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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The American Division

On this day-before-Thanksgiving, The Omnivore wants to take a moment to explain to everyone what it is that actually divides us. We know partisanship is increasing--we know that our electorate is more and more heavily divided (than any time during the civil war and, let's just be clear: it's a good thing we don't line up on nice firm state boundaries like we did back then). The question is why.

The Omnivore is gonna explain it to you.

The Engines of Division

There are two major engines of division in America and they, not surprisingly, are somewhat intertwined. These are:

  • A feeling of cultural humiliation--a sense that "the right" is being looked down on by "coastal elites"--or being taken advantage of by (((globalists)))--or being sold out by "The Establishment." In all of these cases the alignment is the same: the right, Christians, straight people, and white men are losers. They are being bullied.
  • An inability to determine what is true, really true-true, or even, in many cases, presented as true. This comes from mistrusting "the media" and over-trusting "heavily biased or fake-news sources." This gives rise to conspiracy theories which the aforementioned humiliation helps take hold. In the end, we have two different realities--not two different perceptions.
The Division of Humiliation

Humiliation is the emotion associated most strongly with memory. For whatever reason, we are more likely to remember humiliations than just about anything else. Thank you evolution. Cultural humiliation is the sort of thing that led Germans to flock to Nazisim in the wake of the (explicitly humiliating) Treaty of Versailles. 

In America we don't have a peace-treaty that imposes punishments on the American right-wing. Instead we have: 
  1. An entertainment complex where "the right" is rarely the good guys and, in fact, often bad-guys.
  2. A growing un-churched population which increases the perceived threat to the deeply religious. Combine this with social moves towards allowing gay marriage and service, acceptance of transgendered people, and (yes, The Omnivore knows this seems weird) interracial marriage--and the religious have a sense that the liberal cultural revolution--led from the cities--is battering down the doors of convention ready to storm the chapel.
  3. A praxis that holds that people--a lot of people--and things said--a lot of things said--are racist. What "being racist" means has, in fact changed. A couple of decades ago, it meant being a Klansman. Today it means thinking that a black man is more likely to have lost his house to foreclosure because of laziness than a white man. People rightfully resent being called racist when they think they are not. This seems like a concentrated attack on them by a coalition of nebulous-but-powerful forces.
There are other humiliations, of course--Obama being elected and then re-elected was a humiliation for people who felt he was so obviously bad that a rational country, now exposed to him, could not possibly re-elect him. The losers in a culture where women are rising in education, executive positions, and political visibility has given us a large toxic slime of Men's Rights Activists, murderous Incels, and angry game/comics/star-wars fans who are looking for a place to express their toxic fandom-rage against perceived betrayals by their franchises (especially with regard to political correctness).

This is powerful, it is pervasive, and it has been going on for a long time.

The Division of Reality

The other division is that of reality itself. If the greatest trick the Devil pulled off was convincing people he didn't exist, the greatest trick the right-wing media pulled off was convincing its consumers that other media was totally lying to them. This has allowed everything from raw conspiracy theory and rampaging con artists to demagogues and state-propaganda outlets to flourish. 

Let's take some examples:
  • Was Seth Rich assassinated?
  • Was Trump wiretapped by an FBI Cabal using a falsified dossier to fool FISA judges?
  • Is it true that Mueller has found no evidence of collusion and has given up on that?
These are just a few of the many, many things that people consuming right-wing media believe to be fact (YES to all of them) when they are not.

Seth Rich - Seth Rich was a DNC staffer who was killed during the 2016 election. Conspiracy theory holds that he gave the DNC (or Podesta) emails to Julian Assange and was murdered by command of Hillary for his betrayal. To be clear: There is zero reason to think this is the case--but the conspiracy theory has a powerful hold on people on the right (including Sean Hannity) because it would clear Russia of the hacking which would, in turn, clear Trump.

The Wiretapping - The belief has morphed a lot (from wiretapping Trump Tower to unspecified means of surveillance of Papadopoulos to a vast plan to bring down the Trump campaign by a cabal inside the FBI). In fact: (a) people who have looked at the evidence find no wiretap whatsoever. (b) The FISA applications were reviewed by guys like Trey Gowdy who didn't find anything to complain about. (c) The idea that the dossier is a complete forgery requires that you believe that Fusion GPS--which is a mercenary group that works explicitly for "both sides," Christopher Steele (a highly respected British Intelligence operative), and the FBI would all be willing to torch their reputations for a dossier that didn't come out until Buzzfeed decided to publish it after the election.

It also ignores the fact that a lot of what the dossier suggested--that Russia was engaged in propaganda ops against the US to help Trump--was found to be actually true.

In short--people have to believe that Trump was illegally wiretapped because if you believe he was hiring people who deserved FBI surveillance and that investigations done by for-real experts uncovered the possibility of some really bad shit then you reach the pants-pissing conclusion that the Mueller investigation is probably a good idea after all.

Mueller Found Nothing - A great article of faith on the right is that Mueller has found nothing and is now either trying to pin non-crimes on people, make up evidence, or shut things down. The reasons for this abound--things like the idea that Papadopoulos got a light sentence or that Flynn was charged for lying rather than conspiracy. There are arguments that if Mueller had found something we'd know by now. There are arguments that Trump knows everything and doesn't seem worried (??). There are pleas that while, yes, Don Jr. did do the collusion meeting, nothing happened.

Never mind that we sure as hell didn't know about the Trump Tower meeting at all until someone broke the story--that as far as we can tell, Mueller hasn't leaked anything--and that what we have seen is evidence that Mueller is using what are called "speaking indictments" which are laden with details (more than required) to set up the telling of a story that hasn't yet been told . . .

No, we're told by right-wing media that the dossier was (somehow) proven falsified, that the Mueller investigation has found nothing, and that we know this because . . . Mueller hasn't interviewed Don Jr. or some shit.

This is all just patently false. We don't know what Mueller has. His non-leaking isn't evidence of anything. The belief that the above is true is just more lies that people on the right have been sold as absolute fact.

What Do We Do?

So you want to know how to put the country back together? You're not going to like the answer. The reason that people are susceptible to the humiliation narrative isn't because coastal elites have come to their small town and laughed at them. It's not because imperious professors have talked down to the humiliated. How does The Omnivore know?

Uh . . . the "elites" fly over those little rust-belt towns. That's why it's called fucking fly over country, you idiot. And the poor salt-of-the-earth famers weren't talked down to by elites because they don't fucking go to college.

Was that harsh? Hey--it gets better.

No--these guys were humiliated because (a) they were told they were humiliated by their media and (b) some of their deeply held beliefs (that gays are wrong, that transgender people are wrong, that blacks and whites shouldn't inter-marry, that finding black people lazy or violent is racist)--you know, those beliefs? They were told those beliefs were deplorable.

You know what? They agreed.


They felt talked down to because, in a lot of cases, they were racist--they just weren't Klansman--hood-wearing racists--so they thought "I'm safe--you can't call me that!" When they were, they threw a tantrum.

When the right-wing media determined it could make a shit-ton of money selling both outrage and prepper garbage to people who were afraid of hoping for a national collapse under Obama it created a feedback loop that promoted saying worse and worse things to get more and more money. This allowed for the creation of an Alt-America where Mueller, a war-hero stalwart Republican is a slimy Obama-kissing traitor . . . and McRaven is just a Hillary organ . . . and it's okay for the Saudis to kill American residences because [ whatever ].

So what do we do about it? 

Well, clearly we coddle these racist little snowflakes in their fake-news worlds until they decide it's time to butterfly out, right? That's what they're begging for? Isn't it? All this nonsense is just another valid point of view, right?

Monday, November 12, 2018

If You Give a Trumpaloo A Conspiracy Theory . . .

. . .  He'll want a rifle and some ammo to go with it . . .

Tell a Trumpaloo that Trump had anything to do with what happened in Pittsburgh you're going to get a horrified Trump-voter "laughing at you." Oh, it'll sound forced--but they'll be working over-time in order try to hold their line of belief that the Pittsburgh shooting happened in an ideological vacuum. To-wit, the Trumpaloo will do their best NOT to know that:

  • Gab.ai, the social media where the poster lived was lousy with vicious, high profile, anti-semitic Trump-supporters (such as WI-01 candidate Paul Nehlen). 
  • He was a strong adherent of Jim Quinn and worked at the guy's radio station--The Warroom--which was far right and loved Donald Trump. The shooter, himself, felt Trump was too Jew-friendly--but the idea that he was an ideological adversary of Trump's is nonsense.
  • He was very taken in with the language Trump has used about the caravan and the carvan's singular importance. The use of the term "Invaders." The idea that George Soros representing international Jewry was funding it. 
  • He echoed the term used on Fox Business News by Lou Dobb's guest from Judicial Watch calling the State Department the Soros-Occupied-State Department (which, of course, echoes the term ZOG--Zionist Occupational Government--the Jews that control America). These two people are great media allies of the President's.
  • POTUS himself refers to the caravan as a great story (even as he and his crew realize it is not a great threat) and have made a show of mobilizing the military to underscore to his adherents that the caravan is an existential crisis.
  • POTUS uses the term 'Invaders' to refer to the refugees and speculates that, sure, Soros could be funding the caravan. These are both winks-and-nods to the ideas that, again, Jews are levying war against America using refugees.

Today something we've known was coming since like Thursday finally happened: the provisional R-win in AZ was reversed to a D-Win. Now, under normal conditions there were would be some wailing and gnashing of teeth--but this isn't a normal situation. Why not? Oh--well, if you're going to pretend you don't know . . .

In case you think this is just random or an outlier:

And, of course, we know about the potential infection of votes--right?
"Well, of course the votes are infected," you, a Trumpaloo say. "They mixed in some invalids--about, oh--22 of them--with the REAL VOTES! See? See, I got facts."

The Omnivore places his chin in his hand, listening. "Do go on," says The Omnivore.

"Just like how illegal invaders infest our great nation with their vile squalling anchor-babies who are only here because of a flawed 14th amendment!!" you start to shriek.

"I thought as much," yawns The Omnivore.

"Why Do Tehy Kall US RACIST?" You tweet to your 1257 bot-followers.

Okay, The Accusations of AZ Corruption Are Bullshit--But IT'S JUST POLITICS

What was that?

"This is a ploy, Omnivore. Everyone understands it--it's just Trump-being-Trump. No one but guys like Acosta takes him serious." [sic]. "He's jest playin' the media like a fiddle--I love it, I do," you say, hands together against your tilted cheek--speaking dreamily.

"No one?" asks The Omnivore.

"NO. ONE." you say--suddenly . . . defensive? "Except the lugenpress--I mean--uh, uh, The #fakenews-media." You say it "hashtag" with some vocal fry. It's cuter that way, you think.

"Are we sure--because if someone didn't think POTUS was a big ass, wild-ass liar," starts The Omnivore.

"You're TWISTING MUH WORDS," you say--because for some reason your words always get twisted to sound like you're saying racist things--

Let The Omnivore Introduce You To VOAT

VOAT is kind of like Reddit, which you may have heard of--but they have ZERO restrictions on free speech. That's great, right? All Amuhircan, innit? Yeah. Let's go to their QAnon board and see what VOAT thought about the AZ recount . . . (click to embiggen)

"Well," you sniff, "they seem nice."

"Oh," purrs The Omnivore, "You have no idea." (click to embiggen)

"Goyim," you read--slowly--"stupid jew loving larping asses? Where is all this coming from?"

The Omnivore just stares at you.

"It sounds," you say, before you can catch yourself, "like that boy from Pittsburgh who shot up the--" But then you stop. No, no, no, you scream at yourself. Those are LIBERAL thoughts!!

The Omnivore cocks an eyebrow.

"It kinda does, doesn't it?"

"NOT. AT. ALL. AND IF IT DID, TRUMP HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT." you say--stonily.

"Oh, really?" asks The Omnivore, sounding disturbingly like Willy Wonka from the first movie. "Nothing? Nothing at all? Did he . . . call for another election?"

"That wasn't LITERAL!!" you say--suddenly unsure. Or was it just not serious?? Shit--I can't remember.

"Uh-huh--And when that doesn't happen do these people just decide nothing was to be done?" Asks The Omnivore--"I mean about (((The Jews))), right? I mean--there are thousands of readers of that VOAT subverse--you think that with Trump backing up their little conspiracy theories it's a safe bet that not one--"

"IT WOULDN'T BE TRUMP'S FAULT!" you yell. It sounds more like a bleat though--because as you yell it out, you realize that, well, it really would be. He is our elected leader--and you wanted him there--and really . . . this shit? It isn't out of character.

But you can't admit that--not to The Omnivore. Not out loud--but worst of all, and most of all, not ever, ever, ever to yourself.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

But If You Try Sometimes . . .

The Omnivore thinks assesses (from a vast height, looming over social media) that the GOP feels relieved that the blue-wave didn't wipe out the Senate or Ted Cruz. For Democrats there seems to be a sense of disappointment that they didn't undo the 2016 election: that's fair--you get to have your hopes up, so long as you are clear-eyed about what the chances really seem to be and take what you get with some measure of realism (i.e. not claiming the vote itself was illegitimate).

That said, what happened last night was what absolutely had to happen in order to keep things from getting far worse.

  1. With actual intent on the part of the House to investigate / check the president we will get to see if there's really "there" there to a lot of the non-Russia questions the admin has raised (The administration? Well, yes--by not, for example, releasing Trump's tax returns).
  2. The House Investigative Committee vs. the FBI should be similarly shut down and the urges to declassify sources and methods can be ramped back.
  3. We won't have to live with Speaker Ryan trying to figure out how he can disagree with what Trump says without actually disagreeing with it in any material fashion (similarly, it'll be nice to have Flake out of office after the cycle ends--we won't have to listen to endless complaining followed by liberals saying "if you don't like it, maybe you could call your Senator--do you know any Senators?")
There's also the possibility that having guys like Nunes, DeSantis, and Cruz in office for the next few years will keep reminding liberals of what they don't like about the part.

The Omnivore has a few observations / questions:
  • It appears that most of the Obama-Trump districts came home to Democrats. Maybe Trump's racism convinced them that their worst fears were, in fact, realized?
  • This election seems to have brought out democrats in ways that previous mid-terms only dreamed of. We will need to see how that compares / holds up later in the next election.
For now, though, while there is stuff for everyone to feel good about, The Omnivore feels that this election met the requirement of giving the Democrats some leverage against Trump and Trumpism--and it has further entrenched Trumpism in the GOP meaning that they will be living with it for the foreseeable future.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Trumpaloo Who Believes . . .

On Facebook a Trump-supporter explaining how Democrats were endangering the nation posted this:
The Democrats have a narrative. The mainstream media supports that narrative to the exclusion of all counter narratives. Antifa acts to suppress the free speech rights of anybody that would speak against that narrative.
That narrative expounds how group membership is more important than individual character-- the more victim groups that someone belongs to, the greater the weight given to their opinions. White men self-identifying as men are not members of any victim group their opinions are given no weight, at all, and are expected to not consider their own situation when they act in the public sphere. Anyone within a victim group that refuses to support the narrative, such as Candace Owens, is treated as worse than white. The narrative also expounds on how everything will be better if the US Constitution's provisions against tyranny are ignored, so the government can redistribute everything, at will.
The narrative of the Democrats is an appeal for a fascist America controlled by a national social democrat american party, with street level 'justice' meted out by antifa blackshirts.
The virtue of Tolerance is not shown by how one treats designated 'victim' groups, but how one treats people that disagree with them.
An intolerant bigot is anyone that would deny any right that they, themselves, are granted, to anyone that they disagree with. The Democrats and other leftist's make constant efforts to 'de-platform' conservatives to deny them their right to free speech.
The rhetoric driving political violence is logic chain embedded in the Democrat narrative that voicing dissent is hate speech and hate speech is violence.
I asked the guy whose page it was on (he wasn't the author but is right-wing, perhaps Trump-friendly) if he believed this nonsense and he did not want to engage--but was happy to have me post a rebuttal. So let's take a look at this egregious nonsense.

1. The Dem Narrative and Antifa

Out of the gate we have a weird story about the Dems having "a narrative" and Antifa acting to suppress the rights of free speech. What is that narrative? That "group membership is more important that individual character--that victim's rights provide 'victim points' and white men's opinions get no weight at all.

The end goal is total redistribution of everything. Full on communism.

Firstly: wait, what?? What the fuck? Where is this information coming from--who leaked the secret Protocols of the Elders of Leftism to this guy? Oh--okay, sure--he will tell you he can connect the dots--that he has enough individual quotes (for some reason, these conspirators periodically slip up and give the whole game away, saying something that is DEFINITELY true because the person on the other-side NEEDS to hear it that way)--but really? The idea of there being a massive left-wing conspiracy needs to have some proof behind it. What's the plan? Is it 5 years? 10? Fifty? Who alive today plans to reap the benefits of this full-on-communism.

Antifa has (a) participated in some campus protests (b) participated in rumbling with white nationalists. Is, say, Candace Owens getting beat up by Antifa? Is Fox News getting fire-bombed? The Gateway Pundit? Q-Anon? No. Antifa has shut up . . . Milo. They got a parade canceled in Oregon. They meanced Charles Murray. That's about it. Spooky.

To be clear, these things are not good--but they are also not the end of the republic (and The Omnivore thinks if you're going to go full-on Milo, you get what you ask for).

Unless you define Antifa as some kind of massive behind-the-scenes force that is shutting down all the good little nazis before they can have their tiki-torch march it sure doesn't seem they've managed to do much of anything.

Secondly, the the idea of victim-points and hatred of the white-man is true IF you live your life on left-wing Tumblr or in some academic departments. Otherwise? Uh--no. No, The Omnivore is here to tell you that in the world of high finance, white men pretty much run the world. In the military, in politics, in silicon valley? All white guys all the time, baby. If you don't think that's true, go check. The Omnivore will wait. The politics of victimhood only play out in very controlled online spaces. In the real world? Not so much.

Thirdly, the full-on-communism end-game--how exactly is that supposed to happen? The Omnivore understands Obama was supposed to be taking over Texas with JadeHelm'15--but, uh, that was super-stupid conspiracy theory. It sure wasn't fact. When the democrats had full control of government they passed . . . ObamaCare--which Trump failed to repeal. Why? Because it was popular.

2. Justice Meted Out By Antifa Black-Shirts

You (for many values of "you") do not know The Omnivore--so let The Omnivore tell you this: The Omnivore is a fucking black-belt in conspiracy theory and fake news. The Omnivore knows all the little dark corners of the Internet and the historic stuff printed at gun shows and f'ing whatever. All that shit--historical.

So The Omnivore knows this shit too. What spanky up there believes is that there are vast reserves of Antifa Black-Coats going out and busting heads--far more than the right-wing--and the media just doesn't report it. The say way that no one but Fox would post about the rampage of The Knock-Out-Game. This is a nice little conspiracy gem since you can't prove it's not true: lack of reporting about Antifa Attacks is just proof of the cover-up.

So what can we do? Well, we can start by asking the Global Terrorism Database. It holds that the rise in US Terror attacks is from right-wing sources. How about the FBI? Their domestic terror database shows that right-wing violence is a more significant threat than Islamic terror. Left-wing (antifa) violence doesn't factor. But maybe this is all just part of the massive body of lies? Who is correctly reporting the attacks?

Well, if you count shouting at law-makers in restaurants you may be able to improve your numbers--but short of that, The Omnivore thinks you're in trouble.

3. The Great De-Platforming!

We don't know for sure what the poster means by Antifa "de-platforming" people. Is he just restricting it to a handful of cases where security has closed down a venue? Or is he going wider with the removal of InfoWars and Gab and the banning of QAnon boards on Reddit? The former is pretty lame--if you deplatform a provocateur like Milo, everyone goes home happy (including--and especially--Milo)--but given the heavy-breathing implicit in the above rant, The Omnivore will assume the guy is het-up about Twitter kicking nazis off their board--and shutting up Alex Jones.

While there is a great deal to be pointed-and-laughed at here, The Omnivore will point out that there is a limited degree to which you can go and shit on someone's lawn before they will kick you off it. All these guys had multiple--way too many--chances. All of them were involved in behavior that was destructive to the platforms they were using. All of them had violated Terms of Service.

What eventually got them kicked off was a realization that they were a net-negative. Alex Jones doesn't really say anything worth listening to. Neither does Richard Spencer. Paul Nehlen can go do his nazi rants on Gab (as long as it stays up) or on a personal blog or whatever.

You don't need to shed any tears for these guys: they all--every last one of them--had it commin'.

4. Hate Speech Is Violence

In the end, he actually hits on a real point--the "left" does, in general, believe that hate-speech is violence. Now, in some cases, this means that if I go into a bar and start calling someone the N-word and they deck me, I may not win the court case. That isn't that big of a deal.

In other cases, though, we see rhetorical echoes in the very-real violence of mass shooters. The guy who shot up the Synagogue had Trump's language coming out of his mouth. There is some evidence that Incels can be inspired to act violently through peer pressure. Certainly the guy mailing his mail bombs--which so far as we know were real, if inexpertly made, devices--brought into the president's narrative literally. He mailed devices to the president's list of detractors. Perhaps he intended only to scare--but perhaps he hoped to kill or wound. We don't know.

We do know that inspiration is a thing, however. When Obama droned Al-Awalki he did so because the man was really good at inspiring Jihadi violence in the US. He'd already had results in the Ft. Hood shootings. If you think Obama was wrong to kill the guy, go ahead and make your case--but the counter-terror experts all thought that the man--with nothing but words--was a threat.

So, yeah--that's not the left-wing nonsense the guy thinks it is. It's just nonsense in the way he means it.

Conclusions

The theory that Antifa is some kind huge coordinated threat is projection. We know from leaked discord transcripts that alt-right guys who plan violence do fear "antifa" and have visions of antifa raiding their houses (presumably, in many cases, their mom's houses) and otherwise conducting well coordinated campaigns of violence. These don't actually happen though--the people who are recording the transcripts just release them to Unicorn Riot and get them posted on Twitter.

Then the nazi gets id'd and fired--do you want to work next to a nazi? The Omnivore hopes not.

I Will Be Your Friend No Matter How You Vote

A guy who The Omnivore likes--and who is generally imminently reasonable in interactions, posted this on Facebook the other day. This guy is a conservative--which could mean a lot of things--but traditionally it has meant things like free trade, belief in the power of markets to set prices, smaller government, and a strong military / military presence.

These are directionally things The Omnivore agrees with too--which is why The Omnivore's voter registration card says "Republican."

And yet . . .

The Omnivore asked the poster if there was ever a point where he'd say "if you're voting for that, we can't be friends"? The response was "well, I haven't seen it--but a lot of my friends have positions that greatly offend me--and I'm still friends."

He also acknowledged that those offensive-friends had their reasons for doing so and think they're doing the right thing--so, hey, give 'em the benefit of the doubt, right?

Uh . . . really?

The Ominvore asked what those positions were--knowing full well the top-drawer one--the one we could all feel good about--would be abortion. You can come out as generally pro-life or even very, very pro-life and not be seen as a monster--so The Omnivore knew he'd start there.

But, of course, he demurred--he really doesn't want to fight on Facebook--and about politics--and that sentiment is, most of the time anyway, honorable.

Except . . .

Are We The Baddies?


If you haven't seen the above linked short, you absolutely MUST watch it. If you have seen it and are voting GOP in this midterm, you clearly need to watch it again.

While it is easy and fun for the Trump-Republican to hold the back of their hand to their forehead and say "You're calling us Nazis!!" the fact is that while Trumpism isn't quite Nazism (although they share some uncomfortably close traits propaganda wise) the takeaway from the video isn't that you shouldn't be a nazi--it's that you should stick your head up once in a while and see if your team is, well, the baddies.

Are you the baddies? Here's how we can look at it. Online arguments, like fire-fights in the Gun-Kata-Movie Equilibrium follow very predictable flows as people who either don't understand their positions or don't want to admit to the underlying issues--get closer and closer to reality. When this happens, the result is usually depressing and, erm, not good for the Trumper. Let's look.


Kids In Cages
The Omnivore has made a study of asking Trumpers about the border / immigration issues. The flow here usually goes something like this:
Is The Omnivore saying there is NO WAY to support the Trump-Admin's policy on deterring border crossing while still being a good person?

Yep. Other administrations have considered doing what Trump did. None of them could stomach it. There was a reason for that.

Love Trump's Hate
If you were faced with a story about a politician filling his arenas with people glorying in hatred--hatred of reporters--hatred of protesters--hatred of the last administration--hatred of due-process, you would see these people as the bad guys.

Trump inspired a follower to punch a protester and then said he was considering paying the guy's legal bills. We all know this is bad--it's cheering hatred and division--and yet, you, dear reader who is voting GOP on Tuesday, tell yourself it's okay because the hatred and division serves some greater purpose (?) or simply isn't that important. Who cares if Trump inspires a couple more hate crimes a year? America isn't about to go the way of the Nazis, you say.

And anyway, no one takes him seriously.

If you think Obama was a divisive president, watch him here handling a pro-Trump heckler. Ask yourself: am I on the bad-guy's team?



NOTE: You may hear some both-sidesism about Obama's quotes. If someone is arguing in good faith that Obama was as friendly to violence as Trump, they are, as it turns out, not arguing in good faith. No one really believes that--it's just a talking point for the desperate.

But Muh Kavanaugh!! (Abortion)
If you are supporting Trump because McConnell will use his tenure to nominate rightwing judges then you are implicitly making a decision that the judges rulings are worth the damage to the country--the national character, and so on. There's only one real argument beyond race-to-the-bottom culture-waring that justifies this--abortion.

Essentially, the culture wars over abortion have been settled--and there is no real material reason to go to an entire outlawing of abortion (as 3rd trimester abortions are extremely rare and usually only in extreme circumstances). No--the reason to want super-conservative judges on the court isn't really about state's rights to choose whether to outlaw clinics--that's just the defensible wall you hide behind--it's so that other rulings in the Great American Culture War will go your way (see the ACA and Gay Marriage).

That's what this is really about and, well, that's evil. The guy complaining that gay marriage devalues his heterosexual marriage (that's a real guy--The Omnivore knows him!) knows he's talking bullshit--he just doesn't like the gays and wants to make sure that they stay in their place--in the shadows--not where he has to acknowledge them.

In other words, one of the baddies.

You Might Be a Baddie If

What this all boils down to is that if you are supporting Trump it is highly likely that you are doing it for internal and unpleasant reasons. Reasons that, if exposed fully, would give you pause. If so, why are you asking for special consideration on your choices? Should anyone give you the benefit of the doubt?

Why?

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Cultivation of Hate

The idea that the president's rhetoric isn't significantly responsible for the so-named #MAGABOMBER is, of course, a desperate fiction of the right. Firstly, there is no one with the stature of the presidency to act as a both-sides counterbalance. Secondly, the president's complaint about the press is that they're publishing hateful stories--any sober analysis of this shows that they are just publishing stories and the president's actions add in the extra "hateful" ingredient on their own.

And yet, now that the MAGABomber has lived up to his nom de Twitter (or, at least, his van did), we are left with a question of "what now?" Trump recently called himself a nationalist--contrasted to globalists--which he describes in dry geopolitical terms.

Of course anyone who knows anything about history (including recent history) and the alt-right lower-case-n nazis in America knows that the term globalists means Jews (or their political pawns). As the Omnivore writes, a Synagogue is getting shot up.  Initial reports are that this guy believes in MAGA but thinks Trump is a globalist--meaning that Trump is not de-Jewing the government fast enough) and is an alt-right warrior.

This is a movement that is sufficiently organized and draws emotional support from the highest levels of government (there is ample evidence that Trump's administration considers them a valid voting bloc and is interested in throwing them rhetorical bones to keep them on his side). Trump's voting base is bathed in conspiracy theory. It is powered by ginned up political outrage--and thus it is a fertile recruiting ground for the kind of people who want to find soldiers.

Worse, if you can stomach it, this is what the Trump supporters voted for. Every Trump supporter knew that Trump's support from the nazis was historic in its dimensions. His message--and method of campaigning was purely on the table. These people understood what they were doing (at least the ones The Omnivore talks to) and simply dismissed it.

The Omnivore argued with a Trump-sympathetic voter that there was a rise in these hate-crimes: the guy denied it--forcefully even as the data continued to roll in. He simply couldn't conceive of a world where Trump's actions could lead to real-world violence.

At the same time, a #WalkAway march at the capitol has a singer serenading the (fake) ex-Democrats with a song that goes "Arm yourself to the teeth, prepare your eyes for blood." The people being sung to are, of course, MAGA wearing culture-warriors.
This won't penetrate the MAGA-sphere as Fox won't cover this stuff (or, at least, not the troubling parts of it) and the followers, once armed with talking-points, will be psychologically immunized against feeling any responsibility for their continuing promotion of this political illness.

What's The Way Out?

 Glad you asked. There isn't one.

The entrenched nature of partisan politics is reinforced by a wall of non-reality that is impossible, under current conditions, to penetrate. Why should a MAGA-Hat feel responsible for the bombings when they are told it was likely a false-flag set up by Democrats (a point of view that now counts as mainstream Republican dialog with Lou Dobbs embracing it for a time on his national TV show).

The underlying affinity for this non-reality is, of course, an emotional need to deny their darker impulses (the children in cages don't matter because they are not Americans, the Saudi torture and murder of a person with residence in America doesn't matter because he's not American, the Proud Boys assaulting protesters in NYC doesn't matter because they had it coming, etc.).

Trump's method is to play to the darkness while giving it a shiny cover of patriotism (America First!)--it's a powerful cocktail and you probably won't know anyone who gets killed.

The Omnivore got an email from someone he used to respect, gloating about Kavanaugh a few days ago--if the results of Trump were just the judges, this wouldn't be a problem--but it isn't. It's the degradation of the nation. It's people shot going to church (remember, this isn't the first time). It's stadiums full of people baying for the blood of the press and fixated on the threat of a caravan of wretched people 1000 miles from our border under the racist lie that there might be "Middle Eastern" people in it (not even ISIS or terrorists--just "Middle Eastern" people).

At this point we've got mail-bombs and alt-right warriors shooting up Synagogues and a couple hundred marchers in DC swaying to calls for blood. The people who are MAGAing at this point have already made their peace with all this.

We should too.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

I've Kavanaugh And Can't Take It Anymore

Ye Gods--this never ends. The Kavanaugh plot-line is holding the audience in rapt attention but it's a complete trainwreck. Can we like, get back to the shadow-government skullduggery? The Omnivore was liking that stuff as a kind of hold-over until the next Game of Thrones season comes out.

Nancy Pelosi makes a decent Dragon-Lady, right?

Erm . . .

Well, anyway.

The Omnivore finds the whole thing painful and demeaning--but finally has something to say about it--so here it is: He should not be confirmed on the basis of his conduct under questioning about his behavior.

What the heck?

This is how it breaks down:


  1. Former classmates are now coming forward saying that he totally misrepresented himself about his behavior during high school and college. He was, reports say, super-drunk and often belligerent.
  2. He totally misrepresented himself about his behavior towards women and sex/drugs. The Omnivore's mother googled "Devil's Triangle" and concluded, right there, he was lying. He was. We all knew it. We knew why he did it. The Omnivore was, knowing why he did it, ready to give him a pass on all that crap (the nasty year-book stuff, etc.).
  3. He claims he has never been black-out drunk. Would he know? We can't be sure. Is he telling the truth? We can't be sure. 
BUT--in light of #1 and #2, his absolute denial of #3 should be taken as a misleading, spin-laden exaggeration at best. A lie at worst.

This brings us to the testimony:
  • We must be skeptical of Ford: her allegations are serious. They imply some corroboration that did not come through (Judge as the witness). They are decades old--and human memory is fallible. And yet--we all saw her and we all believed her.
  • We should give Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt (to a degree). He is a target of the Democrats. The only means he has to defend himself against these allegations is his good word. There is not a strong pattern of repeating behavior (yes, there are other stories out there--no, we do not know how valid they are as yet). We watched him and found him forceful and righteous sounding.
So what are we to make of this: If we believe them both--to a moderate degree--then the most likely case is that Kavanaugh moved on her while he was super drunk and either does not remember it (blacked out) or thought it was no big deal and has legitimately forgotten. That makes them "both right."

But, in this case, we have a problem: Kavanaugh has squandered his 'good word' on Devil's Triangle and 'boofing' nonsense which creates an issue: What standard are we going to hold a Supreme Court Justice to when confronted with competing allegations where we can be pretty sure one of them is lying about relevant details--even if he is not lying about having been black-out drunk?

The only reasonable conclusion is that if Kavanaugh would lie about his drinking habits and drinking games and yearbook in order to make himself sound like more of a boy scout what reason is there to conclude he would not lie about ever having been black-out drunk?

The (unnecessary) lies about what Devil's Triangle is seem to be solely in the service of protecting his reputation from minor damage--so clearly he would also lie about drinking to excess and (perhaps) sometimes not remembering everything that happened.

Given this, the path of least resistance is that:
  1. He drank way too much in high school and college and was kind of a jerk to women.
  2. He lied about his behavior to burnish his image.
  3. He claims he was never black-out drunk--BUT: this falls into the kind-of-thing that #2 covers.
  4. He seems believable (?) when he says he doesn't ever remember doing what Ford said he did.
  5. THEREFORE: if we accept 1-4 on the face of it and find Ford believable THEN the conclusion is that he got black-out drunk and assaulted her and doesn't remember it.
As this is the case and the standards for a SCOTUS justice should make #2 very iffy, there's only one reasonable conclusion--don't confirm him.