Monday, August 07, 2023

The Authoritarians

It's been quite a long time since Nikto and I posted on this blog. Apparently, it still gets quite a few hits and most of them seem to be from Kevin Baker and his gang of Nazis, peeking in to see what happened to us and if we still post. 

I popped over to his site and it hasn't much new material of late but this one caught my eye and inspired me to (once again) challenge Obergruppenf├╝hrer Baker to a debate on this site. Or, any other site for that matter.

But not his site because I was banned from there by one vote. LOL.

His latest post is perplexing and, as usual, factually inaccurate. Trump is popular with a third of Republican voters not half the US population. That's about 25 million people. This recent poll of Republican voters shows how far his star has fallen.

Next, he says that "confidence in the justice system specifically and the government is zilch."That may be true for those same 25 million people but they are deranged Nazis. The rest of us have faith that Trump will be prosecuted for the crimes he committed. Make no mistake about it, Kevin, he clearly committed crimes. 

You are this person.

His next quote threatens violence. "When government has lost legitimacy, bad things are about to happen." Now that I do agree with. Bad things like this, Kevin?

Y'see, Kevin ol' buddy, we know exactly what you guys are capable of. We saw it on January 6th when you attempted to brown-shirt your way into a coup d'etat based on a fucking lie. In fact, we get you assholes so much that 500 of you are in prison (with more on their way to the hoosegow) and you have lost multiple elections that you should have won. In fact, how many have been lost in your own home state of Arizona? And why do you think that is so? Could it be that people have taken a look at the bullshit you are peddling and really, really hate it? 

Make no mistake about it. You are the authoritarians that Robert Altemeyer described in his 2008 book, The Authoritarians

They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. 

They are easily incited, easily led, rather uninclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times and are often hypocrites

Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result. And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. 

They are not going to let up and they are not going away.

Emphasis mine. The bold points are exactly YOU. 

The question is, how did you end up like this? A traitor to your country? Has your hatred of liberals and elites pushed you to the point of irrevocable insanity? Clearly, it has. 

It is, in fact, the very criminal justice system that you are deriding that is holding the dam of you and other psychotic Nazis back from trying to Hitler and Goebbels up our country. We all know what you are up to and understand what's at stake.

We simply won't allow your "alternative facts" and violent mindset to rule our great nation. If pockets of our country fall into unrest, we will fight back to defend ourselves and preserve the rule of law. 

You will be held accountable for your actions. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Oh, my precious!


Monday, December 19, 2022

The Gun Bubble

I find myself often wondering what life is like inside of the gun humper bubble. They really don't seem to be aware of what's happening in the real world.

Take, for example, this recent story about Shannon Watts, the Dr. King of gun safety and patron saint of children who don't want to be murdered at school because gun humpers need to be coddled about their paranoid delusions regarding government. 

In total, up to 140 candidates who were volunteers with the organization she founded, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and its newly formed arm, Demand A Seat, were elected to office. In Rhode Island alone, seven of the eight Moms Demand Action volunteers running won. Sixteen won in Illinois. Seats were flipped in previously Republican-held districts.

Moms Demand currently has ten million members, twice that of the now mortally wounded NRA. 

And those 140 candidates can now build upon this...

In response, states across the country stepped up. States have passed more than 525 significant gun safety laws in the decade since Sandy Hook. These laws undoubtedly protected the residents of the states that passed them. As our report demonstrates, while gun violence has increased since 2012, residents of states with strong laws are safer than those in states with weak laws.

Do you see what's happening, gun humpers? The days of mentally ill people killing themselves and others due to your criminal negligence are over. 

We are taking back our country and relegating you assholes to the dustbin of history...

Saturday, November 12, 2022

I Have Bought My Last Gallon of Gas

A month or so ago we bought a Chevy Bolt EUV. It replaces a Subaru Forester.

We liked the Bolt because it has a more traditional design aesthetic, with lots of physical knobs and buttons for the heating and air conditioning, instead of putting everything on screens like so many other electric vehicles. (The other manufacturers do that because it's cheaper, not better.)

The Bolt is basically a regular car, costing half as much as a Tesla Model Y, at about $33K instead of $67K. It has all the bells and whistles: heated steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, cameras all around the vehicle, a rear-view mirror that can display a panoramic view out the back (useful if you've got something big in the hatch), etc.

The Bolt has a range of about 250 miles on a full charge, but that of course depends on the kind of driving you're doing, and how you drive. If you're on a freeway going 75 mph, it will get less because of the all the wind resistance, just like a gas car's mileage plummets at high speeds.

If you're driving on city streets at 25-35 mph with stops for street lights and stop signs, you'll get a lot of regeneration, especially if you use one-pedal driving, and you'll get much better mileage. We've been getting about 4 miles per kilowatt-hour, roughly what the stated range is.

The thing Tesla drivers always crow about is the acceleration. The Model Y can go from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Wow. So impressive. And useless.

The Bolt's 0-60 is 6.8 seconds. The motor doesn't strain at all -- you press the accelerator and the car goes immediately, without any hesitation or straining. 

My Forester's 0-60 was something like 9 seconds, and there was a long pause when you gunned it, then the motor started to strain, and then it would start going. A Toyota Prius takes 10 or 11 seconds. Tesla's acceleration is just a gimmick and not at all necessary in the real world.

The Bolt has one-pedal driving. With it off the car acts like a regular gas powered car. That is, when you put it into drive or reverse, you start to creep forward and you use the brake to maneuver out of the garage or a parking spot. 

When you turn one-pedal driving on you move only when you press the accelerator. If you take your foot off you immediately start to decelerate, as if you were pressing the brake. But that's not what's happening: the motor takes the kinetic energy from the wheels and recharges the battery, like an electric dynamo.

The deceleration is quite aggressive, and there is a learning curve to figure out exactly how it will respond. Of course, you can always use the brake if the car is not stopping as fast as you need. And you can turn off one-pedal driving at any time. I always do that when I'm pulling into the garage.

The Bolt has "Supercruise" option, which allows it to do limited self-driving on a freeways that have been mapped out. We did not get it. The whole self-driving car thing is a scam. If you don't want to pay attention while you're driving, you should take a plane, train, bus or taxi. It's that simple. 

There's too much weird stuff happening on the roads, especially local roads, for you to put your life in the hands of the programmers who are at the mercy of an idiot like Elon Musk, who makes outlandish claims about the efficacy of "full self driving," constantly changes his mind, and pushes his workers to meet impossible deadlines and then sends updates to the car's software in the dead of night.

Tesla's chaotic development process results in a recall almost once a month. As we've seen from Musk's purchase of Twitter, his management style is to try out dozens of things, make lots of stupid mistakes, blow up lots of rockets, crash lots of cars, and eventually he thinks he'll figure it out. I don't want to participate in Musk's eternal electric car beta test, thank you very much.

Chevy originally had serious problems with the batteries, which were manufactured by LG, and recalled all Bolts to replace them. LG owned up to the problems and paid $1.9 billion of the $2 billion cost of the recall.

Chevy has sold enough Bolts to meet the limit on federal electric vehicle rebates, so they lowered the price by about that amount, and offered rebates to buyers who had paid the higher price. 

When we built our house about four years ago we put two NEMA 240-volt outlets in the garage, planning to eventually get electric cars. We have 12 kW of solar panels on our roof, and on a good day we generate 70 kWh. The Bolt's battery capacity is coincidentally 65 kWh, so we an basically fuel our car for free on a sunny day. The battery can be charged with the Chevy-supplied level 2 charger from empty to full in about seven or eight hours.

When you buy a Bolt, Chevy will either pay to get your garage wired with with a NEMA outlet, or give you a $500 credit for EVGo charging stations.

The average person only drives 40 miles a day, so the 250-mile range is plenty. The longest trip we usually make is to my mom's house, 80 miles away. We just make sure that we have a full charge the night before and don't have to worry about it.

My wife still has a plug-in hybrid, which gets about 25 miles on a charge, which means she's gotten like 1,000 to 1,500 miles per tank of gas, because so many trips can be run on a battery alone. So I get it when people are worried about getting stranded if their car runs out of juice. A lot of people don't have a garage to plug their car into, so they can't rely on an electric car alone.

But there are millions of American families just like ours, who have two or three cars, with garages, who could easily get an EV as their second car. They don't need some expensive and fancy Tesla with nutso acceleration and instant charging, they just need a car that they can drive to work, pick up the kids, get the groceries, and then recharge overnight.

Chevrolet's Bolt EVs are real cars for real people, not gimmicky and expensive toys. Elon Musk has become the "world's richest man" on the strength of Tesla, but the stock valuation of that company is wildly out of line with the reality of its true value. Chevrolet, for all its faults, is doing a better job at making EVs accessible to the average American than Musk is, and they're not making themselves look like idiots on Twitter every day of the week.

My nightmare is that someone will hack Tesla's network and turn all those cars into expensive bricks, or worse, hack the full self-driving mode and crash thousands of cars all at once. Given Musk's totally haphazard approach to software development, it is all too possible.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

The Florida Pyramid Scheme

The state of Florida is one giant pyramid scheme, built on a foundation of sand. 

Much of the state is currently uninhabitable due to Hurricane Ian. But the fact is, houses should never have been built in the areas that were destroyed.

Sanibel Island, the epicenter of destruction in Lee Country, is a barrier island. Barrier islands are called that because they are barriers to wind and waves from the ocean, shielding the coast from hurricanes. Building permanent housing on barrier islands is the height of stupidity. They will be destroyed when there's a hurricane.

We used to travel to the Marco Island/Naples/Fort Myers area for ten or fifteen years back in the 1990's and 2000's to play beach volleyball in January and February. So we have some familiarity with the area.

It's a great place to visit. But no one should be living there permanently. People should not be making permanent homes there. Rental condos and hotels are fine. 

We know a number of people who own houses or condos down there. They buy a house in Florida near the beach, but they almost always keep their house or an apartment up north because Florida is uninhabitable in the summer.

The heat and humidity are unbearable, especially for the elderly, who are being suckered into moving down there by the millions. In the summer they're trapped in their air-conditioned condos, and when the hurricane hits they are crushed or drowned.

And it's not just Florida. So many people are moving to places like Florida, Arizona and Salt Lake City, and those places are getting hammered by climate change. If you take just a few steps barefoot on a Phoenix street you will get second-degree burns. The Great Salt Lake is drying up, and toxic dust is blowing into the city, the result of decades of mining tailings washing into the lake.

I just can't understand how people can be such wimps, whining about a little snow and cold. At least you can put on a coat and go outside during the winter in Minnesota and actually get some exercise. Take a walk or a run. Do some skiing or snowshoeing. But in Florida you're trapped inside for months on end, fleeing from one air-conditioned building to another.

Back in the day Florida real estate was a punch line: "If you believe that, I've got some swampland to sell you in Florida." In fact, one of the original sellers of Florida swampland is actually the man that the pyramid schemes are named after, Charles Ponzi.

Florida is still a scam. Millions of suckers are now seeing the phony fairy tale destroyed by climate change, and in another ten years their houses will be uninsurable, and no one is going to want to buy them.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Proof Trump Thinks His Supporters Are Suckers

Trump supporters hate liberals because they think liberals think they're stupid. 

Actually, liberals think Trump is making suckers out of his supporters. They think Trump's lies and manipulations are so completely blatant that . . . well, the conclusion is obvious.

At the end of Trump's presidency he issued a bunch of pardons. One was to Steven Bannon, who had cheated Trump supporters out of a million bucks with the We Build the Wall scam.

The fates of Bannon's co-conspirators?

They were accused of taking money for personal expenses like hotel and credit card bills and to buy jewelry, a golf cart and a luxury S.U.V. The fund-raising effort collected more than $25 million, and prosecutors said Mr. Bannon used nearly $1 million of it for personal expenses.

Mr. Kolfage and Mr. Badolato pleaded guilty in April to wire fraud conspiracy in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Mr. Kolfage also pleaded guilty to tax-related charges.

A federal judge declared a mistrial in the case against Mr. Shea in June after jurors reported an impasse, saying one juror had spoken in deliberations of a “government witch hunt” and refused to consider the evidence. Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said he planned to retry the case.

Now New York authorities have issued an indictment against Bannon for his crimes.

To receive a pardon Bannon admitted he had committed a crime. His fellow criminals admitted guilt or escaped conviction (so far) due to mistrial.

In other words, Trump let Bannon off the hook for ripping off Trump supporters.

Oh, and the wall? Not built.

Why aren't Trump supporters angry at the guy for helping his cronies rip them off? They should prove liberals wrong and show them how smart they really are, and pick a guy who's not guilty of inciting sedition, not getting his own supporters killed, and not just using them to make a buck.

Friday, September 02, 2022

Sarah Palin: Loser, Quitter and Whiner

In the 2008 presidential election Alaska governor Sarah Palin was Donald Trump before Donald Trump. She paved the way for idiots to run for the highest offices in the land. 

After John McCain and Palin lost, many in the Republican Party blamed Palin for the loss. The selection of Palin was a clear indication of McCain's lack of judgment. The loss was particularly irksome to Republicans and racists like Donald Trump because Palin made McCain lose to a Black guy.

After her loss, Palin quit the governorship in a huff. She and her family (her daughter got knocked up by a boyfriend after Palin had pushed for abstinence-only sex education) had a number of embarrassing appearances in the public eye and on reality TV.

Palin showed herself to the people of Alaska and America to be a loser, a quitter and a whiner.

But eight years later Donald Trump was essentially a rerun of Sarah Palin, and he won the election in the electoral college -- but not the popular vote. It was a clear indication of the dumbing down of the Republican electorate.

Now Palin has lost again. In a special election for a congressional seat that was vacated by the death of Alaska's lone representative in the House, she lost to Mary Peltola, a Democrat who will be Alaska's first indigenous American member of Congress.

The election was the first to be held with ranked choice voting, and of course Palin and the Republicans insist that the whole thing was rigged.

But was it? This was a three-way race, with Peltola, Palin and Nick Begich (also a Republican) running. In ranked choice voting you basically assign a number to each candidate: your first pick, your second pick, etc. 

When the votes are tallied, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is tossed out, and their second-choice votes are added to the totals of the remaining candidates. You keep doing this, with third-choice votes, etc., until someone gets 50% of the vote.

The rationale for this system is that it's supposed to "guarantee" that the winner has a majority of the vote. I personally think this argument is bogus. It's not really a majority unless the majority of the voters picked you first. More on this later.

This was how the numbers worked out in Alaska:

CandidateMary PeltolaSarah PalinNick Begich III
First round74,807
Maximum round91,206

In the first round Peltola got more than 16,000 more votes than Palin. In this three-way race Peltola beat Palin, plain and simple. It doesn't matter than more voters voted for Republicans than for Democrats. This was a three-way race, and Palin lost. 

Peltola got 16,399 second place votes from Begich voters, and Palin got 27,659. That adds up to 44,058, which means that more than 8,000 voters did not make a second choice. They were Republicans who could not bring themselves to vote for Palin or a Democrat.

Why? Palin is a loser, a quitter, and a whiner, who was endorsed by a wife beater, money launderer for the Russian mob and seditionist who is trying to overthrow democracy in the United States. She also brought a great deal of embarrassment to Alaska with her family drama and various crime-adjacent antics when she was mayor of Wasilla that made Alaskans look like hockey hillbillies.

Now, there were probably voters who were confused about the ranked-choice system. But it seems pretty straightforward with just three candidates. And this brings me to why I don't like ranked-choice voting. 

It pretends to be a system that selects more moderate and less polarizing candidates without needing a primary, but because you can withhold your second-place vote and play other games, it doesn't really.

Many cities are now using ranked choice, and frequently this results in ballots with a ridiculous number of candidates. In the 2021 election for mayor in Minneapolis there were 19 candidates. And because you can only rank three candidates, ranked choice voting does not guarantee the victor will have more than 50% of the votes, contrary to what its proponents say.

Nineteen candidates is ridiculous. Voters can't be expected to know enough about that many candidates to make a rational choice. This allows organizations to flood a ballot with bogus candidates to intentionally confuse voters.

But that's not what happened in Alaska. There were just three candidates, like there were three national candidates when Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and John Anderson ran in 1980, or George Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot ran in 1992.

Peltola won a plurality of the votes, just like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton did. She beat Palin fair and square, straight-up.

Would Palin have won if Alaskan voters hadn't approved ranked-choice voting and used the old two-election primary/general system? Maybe. But a majority of Alaska voters decided to use ranked choice voting, so quitcher whinin', Sarah.

Palin is clearly an embarrassment to Alaska and America, and even the people who held their noses and voted for the lipsticked pig in this election are hoping that this loser, whiner and quitter will go away and stay away for good this time.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Trump Gets Another Sucker Killed

Yesterday Donald Trump incited one of his followers to attack the FBI office in Cincinnati. This was the poor sap's last post on Trump's social media cesspit:

His last post on Aug. 11, the day police said he tried to breach the FBI office, said, “Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t. If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I., and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops while,” before ending abruptly.

He died shortly thereafter after fleeing the police on the freeway, turning down a country road and was shot by police after an hours-long standoff.

Donald Trump has ruined the lives of thousands of his followers. Think of it: the guy who took fish tank cleaner because Trump said hydrochloroquine would prevent Covid. The dozens of people jailed for threatening Democrats at Trump's behest. The woman who was shot by capitol police on January 6. The thousands of people who donated money to the Build the Wall scam. The Trump contributors duped into weekly donations to Trump, when they think they're signing up for a single donation.
Remember when Trump said that he couldn't be bought because he was so fabulously rich? Then why is he scamming retirees for their Social Security paychecks?

And, of course, the hundreds who were duped by his lies to attack the capitol on January 6th. Those suckers are going to jail by the boatload.

And for what? Trump is a not-so-rich, mobbed-up New York money launderer for Russian oligarchs who thinks he's smarter than everyone else. He cheats on his taxes. He paid off strippers and Playboy bunnies and lied about it, a crime that his lawyer, Michael Cohen, went to jail for, but somehow Trump hasn't been charged even though he told his lawyer to commit the crime. He brags about molesting women sexually and peeping at undressed teenagers backstage at beauty pageants. And people like this scumbag?

Republicans love to talk about how Democrats are suffering from Trump derangement syndrome. But it's Trump Republicans who are being totally deranged by Trump, and getting themselves arrested and killed.

And why did the Cincinnati nutjob attack the FBI? Because Trump kept classified files about nuclear weapons at Mar-a-Lago. The same Mar-a-Lago where a Chinese spy had free run of the place.
Trump has literally compared himself to Hitler, wondering why his generals weren't loyal like the Nazi generals were to Hitler (they weren't -- as Trump's own chief of staff told him, they tried killing Hitler at least three times, the most famous attempt being the one orchestrated by Col. Claus von Stauffenberg). Trump has spoken jealously about Kim Jong Un numerous times, wishing that his people cowered the way the North Korean dictator's people do. As far back as 1990 Trump had nothing but admiration for the vicious Chinese massacre of the protesters at Tiananmen Square.
And to this day, Trump still cannot bring himself to criticize his puppet master, Vladimir Putin, as Putin causes skyrocketing gas prices and world-wide food shortages.

For Trump, and apparently his deluded followers, there is no right and wrong. There is no morality. There is no love. There is only power. And fear.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

The ProLIfE Lie

Back in the day the Republican Party supported abortion rights. But in the 1980 presidential election Reagan's campaign operatives realized they could capitalize on anti-abortion sentiment among Catholics and Evangelicals.

Around the country they packed Republican district conventions and caucuses with single-issue anti-abortion voters and Reagan won the nomination over George Bush and John Anderson (who ran as a third-party candidate that year).

But this whole time the proLIfEr movement has been a lie. These people are not pro-life, they are anti-women. The states -- red, Republican states -- that are banning abortion now don't care about life. How can I say that? For a number of reasons.

Red states have looser gun laws. 

More guns means more death. It's really that simple. Any moron can get a gun in Texas and shoot up a school full of kids.

Red states have more murders. 

Here are the top ten murder states: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Illinois and New Mexico. Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Oklahoma aren't far behind. New York is in the mid-30s and liberal bastions like Massachusetts and Minnesota are in the 40s.

Red states have more suicides.  

The top ten: Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, New Mexico, Idaho, Oklahoma, Colorado, South Dakota, Utah, West Virgnia. Arkansas, Kansas, North Dakota and Missouri aren't far behind.

And I think these numbers underestimate the number of suicides. A few days ago my brother died in North Dakota. He texted my sister and mother about five in the morning and told them he loved them. This is not a thing he would normally do. My sister was alarmed, and called the sheriff's office to do a wellness check. They found him dead in his house, and said it was "natural causes." They officially called it myocardial infarction. But there was no autopsy. No toxicology report was run. No check for an oxycodone overdose.

Which is nonsense. Everyone dies of myocardial infarction, because as long as your heart is beating you're considered alive.

He had been suffering from severe back pain and was considering having multiple vertebrae fused. The last time I saw him he looked and moved like a 90-year-old man, and he was just 61.

I think that the police in North Dakota chose to tell my family it was "natural causes" because they thought it will spare their feelings. And will make North Dakota's suicide rate less embarrassing.

The death penalty is still in force in most red states

It is the height of hypocrisy to claim that you are proLIfE if you support the death penalty. The injustices of the death penalty are too numerous to mention here, but the question is: why are conservatives, who constantly moan about "government overreach," in favor of the most egregious type of government overreach: the taking of a person's life? 

Unless a murder is committed live on national television, there's always going to be some doubt about who really did it. Why give the government the power to kill sovereign citizens based on the word of crooked prosecutors, lazy cops who just want to close a case, and jailhouse confidants who offer up perjury in exchange for less prison time?

And just because someone confesses to murder doesn't mean they actually did it (Central Park Five, anyone?). There are countless cases of bad cops using the "Reid Technique" to force false confessions. 

No exceptions for abortions.

In many of these proLIfE states there is no exception for rape, incest and the health of the mother. Women will die because doctors won't perform an abortion on a dead or dying fetus for fear of being maliciously prosecuted by DAs eager to please proLIfE fanatics.

Life is cheap in red states. 

So why are they so hell-bent on banning abortion?

Think about it. Conservatives have been bitching about "welfare queens" since Reagan's time. Yet by banning abortion they are forcing more women -- and women on welfare -- to bear children that they can't afford. If they've got new-born children they can't work. The state will have to educate these children. And then these unwanted children will wind up getting pregnant at 14, be forced to bear that child, and the cycle will repeat over and over.

And why no exceptions to rape and incest? Why reward vile criminals by forcing women to bear their children? Aren't conservatives afraid the impulse to rape is a genetic trait? Isn't it better to be safe than sorry, and abort a potential rapist, this demonseed, if that's what the mother wants to do?

Conservatives are also behind the movement to reduce access to contraception, most notably the Hobby Lobby decision, which allows businesses to exclude contraceptive care from their health insurance coverage. How does this make any sense? Why do they want more unwanted children?

"But it's an innocent life!" the proLIfErs will scream. No, it's not a life in any meaningful sense. An unfertilized egg is just as alive as a fertilized one. A sperm is alive too. For centuries churches hated on masturbation ("onanism") because "spilling your seed on the ground" was a sin against God! They mistakenly thought that sperm was the baby that men implanted in women, and that women were just the vessel for the miracle of life that men produced. Today's proLIfE fanatics have similar misconceptions about conception with their abortion bans.

Historically, in Jewish and Christian law an unborn child was not considered a person. Infanticide was common. God frequently commanded his followers to murder babies and "ravish" women. A rabbi in Florida has filed suit against the state's limits on abortion as a violation of Jewish religious freedom, considering it the imposition of religious Christian tyranny.

A blastocyst is not a person. A zygote is not a person. An embryo is not a person. A person is someone with a brain, who has memories and has lived a life. A fetus that cannot survive on its own is not a person. It is a part of the woman, like her kidney or gall bladder. 

We recognize this truth with brain death at the end of life. It's exactly the same at the beginning of life. A six-week-old fetus has less of a brain than a tadpole.

Why do people oppose abortion? 

Some legitimately believe the fetus is a person. They're wrong, but it's a legitimate religious belief, as long as they also oppose suicide, the murderous guns-everywhere mentality, the death penalty, and support exceptions to save the mother's life. But it is still wrong for them to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else, no matter how firmly they hold them.

But mostly, people oppose abortion to keep women down and in their place. And that leads to the next reason:

It's a desire to punish women. Donald Trump played on this impulse, intentionally or unintentionally, when he said, "There has to be some form of punishment" for abortion. The proLIfErs were embarrassed and quickly denied this. Trump recanted the statement later, but he had screwed up and given voice to the proLIfErs' real sentiment.

This constant hunger for vengeance has consumed the Republican Party in general, and Trump and his fanatics in particular. That's why they want the death penalty, that's why they want guns. That's why they commit more murders. That's why they want no exceptions for abortion. They want vengeance. There has to be some form of punishment for accidentally getting pregnant.

But why punish the women? 

I mean, women don't get pregnant by themselves. They get pregnant because a man had sex with them. And I would guess that 95 out of 100 times a woman needs an abortion it's because the man initiated the sex.

Why is there never any discussion of punishing the men for knocking the women up in the first place?

Seriously. The cause of every, single, solitary unwanted pregnancy is all these men who can't control their impulses.

Instead of banning abortion, how about we let the women have the abortion and then imprison the men for getting them pregnant?

We all know the answer. If men were on the hook for abortions, all these laws would be repealed tomorrow.

Kansas just had a referendum on abortion, and rejected the proLIfE lie by 18 percentage points. If we had real democracy in all those red states, instead of the gerrymandered plutocracy that Republicans have imposed on more than half the country, abortion would be legal in every state.

Monday, August 01, 2022

The Generation Fallacy

I have in the past blasted the entire notion of a "generation:" the conceit that everyone born between an arbitrary set of dates shares personality characteristics with everyone else in that cohort. The topic recently came up again at dinner with a friend.

The idea of generations is a form of astrology, which posits that everyone born when the sun lines up with groups of stars that the ancient Greeks imagined were a lion or a ram or a scorpion somehow share the same fate.

It's true that major social events can make an impression on an entire group of people as they come of age. The Viet Nam war and the sexual revolution are purported to have had a huge effect on the Baby Boom generation, which is typically defined to include everyone born between 1946 and 1964.

Those dates include people like Donald Trump (1946) and Barack Obama (1961). Not a lot of commonality, is there?

I'm included in the Baby Boom, but I never even had to register for the draft. I remember kids getting shot at Kent State protesting the war, but Watergate had a bigger influence on me than the Viet Nam war. My generation also got hammered by high gas prices (look up oil embargo), runaway inflation and outrageous mortgage rates (12%!, double what people are paying now).

A couple of years ago, when we were building our house, the construction supervisor constantly whined about millennials: they were lazy, needy, always late, can't live on their own, etc.

But whose fault is that?

A lot of Millennials got a raw deal when the economy melted down in 2007-2008. A meltdown that was engineered by Silent Gen, Boomer and Gen X financial "geniuses" screwing around with bogus financial instruments based on extremely questionable lending practices. When Millennials were getting out of high school and college they couldn't get jobs, buy houses, or even find apartments because everything was in free fall.

And then there's their folks' parenting practices. When I was a kid, in the 1960s and 1970s, my mom and dad just let me run loose. Like pretty much all parents back then, they didn't schedule play dates, take me to baseball practice, drive me to school, do my homework, write my college application, or any of the things that helicopter parents and tiger moms did. They couldn't -- they had six kids and just didn't have the time for that nonsense.

A lot of people in the Eighties and Nineties thought were a bad parent if you didn't watch over your kids like a hawk. And so a lot of Millennials were brought up by overprotective parents who tried to do everything for them. And those parents? They were Boomers.

Whose fault is it when kids behave the way their parents raise them?

Now these prejudices go both ways. Some Millennials and younger generations think that Boomers are clueless when it comes to tech. It's true, a lot of them are. Some of these young folks think that they are "digital natives" and the older generation are not with it.

But who invented the iPhone? Steve Jobs (1955). Text messaging? Matti Makkonen (1952). UNIX, which Android's and Apple's OSes are based on, and the Internet protocol? WWII babies.

My father-in-law (1926), literally to his dying day, was compiling Linux on his laptop for his Raspberry Pi (that's a tiny computer, for the uninitiated).

Are people who never use Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or TikTok or Telegram or BeReal clueless old farts? Or are they just people who don't want their lives run by algorithms written to maximize engagement for the purpose of enriching American tech bros and Russian and Chinese billionaires? Are all these young people abandoning the church in droves damned to perdition, or are they jettisoning two thousand years of sexism, racism and religious bigotry?

Every generation is faced by a set of challenges. To think that everyone in that age group responds in the same way, regardless of family income, ethnic and religious background, the part of the country they're from, and their own beliefs and morals, is lazy at best, or exhibiting a form of racism (generationism?) at worst.

People need to be judged on their own merits, not automatically lumped into some arbitrary cohort based on age, or ethnicity, or religion.