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.