

Mike Pence is not a fan of women except when they’re subjected to suitable male dominance. He objects to women putting their kids in day care so they can work. He thinks abortions should be illegal, and the fetuses buried like babies and while governor made it mandatory.

Now it turns out he also won’t eat alone with a woman to avoid any hint of scandal (he also won’t attend an event involving drinking unless she’s there). This is known as the “Billy Graham Rule” though Graham’s was even stricter — never to be alone under any circumstances with a woman other than his wife (from the article, it doesn’t seem Pence goes that far — though then again, it doesn’t rule it out). Which as the article points out, is a bad deal for women: if a man in authority can’t talk to women alone, that adds another layer to the glass ceiling. As witness the dentist who fired an employee because he lusted for her. And multiple female congressional staffers who can’t be alone with their bosses.

National Review’s David French thinks Pence is wise (not a direct link) — liberals may delude themselves that men and women won’t jump each other the second they get the chance, but conservative Christians know better (yet another version of right-wingers insisting men are bad, so women’s career prospects should suffer). And what happens to bisexuals? Should they refuse to be alone with anyone?

As Slacktivist points out (in contrast to French) the issue isn’t being alone with a woman, it’s wanting to cheat. If Pence wants to, he will, rule or not. If he doesn’t, he won’t, even if he’s alone with a beautiful woman. And no, calling Pence out on this isn’t a “culture war” attack — Pence has spent his entire career engaged in culture warrior-ship (his views on day care go back twenty years).

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“Take Trump seriously, but not literally”

As President Shit-Gibbon’s predilection for lying became more and more obvious, a defense cropped up on the right, that we’re making a mistake if we take him literally instead of seriously. His supporters do they opposite: they don’t take his words literally because they know he’s serious about making America great again. So journalists should stop focusing on Trump’s words because they’re just not as important to him as they are to writers (of course if that was true, he wouldn’t keep having hissy fits about words saying he lost the popular vote).

The argument is probably correct about a lot of Trump voters. They’re fine with his lies as long as it annoys liberals (who are constantly persecuting them with all this talk of science). They didn’t think he’d defund Planned Parenthood. They didn’t think he’d take away their health-care coverage and probably didn’t anticipate losing Meals on Wheels. Or Trump making it easier for federal contractors to violate labor laws. And some farmers are genuinely shocked that the guy who ran on an anti-immigrant platform is going to restrict immigration, which could kill their labor force (there’s notably little concern for what will happen to the immigrants). They didn’t take him literally and you know what? That was a mistake.

There is no circumstance under which “his voters don’t care Trump spews bullshit” is a good excuse for reporters not pointing out the bullshit. The article I refer to argues that as the public doesn’t care, there’s no point to reporting it — but his rationale is that “the public” equates to “Trump voters” when he was, as we all know, the minority choice for president.

But beyond that, assuming he doesn’t mean what he says is just contradicted by the facts. We should assume he means everything literally except when it’s about providing his voters with better welfare benefits, creating a superior health-care plan that will cover everyone (as opposed to the Trumpcare shitpile) and doing anything to make people’s lives better. Except where he can make them better by dumping on women and minorities. Oh, and when he talked about bringing death and destruction to the Middle East, and it turns out that was literal too.

A number of Republican pundits are perfectly happy not to take Trump literally, such as Peggy Noonan, who saw potential in Trump to be a kind of recyled Reagan: strong but not aggressive on defense, supportive of free enterprise, supportive of churches, “realistic and nonradical” on social issues. At the link she bemoans that it hasn’t happened, but does her best to blame his staff.

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Filed under economics, Politics