Elitist

Yesterday I was listening to a program called “Indivisible” — one of those “intersection of culture and politics” type shows on NPR. This particular episode focused on millennials and whether they planned to stay engaged in the political process, and of course host Kerri Miller put out a special shout-out to millennial Trump voters because Lord knows, we haven’t heard enough from them.

And in general it was a fairly interesting conversation until we got to the caller from Columbus, Ohio, our millennial Trump voter. You can catch his interview here at the 22 minute mark:

I actually did vote for Donald Trump, I am a millennial, and perhaps one of the sole reasons why was just the coarse ugliness of 21st century activism. Everything from football games to flavors of ice cream has been politicized, and that type of culture is an extreme turnoff to blue collar millennials. And that’s a demographic the Democratic Party does need to pay attention to because there are many of us who do not have college degrees and are blue collar, and in general when you work with your hands it’s really hard to take the advice of people with pink hair seriously.

Cue record-scratch sound effect. Dude, did some chick with pink hair turn you down for a date or something? Poor baby.

So, got that? He voted for Trump just to stick it to the liberals. You sure showed us, boy oh boy! Har har. What a dumb fuck.

I am so sick of these people, I really am. It always goes back to their overwhelming butthurt over some imagined slight, the over-arching inferiority complex of the blue collar conservative. There’s this deeply-seated suspicion of us pointy-headed intellectuals who believe in shit like, you know, science and economics, and who have the temerity to believe that government in the right hands can function as the Founding Fathers designed it to.

But I digress. Host Kerri Miller asked our millennial Trump voter if he planned to disengage from politics, wondered how involved he’d been beyond voting in the first place, at which point I had to change the channel. Take it away:

I wasn’t involved in getting out the vote at all. I’m not affiliated with any political party at all. In fact, I’m even considering shredding my voter registration. The ugliness of the 2016 election, it’s a huge turnoff. There’s a large number of people that were independents and first-time voters, not because they’re registered Republicans or necessarily convinced with Republican principles, but it’s simply they saw no choice between a kind of pretentious chaos and a blue collar work ethic. And in the end Donald Trump despite his background portrayed himself as more sincere and he did not talk down to the blue collar demographic.

Pretentious chaos vs a blue collar work ethic? Yeah, I’ve actually heard that one before. Someone bought the Fox News Kool-ade that liberals are all on the dole while the hardworking, red-blooded, American blue-collar worker goes out and keeps America afloat for the rest of us.

We’ve been fed a lot of that horseshit since the election as the media pursues an endless analysis of the “typical Trump voter” (his sainted name be praised). Now is when I get to link to The Rude Pundit’s perfect response to this nonsense: a righteous rant called, Fuck You, Rural Elitists.

Yes, seriously, fuck you, Mark in Columbus, Ohio. I’m sorry your feelings got hurt by someone with a Yale degree who refused to accept that climate change is a hoax or Ayn Rand was anything more than a writer of bad fiction. Maybe people with college degrees actually know a thing or two, you know? That doesn’t mean that everyone without a college degree is a moron, I know plenty of smart, successful people who never went to college. But let me tell you, they’d be the last people to wear an inferiority complex on their sleeve and demand all the coastal elites worship their Carhartts.

I hear so much of this shit from so many people. Why is looking down on someone with pink hair and a nose ring — or, for that matter, a degree from Stanford or Vanderbilt — any less elitist than calling out someone wearing camo and a farmer’s cap?

And please, stop telling me that I need to “understand” these people. No, I fucking don’t. Maybe they need to understand us. How often does the news media try to explain liberalism to them? I’m not talking Fox News, I’m talking any goddamn news network. Does CNN or ABC or any media outfit ever try to explain “the typical Clinton voter” or “the Trump opposition” to these folks? That might be a start, you know?

I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately what we can do to change peoples’ minds, to “un-brainwash” them (to be impolite), or, as one commenter asked, to come up with some “suggested solutions to get these people to see that they are voting against their, and their families, interests.”

I don’t have a solution. There isn’t one. Study after study shows that people are entrenched in their ideas and giving them facts only makes them dig their heels in further. The problem is not political. The problem these folks have is psychological. They got their feelings hurt by some Democrat with a degree from Yale and now suddenly we all have pink hair and nose rings and should be ignored.

So take the log out of your own eyes, folks. You’re just as elitist and biased as anyone else. Maybe when you lose your health insurance and your corn exports to Mexico go the way of a fart in the breeze you can sit and think about all those kids with hair dyed from the Paas collection and mull over how it’s all their fault. Or maybe you can turn off the TV, crack open a book, and start thinking for yourselves.

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Filed under conservatives, politics

Elections Have Consequences

Call me biased but there are some issues that I firmly believe are better in Democratic hands than Republican ones. And I put the environment at the top of that list.

If you want clean air, water, soil and all the rest, Democrats are your people. Sure, we have disagreements and we’re not perfect; BernieBros purists will be happy to point out Democrats who are okay with fracking, or others who believe in “clean coal.” These are complicated issues and there are some tough choices and all the rest. But by and large, Democrats are the ones who are reliable defenders of the environment. Republicans are the ones who harp on about “red tape” and “regulations” harming jobs, who peddle fantasies about the “free hand of the market” driving polluters out of business and who constantly harp on about dismantling the EPA.

So excuse me for being a little puzzled by the people of Benton County, TN who have lately been wondering how their landfill all of a sudden started accepting hazardous waste, which appears to be a health issue for those living nearby. I’ll tell you how that happened: you overwhelming voted for Republicans at every level of government, and those people don’t give a shit about your water and air, that’s how.

Or to put it another way:

Obtaining a state permit to establish a new landfill requires public notice and disclosure about the types of waste that will be deposited so communities can discuss, debate or even intervene to stop a landfill before it starts. Once a landfill has gotten its initial permit, however, landfill owners and waste generators in Tennessee can privately petition the state to accept additional and potentially hazardous materials.

[…]

Camden Mayor Roger Pafford said no one from TDEC informed city officials that their town was now home to a hazardous waste landfill. The omission was particularly galling to city officials because the leachate – or wastewater – pipe carrying hazardous waste from the landfill flows directly above a city drinking water main.

Well, that’s bad news. So is it okay for private industries to “privately petition the state to accept additional and potentially hazardous materials” and not tell anyone what’s going on? I certainly don’t think so. But remember, our wonderful “moderate” non-crazy Gov. Haslam is the one who removed consumer representatives from the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board. So that might be one reason why you didn’t know about the toxic sludge now buried in your backyards.

And to add insult to injury, these folks are now hoping the EPA can help them get to the bottom of this mess. They’ve actually requested that the Environmental Protection Agency investigate this.

Excuse me a moment.

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AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA }}

Okay, I’m back now.

Have y’all seen the bill Republicans filed in Congress to eliminate the EPA? That is literally what the bill says:

The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.

And that’s it. So, Benton County, good luck with that! Even if that bill fails, have you seen the order of the President (the guy you voted for overwhelmingly) to dismantle the EPA’s clean water rule? Or his proposal to slash the EPA’s budget by a whopping 25% so we can build more nukes? I mean, you voted for it, bigly, so certainly you’re aware of the Trump mandate that EPA data and studies undergo a political review before being released to the public?

You knew about this right? Right?

So do you seriously think a Trump-era EPA has the time, money, or political mojo to go after Haslam cronies in the solid waste business? Pardon me again:

{{ HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA }}

And do you really think that Congressman Marsha Blackburn, who wants to fold the EPA into a cubby in a corner of the Dept. of Energy — and yet another politician you’ve voted for, repeatedly, by like 75% — is going to give a rats’ ass about your drinking water?

And let’s see how much Gov. Haslam, who also has your undying electoral love and devotion, cares. He’s in the midst of actually increasing the amount of toxic sludge flowing into landfills that people previously thought were for orange peels and other household waste:

TDEC is moving forward with efforts to speed up the special waste approval process. TDEC officials last month told members of the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board – the oversight board of members appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam – they were creating an online submission portal that will allow TDEC officials to approve requests for disposal. Haslam four years ago reconstituted the board to remove consumer representatives.

So I really want to know why you idiots keep reflexively pulling the lever for Republicans when you’re worried about safe drinking water and complaining about the loss of land values because of the burning sensation when you jump in the swimming pool and the pH levels that are “off the charts.”

When will you people wake up and realize that your Republican representatives at the state and federal level do not respect you or care about you? They use gays, God and abortion to sucker you into voting for them, then they ignore you the rest of the time. They cut government to the size where it’s useless when you need it, but hey: you bought every BS line they sold you about “big government,” so you have only yourselves to blame.

And okay fine, go ahead and join the Sierra Club now as a last resort, while you try to tell yourself that you’re “not an environmentalist.” We’re all environmentalists, asshole. Poisoned air and water don’t care about your party affiliation. This stuff affects all of us, regardless.

Honestly, I don’t get it, folks.

16 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, elections, environment, EPA, Tennessee

Principles

I apologize, I’ve been remiss in posting. Believe me, it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve started about a dozen posts over the past six weeks and every time, without fail, I’ve deleted them. They’ve all seemed inadequate to the task when compared to the absurdity of current events.

And not that I would put myself in the same company as our political press, but I do understand why they all fawned over Trump’s address to Congress. It was like this collective sigh of relief that they could write about something normal for a change. Familiar ground at last! Terra firma. Was the speech good or bad? Whew! As opposed to today’s headlines, which went something like,

wiretap

I mean, my God.

None of this is normal.

Recently I was in New York City at a music club. A guy at the table behind me was talking in one of those loud, overheated voices men use when they’re trying to impress their dates. It was hard not to hear him, and when it became clear he had worked for the Trump campaign, you’d better believe I listened in. He said,

“most of us in Andrew’s office are pretty liberal Democrats….”

(Andrew being Cuomo, the governor of New York, I am guessing). But when the Trump campaign came along a bunch of them saw an opportunity because,

“…Stephen (Miller?) came in and said how if the Democrats aren’t going to be the party of working people, we might as well be….”

… as if the Trumpers give a shit about working people? Really? And so all of these folks who worked for the Democratic governor of New York were now finding roles in the Trump administration, principles be damned.

But our Boy Wonder is no dummy, even he could see what a shit show the White House is, so he was going try to find something in the AG’s office. And how you can call yourself a liberal Democrat while working under Jeff Sessions is a complete puzzler to me.

I heard all of this on the earie, as they say, and it was all I could do to keep from turning around and asking Boy Wonder WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? I mean, kids today, amiright?

Folks, this stuff matters. This isn’t just your resume we’re talking about. There are actual, real-life consequences to the policies that Trump is pursuing. Real people are being affected here. There’s the migrant deported to Mexico who committed suicide hours later, the grandmother deported while her son in law is in Afghanistan. Or the trauma inflicted on this family:

Immigration agents tailed a man as he dropped off his daughter at a Los Angeles school last week. They pulled him over and took him away — all while his 13-year-old sobbed in the back seat.

It’s been just six weeks, and this is the kind of stuff happening already. There’s more: I know people who expect to lose their Obamacare coverage who have been forced to make real life changes as a result: career decisions, life partner decisions, you name it. So the idea that someone would be so cynical as to think, “I’m a liberal Democrat but I’m going to work for Trump because I’ve got my career to think about” is repulsive to me.

And it seems to be going around. A lot of people want to know how Stephen Miller became such a horrible person. Friends want to know how the educated, liberal Jewish Julia Hahn came to write for Breitbart News and ultimately get hired by Steve Bannon as a White House staffer. It’s quite a conundrum:

After college, Hahn moved to Washington, D.C., hoping, she told friends, to “get a job in media.” She didn’t seem to care what kind. At around this time, a Chicago classmate who worked at a think tank saw Hahn at a party; Hahn said that she was a producer for Laura Ingraham, a fixture of far-right talk radio. “I asked, ‘Oh, is that what your politics are?’ ” the classmate recalled. “She went, ‘Nah, I’m apolitical.’ I thought, O.K., there are two possibilities. Either she’s dissembling because she doesn’t feel comfortable being outed as a hyperconservative or she actually is just a pure social climber.”

[…]

“Seeing her writing for Breitbart—and writing some of the most aggressive, white-nationalist stuff on the site—was quite a shock,” Eliza Brown, one of Hahn’s Chicago classmates, said. “My friends and I talked about it a lot, along the lines of ‘Was this festering in her all along?’ ‘Can you ever truly know anyone?’ ” She continued, “Not to wax too poetic about academia, but part of the idea of learning the canon is that it will, ultimately, make you a better person.”

Is this some new thing, people not having any principles? Is it some generational thing? And looking at the shit show that the Trump regime has become after just six weeks, who thinks a Trump administration job will be anything but a liability on their resume in coming years?

I don’t get it, I really don’t. But whatever. The important message, if there is one, is that this shit matters. Everything you do matters. Even if you aren’t Boy Wonder, even if you’re a normal person going about your day, what you do matters. Do it with integrity, honesty and humility or don’t bother getting out of bed in the morning.

That is all.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump

This Is Your Periodic Reminder That Trump’s Twitter Is Fake

Looks like the dumb housewife has struck again.

Last year I had a sneaking suspicion that there was something very phony about Trump’s most active Twitter followers. I’d see people — some of them prominent journalists and public figures — get in weird debates with Trump supporters. But there was something really strange about these supporters. They always had 32 supporters or 32,000 — no middle ground. They universally had “Deplorable” in their names and the #MAGA hashtag in their bios. Their profiles usually represented a minority of some kind — African Americans, Hispanics, women, etc. — i.e., people who were not supposed to be Trump supporters, according to conventional wisdom (and polls). Their bio pics were always extremely physically attractive, not a dog in the litter. And their Twitter feeds were all virtually identical. They all repeated the same pro-Trump lines, and re-Tweeted each other. Many were re-Tweeted by Trump himself. It was all just a little too “straight out of Central Casting” for me, and my bullshit meter went off. I finally wrote about it here.

Since then we’ve learned more about Trump/Russia’s use of social media to spread Trump memes. The goal is to establish the idea that Trump’s agenda and Trumpism in general is more widely accepted among Americans than it actually is. Another goal is to attack opponents — Hillary during the campaign, but post-inauguration, the tactic is deployed against anyone opposing Trump.

Why Twitter? Because our idiotic news media uses Twitter as its assignment editor. There are news shows that literally cover “trending topics” like they’re real things. Last week a WSMV morning news report had the “breaking news” (not making this up) that Trump Tweeted five times overnight. So it’s important to remind everyone that Twitter is often fake, and Trump’s Twitter in particular is super fake. Trump-related Twitter activity does not equate with support for his regime.

For example, a Twitter audit reveals that over one quarter of Trump’s Twitter followers are fakes:

twitteraudit

This isn’t necessarily Trump’s fault, as bots and zombies can attach themselves to anyone without the account holder knowing about it. But when this zombie bot army is Tweeting identical pro-Trump messages, it’s not out of line to question what the hell is going on. For example, see this string of identical Tweets from different pro-Trump accounts. Hmmm …

And there’s this from Facebook (I know I’m talking primarily about Twitter here but the same shit goes on over at Facebook):

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Just before the inauguration Forbes did an analysis of Trump’s Twitter following and found not only are there an unusually large percentage of zombies and bots, but the majority of accounts are not U.S.-based:

In Trump’s case, many of those followers come from Moscow or elsewhere in Russia, India, Nigeria and Latin American countries, primarily Venezuela and Mexico.  It’s not surprising that our PEOTUS is followed by people around the world, but those people should not be counted as part of Trump’s electoral base in the U.S.

If you limit the scope of analysis to accounts of users who self-identify as living in the United States, those 20 million total followers worldwide become more like 3 million active domestic Twitter users who included a location setting in their Twitter profile, and thus are likely to represent actual people and businesses. Affinio says they often see large shifts in audience size by applying this kind of geography filter.

So of Trump’s 20 million followers, only 3 million represent actual Americans. That’s … pathetic. Mashable recently noted:

It’s been estimated that up to 80 percent of Trump’s Twitter traffic is perpetuated by bots, singing his praises and hawking Trump-related merchandise. The most famous item they sold was a now-infamous “Liberal Tears” mug.

Tolulope Edionwe at The Outline uncovered that the mugs were a scam, with many customers never receiving their much-desired liberal-shaming swag.

As the Mashable piece explained, a change in Twitter’s mobile app has made the creation of spambots moot. They’re still there, but not as prominent. But of course, whenever technology creates a wall, savvy manipulators figure out how to build ladders.

I have long suspected that a major reason Trump was so enamored with Twitter in the first place is because it’s so easy to manipulate. It’s so easy to create an army of adoring followers on Twitter, which is what Trump craves. And who knows, maybe it’s not him, maybe it’s someone smarter than him — a Steve Bannon type, maybe — who’s figured out how to pull Turmp’s strings by using bots to up the “likes” on whatever asinine thought comes to him at 3 a.m. I don’t know if he’s using Twitter as part of a massive propaganda campaign or an ego gratification campaign or if someone else is using it to manipulate him; regardless, it’s time everyone wised up and started acting accordingly.

So, I don’t want to hear any more “breaking news” about trending topics, or Trump Tweets. If Trump wants to threaten opponents with his Twitter army, bring it on: the “army” is fake. It’s one thing for the news media to cover the latest cute kid viral video, but when this stuff involves our acting leader, and the information affects world events, the news media needs to seriously check itself.

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Filed under Donald Trump, media, Social Media

Some Words On “The Bowling Green Massacre”

Kellyanne Conway’s “Bowling Green Massacre” oopsie is ironic on so many levels. Let us count the ways that using this incident to justify a Muslim ban is completely wrong.

First, a recap of the incident in question: two Iraqis were arrested, indicted and convicted for a plot to send high-powered rifles (the kind available at any gun shop in the South) and money to Al Qaeda overseas. The weapons and money would have been used on Western targets overseas. The plot was uncovered by the FBI within months of the men’s arrival in the U.S. No weapons were ever sent overseas, and no terror attack occurred thanks to these two, either in the U.S. or anywhere else. The part that involves refugees is here:

Although both Alwan and Hammadi had been arrested by Iraq security forces, in 2006 they were allowed to enter the United States as refugees in April and July 2009, respectively. Asked why officials and Homeland Security had not properly vetted or reviewed the men’s records, a Homeland Security official said, “This case demonstrates specific gaps that were present in the screening process that was in place in the beginning of the administration. Once the administration became aware of these gaps, it took immediate steps to fill them. Today our vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years.”

The specific “gap” revealed by this case is that in 2009, fingerprints found on IEDs in Iraq weren’t being matched with those of refugees seeking entry into the U.S. Under George W. Bush, the IED fingerprint data base wasn’t included as part of the refugee screening process. That flaw in the vetting process was corrected by President Obama as soon as it was revealed by this case. So using this specific case to say “we need to fix the vetting process” is wrong because Obama already did that.

Even funnier is Trump’s claim that his bigoted Executive Order is “similar” to Obama’s “2011 Iraqi refugee ban.” Actually, no: Obama never banned Iraqi refugees, temporarily or otherwise. He did order refugee’s fingerprints be checked against those in the IED database. That caused some seriously big delays in the processing of applications as thousands of applications had to be reprocessed. It was not a ban, it was addressing a security issue that Trump now claims he’s addressing.

So just to review our “Bowling Green Massacre” incident:

1- The plot exploited the country’s lax gun laws;
2- The men were under FBI surveillance almost as soon as they entered the U.S.;
3- There was no plot to launch an attack inside the U.S.;
4- No weapons or money made it to Iraq because of the FBI’s undercover investigation;
5- Flaws in the refugee vetting process revealed by this case were corrected by President Obama years ago;
6- Claims that Trump isn’t doing anything that Obama didn’t already do are wrong.

Why do I know this and the president’s top advisor does not? I’m no expert, I don’t work for the government. I’m not involved in the security services. I don’t have top-level security clearance. I’m just a dang housewife in Tennessee who reads the New York Times instead of listening to Sean Hannity and watching Fox News. Is that all it takes to make someone knowledgeable about the world?

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Filed under immigration, terror alerts, terrorism

Horrible Ideas, Vol. Eleventybillion

The Trump regime actually thinks this is a good idea?

Miller also noted on Saturday that Trump administration officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose all websites and social media sites they visit, and to share the contacts in their cell phones. If the foreign visitor declines to share such information, he or she could be denied entry. Sources told CNN that the idea is just in the preliminary discussion level. The social media posts calling for jihad by San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik — made under a pseudonym and with strict privacy settings — are part of this discussion. How such a policy would be implemented remains under discussion.

Jesus ever-loving Christmas Tree, you’d think 9/11 had just happened again. What fresh stupidity is this? And can I point out that Tashfeen Malik was born in Pakistan and spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia — two countries not on Trump’s “target list”? This kinda makes Rand Pau’s hissy fit over getting a TSA pat-down look even more childish.

Who would submit to having their social media posts and cell phone contact lists perused by the U.S. government before being admitted into the country? Not me. How would this even work? Will tourists all have to take pre-emptive screen shots of them “liking” Despot Trump’s latest Tweet in order to get entry into Disney World?

Trump’s Muslim ban has been a disaster. But this is what you get when you put the Celebrity Apprentice in the White House. Someone with no knowledge or respect for how government works is not going to be able to craft or implement logical policies. The result is chaos, confusion, anger, you name it. You thought the TSA lines were awful before, just wait until a TSA agent has to check some hapless visitor’s Twitter feed before allowing him through. God, this is incredible.

Somehow “we told you so” just fails to convey sufficient despair this moment requires.

16 Comments

Filed under Donald Trump, immigration, War On Terror

Refugees Are Not The Problem, You Jackass

From the conservative Cato Institute:

terrorists-chart

I’ve already written about this enough. This is beyond shameful. Right now, refugees who have been through years of vetting, sold all of their possessions, and boarded airplanes to arrive in the U.S. are being turned away. They now have literally nothing.

Meanwhile, countries conveniently left out of this ban all seem to have one thing in common:

President Trump’s most recent executive order effectively bans citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days — but some Muslim countries were spared from the order’s blacklist, even though they have deep-seated ties to terrorism.

Conspicuously, Trump doesn’t hold any business interests in any of the countries on the list, but holds major stakes in several of those excluded from it, records show.

Friday’s executive order, signed at the Pentagon, suspends the issuing of U.S. visas or travel permits to people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Not a single American was killed on U.S. soil by citizens from any of those countries between 1975 and 2015, according to statistics tallied by the conservative-leaning Cato Institute.

Coincidence? Maybe if we knew more about his business interests we’d have a better handle on why Saudi Arabia, which contributed 15 of the 9/11 hijackers and gave us Osama bin Laden, was not banned, but Sudan was.

Donald Trump is a monster. There is no logic to this action except his desire to make an easy scapegoat of the world’s most vulnerable. He is not a Christian. He is not making America great. We were in every single way a greater country 10 days ago than we are now. We were a safer country 10 days ago.

Make no mistake, Republicans: Donald Trump is going to be the villain of your children’s and grandchildren’s history books, and a big majority of you will be there right alongside him.

And all of those people who told us we had to stop taking Trump literally? Fuck you. He has literally done every horrible, inhumane, immoral thing we said he would do. So please shut up.

How to help: find a local organization near you. Reach out. Donate. Here are some ideas:

Legacy Mission Village
• Tennessee Immigrant And Refugee Rights Coalition
World Relief
International Rescue Committee
Nashville International Center For Empowerment

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Filed under immigration, terrorism

The Alternative Fact That Shook The Nation

[UPDATE]:

I hate it when I’m right about this stuff.

——————————————–

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe…”

I confess, even I have been a little taken aback by this. The lie was so blatant, so obvious, that even people who would no sooner pay attention to a White House press briefing than pick up a copy of Scientific American were stunned by it. I mean, I got texts from completely non-political family members about it, and they were shocked at the chutzpah.

Here is a close-up of Sean Spicer’s eyes as he told his lie:

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What I see here is panic. The only thing missing is the gun to his head. The entire charade, as both Michael Moore and Mika Brzezinski noted, looked like a hostage tape. He’s saying this because he was forced to, and he knows exactly the pile of shit his boss is making him wade into, and he knows there’s not a damn thing he can do about it. Indeed, the statement sounds like it was written by Trump himself. The hyperbole, the grandiosity, are straight out of Trump’s Twitter feed.

Ari “We know for a fact that there are weapons there” Fleischer, a man who has told his share of bald-faced lies, said this:

“This is called a statement you’re told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching,” Fleischer wrote.

So while a stunned nation hashes and rehashes What It All Means®, I’m particularly hung up on this one fact:

The President of the United States forced his spokesperson to lie to the American people about how many people watched his inaugural.

This stupid, petty, in-the-grand-scheme-of-things meaningless thing was THAT important to him. He is supposed to be the leader of the free world focused on, you know, important stuff. But he forced his spokesbot to tell an obvious, easily checked lie about how many people watched his inaugural. It is that important for Trump. He must have the biggest, the best, the most, the (fill in the blank superlative), and yes, he will die on this hill. What little political capital he had was squandered on something stupid like crowd size because Trump demanded it.

Just let that sink in for a minute. It’s just … astonishing.

I know there’s been a lot of speculation about some deeper strategy here: that this marks the latest salvo in the Trump Administration’s war on the media, that Trump is attempting to delegitimize the national news media and delegitimize the entire concept of truth, that this marks the end of “access journalism,” etc.

While some of this may be true, I really don’t think it’s that complicated. I really think it’s as simple as this:

Donald Trump requires constant and undiminished reinforcement of his greatness.

This is Pathological Narcissism. It’s scary as hell, because this level of neediness is never sated. This is Tyrant 101. This is how wars happen and freedoms are lost. The fact that this weak-minded man has surrounded himself with sycophants and ego-strokers is not surprising (they all do that), but at some point even Spicer and Kellyanne are going to give up, because even the best enablers can’t keep propping up the naked emperor forever.

Traditionally when that happens, the enablers are marched in front of the firing squad. Or, if they’re smart, they’ve figured out how to get the Pathological Narcissist to self-destruct (see the final scenes of “A Face In The Crowd” for an idea of what I’m talking about … a “leak” for the pre-internet age.)

What will happen here, I don’t know. I see in Kellyanne’s eyes their own special brand of cold-as-ice ambition and craven opportunism:

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She thinks she can manage the Ego In Chief but the thing about Pathological Narcissists is that they are never, ever truly managed. Their emptiness is a bottomless pit. Kellyanne may think she’s smart and has Trump under control but her “alternative facts” flub shows she’s not immune to a screw up herself. She might not be quite smart enough for this situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kellyanne weren’t the first one trotted out before a (metaphorical, let’s hope) firing squad as the Id in charge lashes out those who failed to sell his greatness to the world.

Interesting times, indeed.

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Filed under Donald Trump, media, media manipulation

Does New Gun Bill Nullify All Other Gun Bills?

Surprising absolutely nobody, Republican House Rep. Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough has filed a bill allowing the open carry of handguns without a permit.

The problem with this idea, of course, is that all of the other pro-gun legislation pushed through recently has been predicated on the logic that those with carry permits are the safest, most responsible citizens evah. So if you eliminate the carry permit requirement, then what does that do to those laws? Since they only apply to those with carry permits, I guess that means that it won’t apply to these other people, right? So, what’s the point?

For example:

Guns in restaurants:

Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson, the main sponsor of the bill, said state Safety Department records show handgun permit holders in Tennessee are responsible.

This is debatable but regardless, if there’s no permit required to carry in a restaurant, then any irresponsible yahoo can carry and, well, who’s to be the wiser?

Guns in trunks:

In summary, an employer may prohibit guns anywhere on company property, but an employee with a handgun-carry permit may keep a gun out of sight in a locked vehicle in the parking lot. All other possession of weapons on company property may still be banned, and employees may still be terminated for violation of an employer’s weapons policy. Employers with operations in Tennessee will need to become familiar with the new law and evaluate their weapons policies in light of the real world facts concerning gun ownership and possession.

So, if carry permits are no longer required …. what does this mean for guns in trunks?

Gun-free business liability:

Last year the NRA fever swamp coughted up this particular piece of nuttery: any gun-free business can be sued by a concealed carrier who got injured in an incident where a gun might conceivably have been used to protect them:

The new law, SB 1736, dictates that should any concealed carry permit holder’s safety be threatened after disarming themselves to enter their place of business, then the business will be held liable.

So, pack of wolves stampedes down the aisle at the gun-free grocery? If you have a CCW permit you can try to argue that your gun would have saved you. Trying to unpack the legal logic here seems problematic (wouldn’t you have to prove you’re a good shot, for example?) but regardless, this law was definitely based on the assumption that concealed-carriers are all excellent shots who are ready to jump in and save the day. Get rid of permits and this law means what, exactly?

Guns in parks:

“My son has a concealed carry permit,” said Susan Shelton, who was at the playground with her daughter Kira Shelton and 15-month-old grandson James. “My son in-law is a corrections officer. He has a concealed carry permit.”

Susan Shelton said she trusts her son and son in-law and others who have carry permits.

“They are trained,” Susan Shelton said. “They are responsive adults. Frankly, I feel safer knowing that somebody like that is here. Bad guys are more likely to go to a gun-free zone.”

But, eliminate the permits and … what, exactly?

We are literally on the brink of making gun ownership a requirement in this state, all because of some misguided notion from the rural folk in the hinterlands that guns are these benign instruments of self-protection. That might work in East Jesus, Tennessee but it sure as all doesn’t make sense in Memphis or Nashville, and the callous disregard our rural legislators have for people in urban areas is something with which I will no longer put up. Especially considering these same people actually live and work in urban Nashville when the legislature is in session.

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Filed under gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Here Comes The Wing Dang Doodle

Hello, Tennessee! Yes, your legislature still has a Republican supermajority. So let the crazy games begin!

Republican Tennessee State Senator Janice Bowling apparently doesn’t have anything more important to do than worry about what your married gay friends and family call each other. Check out what this lover of “limited government” is doing in her bill covering the semantics of family life, SB-0030:

linguistics

There’s a House version, HB-0030, sponsored by John Ragan.

Now, that’s what I call small government! Deciding what words married gay people and their kids have a right to use! This is keeping people up nights? Well, I’m sure it all came from the fevered dreams of David Fowler, he of the TN Family Assn. Family Action Council, where all the rest of this culture war nonsense originates.

I just can’t imagine what the point of this is, except some good old-fashioned shaming, contempt and mortification. YOUR marriage is different! YOUR family is different! YOU don’t get to have a husband, and YOU don’t get to have a wife. YOU only get to have a spouse. And YOU, little Timmy and Jenny, YOUR family is different from everyone else’s! YOUR FAMILY IS NOT NORMAL. That’s what the point of this is, isn’t it? Just, basically, to be dicks?

Here’s how stuff like this usually plays out: even though the legislation is sponsored by rural county Republicans (Sen. Janice Bowling’s District 16 covers Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie, Van Buren and Warren Counties, while Rep. John Ragan is from District 33, Anderson County), if the bill moves on up the food chain and becomes a national story, it will be Nashville which suffers. Nashville is the biggst city here, and Nashville is where the big conferences, sporting events and concert tours come. So when people want to punish the state for bigoted, anti-gay legislation, they launch boycotts of Nashville. Even though Nashville is a progressive city, which was the first to have an anti-discrimination ordinance (which the state overturned) and sends to the legislature pro-GLBT legislators, we still have to pay the price when our redneck neighbors get up to their old tricks. So it’s Nashville which stands to lose sports tournaments and professional conferences, while the rural rednecks who sponsored this hate in the first place get to spout their sanctimonious bullshit and go on their merry way, never suffering any consequences whatsoever. Everything bad will happen to someone else — someone they despise, by the way, so it serves us liberal pantywaists right.

So here’s a pre-emptive word to the wise, because if it’s not this particular piece of crackpottery, it will surely be something else: please target your activism toward the actual crazies in the legislature, not your allies representing Nashville. How about sending a message to Nissan USA, whose “Decherd No. 2” plant builds Infiniti engines in Winchester? Or why not send some letters to the CEO of Silver Spring, Md.-based Competitive Power Ventures Inc., which one year ago announced a $1 billion power plant in Grundy County? Or Germany’s Mann+Hummel, which builds car parts and has a plant in Dunlap, TN? Or maybe send a message to the CEO of 3M, which recently invested $135 million in a new Anderson County plant? Or why not hit the Google and find out which lefty-leaning corporations (CostCo, Amazon, Netflix, etc.) have distribution centers in these rural counties?

I strongly suspect that these corporations will have the ear of State Sen. Janice Bowling and House Rep. John Ragan to a far greater extent than liberal activists in Nashville, whom they already despise and are happy to ignore.

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Filed under boycotts, GLBT, LGBT, marriage, Tennessee politics, Tennesseee