Friday
Feb152019

Emergency!

As you know, our buffoonish caricature of a president followed through on his threat to undermine the Constitution, declare himself an autocrat, and waste billions on a pointless, hate-filled endeavor that has no chance of success and is just a pathetic sop to the bigots who love him.

I mean, he declared a national emergency over the state of the southern border. That’s what I meant to say.

Yup.

In any case, we all know that Trump’s move is not based in reality, because “the influx of migrant families at the southern border does not constitute a national security crisis, much less a bona fide emergency.”

Also, it will get bogged down in the courts, if Democrats don’t outright kill it first.

And it has set a disturbing precedent for future chief executives, with liberals now hooting for the next Democratic president to declare emergencies over climate change, health care, and guns — all of which are much bigger, graver crises than a few more brown-skinned people showing up in America.

And it has put Republicans in tight spot, as they must choose between their principles of limited government and respect for constitutional authority over allegiance to —

Ha-ha, let’s not even finish that sentence. Because we all know that the meek spineless GOP will say, “Whatever you want, master” to a scatterbrained narcissist who has shown almost zealous “eagerness to undermine the Constitution to serve his short-term political gain.” 

Of course, this is the same crowd that lost its collective fucking mind when it appeared that Obama may have bowed to a foreign leader.

But they are fine with a potential double agent actively doing the bidding of a hostile despot, right down to echoing totalitarian talking points. Yes, that’s a-ok.

About this time, Republicans have to be second-guessing their embrace of an oafish loser who has accomplished few of their party’s goals, but has managed to turn the GOP into a toxic landfill that future generations will avoid like its Ebola.

That’s not much of a stretch, because we’re talking about people who are so vile that they are actively rooting for the return of deadly contagious diseases that infect children. They really want this. I’m not making it up.

But I digress.

The point is that Trump is such a brilliant negotiator that he shut down the government for a month, only to get a worse deal than he would have received in the first place. Now, that is talent.

With that kind of leadership, it’s no wonder that America is in a constant state of chaos.

Or if you prefer, more like a constant state of emergency.

Wednesday
Feb062019

It All Adds Up

The laziest man ever to be president of the United States is spending his few working hours vainly, sadly trying to construct an expensive, pointless wall that will never be built. Of course, this is primarily because he’s trying to appease his most ardent supporters, who are either the sole patriots left in this PC-infested country, or the biggest pack of 10-tooth rubes you ever did see.

Yes, opinions vary.

In any case, Trump may be desperately trying to kick out all those pesky Latinos, but it may already be too late for him and the terrified rednecks who worship the man.

This is because “for the first time, Hispanics are on track to be the largest racial or ethnic group to be eligible to vote in a presidential election.” The next time Americans go to the polls to pick a chief executive, “32 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote, just slightly more than the 30 million voters who are black.”

Put another way, “Hispanics are projected to be about 13.3 percent of the electorate in 2020, which would make them the largest racial or ethnic minority of the electorate for the first time.”

Now before any racial alarmists out there get outraged about this news, keep in mind that “white voters will continue to make up the largest share of the electorate, 66.7 percent,” which means almost exactly two out of every three voters will still be white.

It’s also worth noting that fewer than half of eligible Latinos actually go out and vote, a troubling statistic that has held true “in every presidential election since 1996.”

For some perspective, 1996 was the heyday of this crowd:

Plus, there is the disturbing, perplexing fact that despite Trump’s nearly constant attacks upon Latinos, his approval rating among Hispanics is merely very bad, rather than absolutely abysmal. 

It’s at this point that we must acknowledge that there is “a reactionary segment of the Hispanic electorate who is aligned with some of the Trump administration’s thinking on immigration and on some social issues.” To say nothing of those Latinos who are self-loathing and/or deranged enough to think President Tiny Hands is looking out for them. 

In sum, more Latinos than ever will be voting for president in 2020, which can only be bad mojo for the Trump Administration. But it is not as slam-dunk negative for the GOP as we would like to believe.

Still, keep in mind that “a record 47% of Americans already say they believe the Trump presidency will be unsuccessful.”

This number, which “is higher than any poll taken at any point for any presidency in the last 25 years” means that “Americans don't just disapprove of Trump in the moment but believe they won't ever change their minds about him.” 

So that’s a number we can all cheer.

Wednesday
Jan302019

On the Edge

Let’s take a moment to revel in the magnificence of a fully operational government. I mean, wow, how special are we?!

OK, that moment is over.

Now let’s another moment to discuss edgy ideas and their importance to society. No, I’m not talking about innovative concepts that challenge the status quo, such as raising the marginal tax rate on millionaires or offering universal health care.

I’m talking about theories like “racial inequities can be explained by the idea that black people are dumber.”

Hmm, that’s odd. That supposedly edgy idea just seems like idiotic, boilerplate racism. 

But it shows what you know. Because one of the guys who believes that theory — a “notorious alt-right figure and accused Holocaust denier” — is held in such high esteem that he recently met with a couple of Republican lawmakers in Congress.

Hey, when was the last time you got an audience with multiple congressmen?

Well, perhaps you would if you were regarded as a mighty intellectual, as a great many right-wing xenophobes are in Trump’s America. Yes, people who would have been identified as racist fools or paranoid nutjobs just a few years ago are now “edgy” truth seekers. 

Apparently, there is “a collection of iconoclastic thinkers, academic renegades, and media personalities” who promote ideas such as, for example, black people have a “violence gene” that makes them more prone to aggression.

By the way, I’m fairly certain it wasn’t black people who murdered six million Jews. It was… well, you know the racial makeup of the perpetrators, so just imagine how much worse it would have been if the Aryans possessed a “violence gene.”

Ahem.

In any case, overtly racist arguments and blatantly prejudicial thinking are now considered valid debate points, creating a “milquetoast both-sidesism” that argues “on the one hand, you have people who think bigotry is acceptable, and on the other, you have people who think it is not, and the only way to determine which group is right is to treat them as equals, and hear them both out.” 

However, “edgy” conservative ideas all pretty much boil down to one basic thesis: white Christian men are superior. Clearly, there is nothing edgy or innovative about this. In fact, it is one of the oldest ideas in existence, and one of the intellectually laziest. It is only a bizarre incarnation of right-wing PC, mixed with liberal politeness, that provokes mainstream outlets to say, “Wait a second, let’s give these ideas some respect.”

In truth, we are now giving platforms to people who watch Schindler’s Listjust so they can point out the stray historical inaccuracy as proof that it’s all made up. These are individuals who say, “Hey, hold on, maybe George Wallace had some good ideas.”

It has gotten to the point that espousing bigoted ideas apparently doesn't make one a racist.  In the era of Trump, it appears that a person can’t be labeled a racist unless he personally lynched an African American while wearing a Nazi armband. Otherwise it’s just political correctness and snowflakes getting all sensitive and shit.

Now, before you think that I’m being melodramatic, let me point out that at last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, members of Identity Evropa relished their newfound respectability in political circles. Members of this group, if you’ve never heard of it, have been “emboldened by President Donald Trump's rhetoric on race and immigration, [and] they advocate for allowing only Caucasians to immigrate to the U.S. in order to maintain a white supermajority.”

Their plan, they say, is “to take over the GOP as much as possible.”

Sounds like a perfectly respectable, somewhat edgy plan — right?

Tuesday
Jan222019

All Downhill

This is apparently what counts as winning.

  • Republicans have agreed that Iowa Rep. Steve King is kinda, sorta, a little bit fucking racist.
  • A smirking teenage boy in a MAGA cap may or may not be a smug, sociopathic thug.
  • Trump may have obstructed justice by telling his lawyer to lie to Congress, but we can’t be sure.

In the first case, conservatives have feigned innocence and shock. In the other two, they have gloated about vindication.

However, these recent events aren’t positive developments that shine brightly upon the conservative movement. They are either the acknowledgement of something horrible that was perfectly obvious for decades, or the absence of clear proof about something sinister.

In other words, the modern Republican Party has been reduced to celebrating basic decency and/or inconclusive evidence.

Clearly, actual victories are hard to come by.

To be fair, there is not much for Republicans to laud as we pass the halfway point of the Trump Administration. The government is still shut down, the economy is displaying troubling signs, and the president is more unpopular than ever

The GOP’s one big victory of the past two years — a tax cut for billionaires — is widely regarded as a sham, and unless every liberal justice on the Supreme Court retires or dies soon, there is little hope that anything good will happen for conservatives for the reminder of Trump’s term.

Oh, and Mueller has yet to release his report, which even Trump’s allies believe will be “devastating.”

So why are Republicans still supporting a guy who has shown them the very best he has to offer, been an unqualified disaster, and who, in all likelihood, will now drag their party so far down that the shellacking they received in the last midterms will soon seem like a pleasant memory?

Well, we are talking about a political movement that still believes climate change is a myth — despite the science being overwhelming that the world is getting hotter, and more Americans than ever believing in that scientific truth.

For that matter, Republicans are the only group that still insists the Iraq War was worth it.

Obviously, we’re not dealing with people who adjust to reality quickly. 

So this might take a little time. 

Tuesday
Jan152019

Revenge of the Bobo

Humans are social animals. Yes, even you sullen loners, shy introverts, and lone-wolf bad boys out there — deep down, all of you need to connect with other people, at least on occasion.

One aspect of our social nature is that we take cues from one another. Although we want to believe that we think for ourselves 100 percent of the time, and are not subject either to the overt influences or the subtle hints of our peers, the truth is that we are constantly looking at, listening to, and measuring ourselves against others. Deny it all you want — science backs up the idea.

By the way, if you bend too easily to the will of others, you may end up a Nazi, and if you don’t bend at all, you may end up a sociopathic killer.

So once again, moderation is key.

However, it’s not just basic concepts such as personal space, small talk, and sarcasm that we learn from our fellow humans. We also learn how to be aggressive.

For proof of this, let’s look at the famous Bobo experiments of the 1960s, which were held at Stanford University.

In addition to having the most adorable name ever for a psychological study, the Bobo experiments showed that children learn through the observation of adult behavior. 

The study used inflatable plastic toys called Bobo dolls, which are basically large cartoon clowns bottom-weighted so that they return to an upright position when knocked down. 

You’ve probably seen one, or at the very least, had a terrifying nightmare involving them. 

The researchers divided preschoolers into one group that observed aggressive adult behavior, another group that saw nonaggressive adult behavior, and a third group that didn’t watch any adult behavior.

The kids in the first group saw adults punch, kick, and generally pummel the Bobo dolls. And you guessed it —  children in that group later modeled the adults’ behavior by attacking the doll in the same fashion.

In sum, if kids saw a grownup kick the shit out of the Bobo doll, they were more likely to be violent too.

The researchers said that the kids had, more or less, gotten permission to be aggressive little jerks because they saw an authority figure do it first.

OK, that’s all very interesting, you say. But certainly it’s not the case that grownup, voting American citizens “get permission” from authority figures to, for example, be racist — right?

Ahem.

Well, it may intrigue you to know that researchers have “found empirical evidence that Trump’s rhetoric has indeed lead whites to express more bigoted views of ‘the other.’”

After analyzing white people’s attitudes toward race and individuals of different ethnicities, researchers found that since Trump began his campaign in 2016, many white Americans have expressed more bigoted views about Latinos, blacks, and other groups, and as a bonus, they are more comfortable saying these statements out loud. 

The researchers conclude that “Trump is giving respondents tacit permission to be bigots.”

You see, Americans heard a major party nominee for president begin his campaign by slurring Mexicans, and as a result, years later, we discover that “Trump’s language [about Mexicans] doesn’t just embolden people to say more negative and more offensive things about the group he’s talking about, but it actually leads them to say more offensive things about all groups.”  

For these Americans, Trump has been an authority figure punching Bobo dolls. They think that if the president “is using this language, then it must be acceptable for me.” 

They have, psychologically speaking, been given permission to be racist. 

By the way, the original Bobo study found that the effects of modeling violent behavior lingered in children for months after witnessing aggressive actions. The researchers believed that once people have deemed a behavior to be acceptable, it is difficult for them to regain their previous mindset. So the kids had their personality altered in the long term.

Feel free to draw your own analogies to that.