Monday, November 28, 2022

The Conceding Conceit

I can’t figure out why whether a losing candidate concedes or doesn’t concede an election gets so much attention in the press. It’s not like conceding a requirement or anything… If I had just been called as winner of some elected position and my opponent was refusing to concede, I’d be like, “Dude, I don’t care because I don’t need your permission. I’m just going to go about the business of transitioning into the office because The People just told me I could. What you think about it no longer matters. Now act like the dildo you are and go fuck yourself.”

OK, I might omit that last part if I was having a good day.

Conceding an election is just a matter of class. One either has it or doesn’t, and for the ones who aren’t conceding their elections now or have unnecessarily delayed, we pretty much saw that coming, didn’t we? That’s the world we now occupy… every election is rigged unless the Republican wins. Heads, I win, Tails, you lose. What else would you expect when a party is led by a carnival barker?

It’s all part of their playbook now: Deny, delay, double down, accuse, excuse, confuse, throw boos, never admit, never concede, never apologize, never back down, and so on. The thought that a Republican was at fault for or wrong about anything is grounds for being canceled from MT Green’s Friends List.

It must be nice to never be wrong. I’m sure that makes life a lot easier that way. I just wonder what their spouses think about being with such epitomes of perfection. I can see it now:

“Why did you leave the seat up?”

“I didn’t.”

“Well I sure didn’t.”

“Are you sure it’s actually up?”

“Yes, there it is… up.”

“I didn’t do it.”

“There’s no one else home.”

“Are you sure? Someone could have come in and rigged the seat.”

“No one was here, I’d have seen them.”

“You could be lying.”

“Why would I lie?

“To make me look bad.”

“Leaving the seat up makes you look bad.”

“But I didn’t leave the seat up.”

“You had to have done it, there’s no one else that could have.”

“Hunter Biden did it.”

“Why would you think that?”

“Rudy Giuliani said so. He found this note on the ground outside the Four Seasons (garden supply and bait store) that said, ‘Hunter, is this your laptop: check YES or NO.’ 

"But it's checked "NO."

"They lied."

Yes, once they convene next year’s Congress, we have a new dead horse to flog: Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Talk about a nothing-burger. It was nothing when it surfaced and it’s still nothing. At this point, more Republicans had their hands on that laptop than on a stripper’s ass at an oil lobbyist’s island junket.

This whole issue is a joke, the next “Benghazi,” specifically engineered to be a zombie scandal that can be trotted out whenever some bad press is needed. Given the deathly silence from Republicans regarding the insane amount of cash with which JarVanka left the White House, they should know better than to bang on that particular drum.

Unless they can explain the difference between these two cases and show why the laptop is worth investigating and the demon spawn’s documented money-grab is not, they need to STFU.

But they won’t. That would require a sense of shame and self-awareness and they have neither.

Monday, November 21, 2022

The "Me" Gap

There was a story out a couple weeks back that exemplifies why Republicans are having trouble reaching anyone besides the rich, the racists, and the religious right. The gist of it was that while Marjorie Taylor Green was taking questions during a local call-in show, inferred that if a woman was no longer having children, she was no longer entitled to an opinion on abortion. (Unless, I presume, she was against it.)

The caller confronted MTG, saying “My body is my body and I don’t want the government telling me what to do with my body." (In other words, the conservative argument against vaccinations.)

I don’t think you’re having children anytime soon,” she said, apparently based on the sound of the caller’s voice. “So I appreciate your interest in women’s rights, but killing an unborn baby is not a woman’s right, and that’s not health care.”

She went on to say that we “need to focus on the future of America, and that’s our children… and the unborn, they’re our future also… So let’s focus on protecting their lives instead of being focused on the lie that abortion is women’s health care because that’s not health care.”

Green, who if her eyes were any closer together, could use a microscope as reading glasses, dropped off the line as soon as the host went to a commercial break.

The article went on to point out that by these new standards, no man may have a valid point either, nor would MTG herself, so she may not have thought this through. Color me surprised. [Massive eye roll]

There’s a lot to unpack here, and as usual, I’ll start with the obvious point that people calling a grape-sized conglomeration of cells a “baby” is as misleading as it is wrong. But that’s the ploy; to get people thinking about a chubby, cooling little baby and not a tiny organism without a fully-formed heart or brain.

Whether it’s a “person” yet is a highly debatable and moral question without a consensus answer. Having one group of people use their personal religion to claim the answer one way and force everyone else to act accordingly, non-believers and otherwise is selfish, aggressive, and incredibly self-important. And it totally lacks anything close to empathy, other than to the non-sentient clump of cells. I’ll come back to this point in a minute.

When she mentions “the lie that abortion is women’s health care because that’s not health care,” all I can say is tell that to the woman with an ectopic pregnancy, or the girl who’s bleeding inside and has to wait for her doctor to confer with a team of lawyers to figure out if he’s allowed to go in and stop the bleeding to save her life. Or the woman who has any number of health issues that make having a baby dangerous to life. OR the woman who is carrying a baby who will be born with debilitating medical conditions that bode for a short and painful life. OR the woman who just doesn’t want to endure the physical changes a pregnancy will inflict on her body, just to appease some far-off group of people who have literally nothing to do with the people in question. It is absolutely health care, and no religious moralizing will change that.

The real root of the problem, as I see it, is a massively inflated sense of self-worth in conjunction with a complete lack of empathy. They can’t put themselves in the shoes of someone whose life experiences don’t align with their own and are so supremely self-important that they can’t fathom that their own take on the matter isn’t definitive.

I believe it so YOU have to act accordingly.” That’s what it comes down to.

When you look at it, selfishness and a lack of empathy IS the Republican platform. Name one of their principles that aren’t dripping with it. Wait, maybe we better make that “policy” points… I don’t think they have any true principles left that they won’t violate if a Democrat wants to exercise one. They say they favor States' rights until a state wants to enact some kind of gun control. They say they’re in favor of bodily autonomy in the right not to get vaccinated, but neglect a woman’s bodily autonomy in forcing them to reproduce against their will. They were in favor of insurance mandates up until Obama proposed one.

This was from the 2016 election but is no less true now.

But back to my previous point, every GOP position could be defined as selfishness and lack of empathy:

·         Abortion: You need to have that baby because I think you should for my own religious reasons. What YOU want must defer to what I believe.

·         Birth control: Same language as above.

·         Same-sex marriage: YOU two can’t get married because it offends ME.

·         Immigration: If YOU enter this country there will be too many people, too many foreign-speaking brown people, to continue to function as things are.

·         Assistance to the poor: Why should YOU get help that I didn’t get? Yes, I know I want the minimum wage to stay at $7.25 but if we raise it, you might get a job making what I make. Better for you to work three jobs.

·         Student loan forgiveness: I paid my loan off (or didn’t get one in the first place), so you should have to, regardless that the terms now are much more predatory than they were years ago.

·         Taxes: Taxes should always be rock-bottom and loopholes should be vast. Let the middle class pick up the burden. (So sayeth the top 1% who then convince the non-rich Republicans that it’s somehow better for everyone if the rich avoid taxes, via the media outlets they own.)

·         Health care: Why should I be mandated to get insurance just to bring the cost of everyone’s insurance down?

·         Guns: I want to be able to buy any gun I want whenever I want, which is always immediately. I don’t care how many other men, women, and children get killed, I want a big gun that goes BOOM BOOM BOOM. No background check, no required training, no safety measures, just ammo and firepower. If someone else gets shot, they should have gotten their own guns.

·         War in Ukraine: Why should WE finance their defense against marauding invaders? They’re not invading US… We could use the money to help people here. It’s beside the point that we Republicans never support domestic spending that doesn’t first get skimmed by the rich.

·         Electric cars: I want a car that goes VROOM VROOM. I don’t care what happens to the planet. Climate change is a hoax anyway. Like I care if Florida and the Carolina coasts get wiped off the map. It’s just a natural cycle. I know this because that’s what they say on Fox “News.”

·         Any halfway house, rehab center, mass transit stop, or affordable housing complex: Not in MY backyard.

Sadly, that last response is not limited to Republicans, it may as well be the national motto.

Monday, November 14, 2022

The Red Trickle

I guess we can breathe a sigh of relief now, can’t we? I mean, the worst didn’t come to pass. There was no “Red Wave,” and considering history and expectations, the Republicans got their asses handed to them. We may not keep the House, but it’ll be close, and we already have the status quo in the Senate. If Warnock can pull it out in the Georgia runoff against his brain-damaged opponent, we won’t have to keep sharing committee leadership for the next two years. And we won’t have to worry about any national abortion bans or Social Security cuts rolling out any time soon.

I was worried, though, when I started watching the returns come in after the polls started closing at 8:00. Right off the bat, they announced a handful of Florida districts that were flipped from Blue to Red. Even though they were clear that it was the planned result of an effective gerrymander, it sure looked like a formidable obstacle to overcome. But as the night went on, prospects got progressively rosier.

Things got positively giddy when it first came out that noxious Rep. Lauren Boebert was losing badly. The thought of her washing out after a single term was a delicious prospect, although sadly, she now has a razor-thin lead as of this writing, with several thousand mail-in ballots left to count.

But considering that this Red district had recently been redrawn to make it even Redder, the fact that it’s even close is a real indictment. This race wasn’t even supposed to be competitive.

I think maybe people are tired of being in the sideshow that passes for Republican politics right now, where those who know the least yell the loudest. That, in a nutshell, (and I mean that literally) is the modern GOP right there.

Obviously, the Dobbs decision was another major motivator for people, especially women, to vote Democratic. Personally, you could strip away every other angle in every race and this would be a difference-maker for me. I would never vote for anyone who wasn’t pro-choice, no matter what the office was or what else they brought to the table, and I don’t even have a uterus.

And it’s telling that in every state referendum related to reproductive health, the safeguarding of abortion won big each time, even in a blood-Red state like Kentucky. If Republicans have any shred of political self-preservation, they need to abandon anti-abortionism as an action item. Some, like a few of the pragmatists running things, might. But there are still a great many “true believers,” (like Mike Pence) who will chase this issue into their own political graves.

So the thing is, we have to remember that even if Republicans take abortion out of the foreground, it will still be running in the background. They may not campaign on limiting abortion, but that doesn’t mean they won’t act on it as soon as they get the chance.

Another reason being identified in the media for Republicans’ poor performance, last week, was the “youth vote.” This election season, young people showed up at the polls and voted for Democrats. So what do Republicans want to do about that?

You’d think that maybe they’d try to come up with a message that reaches young adults, something positive, something they can believe in. Instead, the Republican response was to restrict young people from voting by raising the voting age. Granted, this was coming from the lunatic fringe rather than the Senate, but it shows the mindset. And it tracks with their M.O. regarding other constituent blocs with whom they don’t do well. They can’t forbid Black or poor people from voting but they can require IDs that are expensive and hard to obtain and make voting as time-consuming as possible, to deter their votes in more inconspicuous ways.

I saw a news article online where Senator Rick Scott had some thoughts on what happened:

He said: "I think we've got to reflect now. What didn't happen? I think we didn't have enough of a positive message. We said everything about how bad the Biden agenda was. It's bad, the Democrats are radical, but we have to have a plan of what we stand for."

Rick Scott, at his side job.

I hate to break it to the Senator, but he knows they had a plan because he published one, and it included cutting Social Security and Medicare! People don’t like when politicians mess around with their health and financial well-being. In fact, I’m amazed that anyone over 50 would even consider voting Republican.* Not with retirement visible on the horizon…

*Aside from those rich enough not to need Social Security. And even then I’d be surprised that they’d leave unclaimed money on the table. It’s not like they understand the concept of “enough.”

It’s no surprise that the Republicans were shocked by these results. That’s what happens when you start believing your own bullshit. That’s what happens when you only get news from your own little Fox “News” bubble and everyone tells you that you’re right and everyone else is wrong, and there’s no need to investigate any further.

Republicans campaigned on largely imaginary issues, like inflation. Yes, inflation is real but they never came up with any ideas to address it. All they did was blame Biden for it, despite that there is similar inflation in countries all over the world, far from anything Joe Biden ever did.

Same with crime as an issue. Yes, there’s crime, but there always was and always will be, including in Red states (which had some of the country’s highest crime numbers.) But what did they say they were going to do to fight crime? (I’m assuming the universal answer was “more police, more guns, longer jail sentences.”) A lot of us remember that over-policing has been a bit of a problem in some areas.

Republicans campaigned on a house of cards and were surprised when it all collapsed. Go figure.

Senator Scott needs to also consider that his team likes to run idiots for office. Nice, young, obedient idiots who will attack on command and then reliably do what they’re told when it’s time to vote.

I think Republicans assume that their clientele wants to vote for people just like them. Personally, I want the people running things to be vastly smarter than I am. Sure, it’s fine if they’re “down-to-earth,” but I’d rather they know what the hell they’re doing. I’d like them to know where countries are, who our allies and enemies are, and how to glean the salient points from complicated issues. I don’t care if they seem cold and aloof, as long as they can get shit done. (Preferably the kind of shit that makes society better for all, rather than merely for a select few.) The people in the highest offices should be the smartest in the room, not “Norm” from “Cheers.”

And now for an episode of One Minute Debunkery:

Arizona knows full well how to count. It’s just that you don’t like the result. When you’re counting on 2 + 2 = 5, you’re bound to be disappointed.

Now bring in the vague conspiracy theories about voter fraud in 3…2…1…

Monday, November 7, 2022

Last Minute Debunkery

We may be only a day away from Election Day, (as of this writing) but the BS never stops. Its very existence highlights why we need to stuff the Republicans back into their caves.

I neglected to mention it at the time but this sound bite from the Fetterman/Oz debate was spine-chillingly evil.

I like my local political leaders but I wouldn’t want them anywhere NEAR the decision-making process for my health care. The party of “less government” couldn’t be more clear that they really only want “less” of the stuff that interferes with their designs on power. They’re taking their little orange flags and waving the government right into our doctor’s offices, bedrooms, and personal lives, like a jumbo jet into its parking spot on the tarmac. Just as long as they stay out of rich people’s gilded lives, I guess. Can’t have them making sure the air is breathable and the water doesn’t kill you. That would hurt the quarterly statement!

Also, with the possibility of Republicans running one of the houses of Congress, we have their petty revenge to look forward to. I saw this headline last week from our idiot cousin to the south, MTG:

She wants to investigate companies that stop donating to Republican campaigns. How sinister is that? They’re not “donations” anymore, they’re protection payments. What’s she gonna do, send a couple of goons over to Apple?

“Youse better get your checkbook out, if youse knows wut’s good for ya. Don’t make me have to come back here again or else my associate, Vlad, here, might help someone accidentally fall out of a 7th-floor window.”

This is in addition to impeaching President Biden at least a couple of times, just on principle. And that principle has nothing to do with justice, only revenge. Playground-level tit-for-tat.

Maybe if we’re lucky, The Lord will break his more than two thousand years of silence and speak to her:

(I’ve been waiting since April to use this!)

It’s obvious that the Republicans only want to run on a couple of choice things. And even the stuff that’s in their wheelhouse, they have to lie about. You’ve probably already seen the stories about how crime is the highest in the country in red states, yet they want to scare you with the prospect of Democrats letting criminals out of jail to run wild on your block. And there’s always their immigration scare tactics to fall back on, even though it’s really a nothing-burger. See, if there’s immigration from the south, it’s a problem for Republicans. They keep yelling about illegal immigration because they presume that it’s ALL illegal. They don’t even know what the legal process IS. They just see Fox “News” panic stories from the border and that’s all they need. Then they produce bullshit memes like this:

First of all, it’s “why AREN’T the 2 million people…” If you can’t speak the language, you should go back where you came from, right?

Here’s why it’s not an invasion, Gomer. The people coming up from the south aren’t arriving in tanks or firing rockets, blowing up buildings and power plants. They aren’t conscripting their own citizens and forcing them to join the fight. They’re not annexing territory. They’re just showing up to try to escape violence and find a better life.

We can pick nits on the best way to do that (MAGA view: go somewhere else,) but there is nothing in common with the Russian invasion of Ukraine other than there is a border involved. All this meme does is amplify the degree to which MAGAs consider brown foreigners to be subhuman.

Their logical fallacies don’t get any better when they turn their eyes to domestic issues:

The giant, raging fallacy at play here is that Twitter employees didn’t tell Keystone Pipeliners to do anything… If anyone said such a thing, and that’s a big IF, that would be Twitter users. Twitter’s coders and technicians had nothing to do with it. Users create the content so this is completely off base. Pipe workers can find other pipes to build and Twitter workers will find other companies. Life will go on. 

But Republicans love to pretend that the Keystone pipeline getting canceled has something to do with the price of gas. Which is hogwash, of course. The Keystone pipeline was for exporting oil abroad, not for us to use. There’s zero bearing on our current gas situation. But those are just more pesky facts from those good-for-nothing fact-checkers.

It always makes me laugh when I see my conservative friends passing around memes criticizing fact-checkers. I mean, it’s a complete self-own. Yes, I agree… it’s much easier to pedal bullshit when no one calls you on it. Don’t like it? Don’t spread verifiable lies.

The BS isn’t limited to politics anymore either. A couple weeks back, I debunked a football meme about Tom Brady. Wouldn’t you know, here comes another one. Maybe it’s just his people trying to make him feel better after his divorce, but you’d think they’d be able to do better when their source material will go down as the greatest ever. This is the latest:

There are two areas where this is lacking. First of all, the attention to roughing penalties has greatly increased in recent years. Mahomes and Allen play in a completely different environment than when Brady and Rodgers started.

But more importantly, this graphic doesn’t differentiate from the ticky-tack penalties that Brady seems to draw, versus when quarterbacks get seriously clobbered. It’s not just the penalties Brady draws that invite derision, it’s that the contact is minor. This graphic treats all roughing penalties equally.

Refs have always treated quarterbacks differently. Some get the living crap kicked out of them with no calls; others like Tom Terrific draw penalties from a hard glance.

So yes, the numbers for total calls look damning, but they only tell a slice of the story. A slanted slice.


So, OK, off we go to the next election. I’m hopeful that by my next writing, we’ll know whether sanity reigns across the land or a significant portion of the population has sold off their personal freedoms and a democratic system of government for the illusion of paying less for a gallon of milk or gas.

We have to realize that the Republicans have no viable plan to combat inflation. And if they DO have a plan, I bet it looks a lot like a quid pro quo.

We know that while prices are high, corporate profits are also at long-time high marks. So it’s not the cost of supplies, materials, or labor, they’re just jacking up the prices because they can. And in fact, I’m sure they’ve noticed that they can price-gouge their brains out and the President is getting the blame for it. And the big companies like that, because if they can prod voters into blaming Democratic politicians and get Republicans back into power, they will gladly lower prices in return for getting their taxes cut and environmental and safety regulations rescinded. That’s the plan.

Although it wouldn’t surprise me if they accepted the political largesse and kept the prices high anyway. It’s not like the Republicans would care; they’d just find a new way to blame the Democrats.