I’m still spending most of my energy on NaNoWriMo, so you get another news link post:
‘I have never seen this before’: Legal expert stunned by argument in latest Trump voter fraud lawsuit. And not because it’s brilliant.
Taking a short break from NaNoWriMo to share some more news links.
At least 40 in Trump inner circle have contracted Covid – who are the newest cases? – Another cluster was identified this week – and several infected people had attended the White House’s election night party.
Roy Den Hollander was entrenched in ‘anti-feminist’ male supremacy movement – The suspect in an ambush on a judge’s family was a member of Men Going Their Own Way, who seek to avoid “the negative influence of women entirely.”.
2 Heavily Armed Men Found Outside Pennsylvania Convention Center Taken Into Custody As Police Investigate Threat Of Attack – Alleged Plot To Attack Philly Voting Center, Vehicle Had QAnon Stickers And AR-15 Rifles.
Bitter Donald Trump a liar and cheat to the end as US election slips from his grasp – The US President falsely claimed he had won the election early on and alleged that Democrats were attempting to ‘steal’ the election – but did not offer proof because there isn’t any.
I’d rather just be posting a bunch of Happy Halloween images, but here we are:
Biden Team Cancels Texas Event After Highway ‘Ambush’ by MAGA Cavalry – Dozens of pickup trucks, many with Trump flags, surrounded a Biden campaign bus as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin. The trump supporters, many heavily armed, outnumber police 50-to-1.
Very fine people, I’m sure. And so brave to confront a bus full of “libruhl snowflakes” like that…
Jerry Falwell Jr. Sues Liberty University: You Damaged My Reputation And The Lincoln Project Is Behind It All. I don’t know what to say about this. It’s there a point where the judge can say (looking at the mountain of news covered that came out over the course of years ranging from the two pool boys to the sketchy real estate deals, to his own posting of the questionable drunken picture on his own Instagram account), “You had no reputation left to destroy”?
I’m not sure it’s so much a shift, as simply stopping hard on the accelerator in the direct the party steered toward first under Nixon, but what do I know? I’ve just spent the last 50 years reading the news and debating Republican supporters in real time…
I can’t deal with any more of this depressing news. Let’s move on.
It’s Halloween! Here’s a spooky song:
Ryan Adams – Gimme Something Good (with an assist from Elvira, Mistress of the Dark):
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
In the aforementioned Weekend Update I compared some of my conversations with trump supporters as feeling as if I am banging my head against a brick will. I did not specify that most of the trump supporters in questions are family members or people I have otherwise known since I was in high school. They are people that I love. Many are people who I once admired. Which is why, no matter how many times my attempts to talk to them haven’t gotten anywhere, I can’t seem to make myself completely abandon hope of reaching them.
And since I used the word “confessions” in the title of this post, I must also admit that I know there was a time when I was the brick wall that others were banging their heads against. Since I was able to change my perspective, I keep hoping they can, too.
One of the reasons, I believe, that everyone from the pundits to mainstream journalists to ordinary non-rightwing citizens are always flabbergasted because they don’t understand the culture of what I often call christianists: people who claim to be Christian (many evangelical, but not all) who instead of embracing the peace and tolerance messages, use them as a negative weapon against groups who adhere to different political and/or moral beliefs.
The person who doesn’t understand the christianist viewpoint might advance an argument that our current policies regarding health care and employment forces thousands of people into homelessness each year, leading to unnecessary illness, suffering, and death. They would expect that argument to have some sway with the christianists, but it doesn’t. Why? Because among other things christianists believe that suffering in this lifetime is nothing compared to the fate of one’s eternal soul. If a person suffers in this world, it’s either because they are being punished by god, or because they are being tested. If a good and faithful person dies, no matter what the circumstances, they will get a reward in heaven. The other people, well, it’s their own fault for not getting right with god while they had their chance.
And such thinking seems completely irrational to people outside that subculture. Rational people when presented with an opportunity to reduce suffering and avoidable deaths would try to do something about it, right? This leads some observers to refer to this branch of christianity as a Death Cult. A better description, I think, would be an After Death Cult. Because an eternity of rewards in heaven is the goal, while toil, tribulation, torment, and death are all small prices to pay in comparison.
That isn’t the only difficulty in reasoning with them. That other bit is implied in that part about how troubles in life are punishments from god. Once you accept that notion, it’s small logical hop to rationalizing that if you are the one causing trauma, you’re just doing god’s will. Which is how you justify calling yourself a servant of the Prince of Peace while you are stockpiling assault rifles and fantasizing about the day you get to kill all the unbelievers you want. And that how you get books/movies such as the Left Behind series (which is essentially snuff porn) being bestsellers to the evangelical and related groups.
I mentioned my own experience being on the other side of this mental divide. There was a period in my pre-teens/early teens where I became obsessed with the Biblical book of Revelations and its description of how the world would end. I found books and articles on it. I re-read Revelations itself making extensive notes and charts—connecting news stories and such that I found to specific parts. If the Left Behind books had existed at the time, I would have been all over them. One day, my paternal grandfather stopped me while I was in the middle of explaining some parallel I saw between some news article and some item in Revelations. Grandpa said, “That book isn’t in the Bible to give us a mystery to solve. Jesus himself told us that no one would know it was happening before it does. I believe it’s in there to motivate us to love our neighbors, even when we don’t like them.”
I don’t remember exactly what I said in reply. I didn’t think he was completely wrong, but I thought there was some value to studying the end times.
He turned my Bible back to the gospels, specifically the sermon on the mount. “We are suppose to live our lives so that we are so full of kindness and love, that other people will want to be like us. Armageddon isn’t going to be a victory parade. All wars are tragedies.”
And that got through to me.Which brings me to another example of the cognitive dissonance between the words attributed to Jesus in the Bible, and the ways that christianists don’t follow or even sometimes understand it. When Neil Gaiman adapted the book Good Omens, originally written by he and Terry Pratchett, into a miniseries, Neil added a lot of scenes showing the relationship between the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale over the millennia. The book had made a few allusions to these encounters, and Neil realized that in a visual medium, he needed to show them. One of the scenes in that section was Aziraphale and Crowley witnessing the Crucifixion. I follow Gaiman on several social media platforms, so I saw the incredibly large number of Christians (including a lot of pastors), who absolutely loved the adaptation. And the many expressions of gratitude he got from making the Crucifixion scene so respectful.
It got a completely different reaction from the christianists I know. They considered it, especially that scene, blasphemy. Why? Because of those three lines of dialogue in that meme: “What was it he said that got them so upset?” “’Be kind to each other.’” “Oh, yeah. That’ll do it.” Boiling it down to that absolutely incensed some people!
Which is really peculiar since these are the same people who say that every single word of the Bible is literally true. Because that part I mentioned above, the Sermon on the Mount. It’s the centerpiece of Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. It is the longest single bit of his teachings we get. It takes all the ideas he had told before and extends them. And what does he preach that day? That people should be kind to each other, even to those who don’t deserve it. Nay! Even more to those that don’t deserve it than to those that do. That’s all of his teachings in a nutshell.
It’s not blasphemy at all, it’s a distillation of the rest of the story.
And the fact that they don’t understand that is really all you need to know about why they twist the teachings of love and peace and tolerance into cudgels to rationalize cruelty and injustice in society.
My weekends have been crazy lately, so I seldom manage to finish one of these Weekend Update posts. The idea for these is that if there is news to broke (or came to my attention) after I finished compiled the Friday Five, or if I become aware of updates or new developments in a news story that I have previously linked to, and especially if I want to make a bit more commentary on it that what happens in a Friday Five, I put them in a Weekend Update to share on a Saturday or Sunday. So, jump right in!
Let’s start with some good news: First U.S. Asian giant hornet nest found in east Blaine. These are the so-called murder hornets, and the danger is that if they get established, they can wipe out native honey bees, which has a scary impact on agriculture. All the signs have so far indicated that there is probably only one next in Washington state. So, this one (and its hornets) will be destroyed and we can all breathe a little easier.
In other news: NC Man Arrested In Terror Plot To Kill Biden, Vehicle Found With Explosives, Assault Rifle, $509,000 In Cash. He’s a 19-year-old originally from Seattle who last fall came into a large inheritance which apparently he’s been carrying around all in cash. He was initially arrested because when someone reported what they thought was an abandoned van in a bank parking long in North Carolina, the responding officers could see the stash of ammo, guns, and explosives through the windows. And when the kid came back to his van, he had concealed weapons on him for which he doesn’t have permits. He’s currently being held of child pornography charges, while a joint terrorism task force is continuing to build the case from messages he posted on white supremacist web sites and journals.
He was arrested back in May, and police have since shown that he was near the former Vice Presidents home in April, which is when he was posting online about killing Biden. I want to point out that his plot to kill Biden was not motivated by a desire to help Trump. His aim was to “save” Bernie Sanders. Again demonstrating the fact I’ve pointed out several times since 2016 that a significant fraction of Bernie Bros have ties to the same white supremacist communities that support Trump.
But this is a weekend update, not a blog post where I explain the origins of certain political factions. So let’s move on to Rightwing Agitator Shot Up Minneapolis Police Precinct In May, And He Is Under Arrest. Yet another example of a white supremacist guy hoping to start a race war by causing violence that he can hope to pin on the Black Lives Matters folks. What’s more scary than his actions are some of the others who he was coordinating with who actually succeeding in killing some cops elsewhere. And like the story above, this was some young guy traveling out of the state where he lives to go stir up the trouble.
Let’s move on…
I did not watch the debate. I urged people I knew not to watch it. Fortunately, we have a great (and more than slightly sarcastic) sum o of the debate by Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke. I’ll just quote my favorite bit:
“Demonstrating a striking change in tone from the first presidential debate, Trump did not come across as a writhing, angry body inhabited by the spirit of Charles Manson. Instead, he took on the more affable demeanor of a writhing, angry body inhabited by the spirit of Charles Manson on a day when Manson didn’t interrupt people quite so much.”
AOC Rips Trump For Disrespecting Her During Final Debate. Of course, Donald disrespects everyone. I don’t think he knows how to respect someone, just as I don’t believe he has one iota of empathy in his being. But that is a bit of her point: just because he does it all the time doesn’t make it right. And just because the Republicans in general disrespect anyone they disagree with doesn’t mean we should let it pass without some pushback.
Trump’s Strangest Lie: A Plague of Suicides Under His Watch – Social distancing hasn’t led to an increase in suicide rates, despite the president’s claims. But a prolonged pandemic might. I’m not sure I agree this is his strangest lie, because he tenaciously retells a lot of lies about extremely trivial stuff.
I suspect the author hasn’t had enough experience
beating his head against a brick wall talking with Trump supporters. And the thing you have to remember is that Trump is always talking to his supporters. He doesn’t believe anyone else matters. He isn’t trying to appeal to voters outside his base. Trump’s base firmly believe that the quarantines are unnecessary and are a liberal plot being forced on them in order to undermine Trump. They sincerely believe that. And therefore, if the lockdowns were causing suicides to increase (which they aren’t), but if they were, those suicides wouldn’t be happening on Trump’s watch. Those suicides would all be the fault of the evil libruhls
The author of the article expects Trump and his supporters to think like normal people. In a normal election, people tend to blame bad things happening right now on the incumbent President. But trumpkins don’t think like that. They live in the world of all those conspiracy theories. Bad things are always the fault of those other guys.
It is a lie: quarantining and lockdowns are no causing suicides. But if you understand Trump and his supporters, it isn’t that strange at all.
I’m going to let Stephen Colbert take us out:
Trump Trashes New York, Joe Unveils ‘Bidencare’ At Final Debate – Stephen Colbert’s LIVE Monologue What’s got Steven Colbert feeling optimistic after last night’s debate? The fact that we’ll (hopefully) never have to watch Donald Trump debate ever again:
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
I had a very busy weekend, and never managed to sit down to do a Weekend Update, even though there were a lot of things worth posting. Particularly since I thought it was a better use of the blog to post something for National Coming Out Day and for Indigenous Peoples Day. So I started assembling a post-weekeng update, and realized that my collection of memes and political cartoons to use in future posts is overflowing, again, so today you get a subset of those surplus images, as I post those that apply to the news links below.
Michigan sheriff defends militia members charged in plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer. Domestic terrorists have to stick together, after all…
Democrats Hijack Republicans’ Sham Coney Barrett Hearing – It was all preexisting conditions, all the time as Democrats ignored Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett and turned today’s hearing into a long campaign ad.
Pete Buttigieg shreds Amy Coney Barrett’s opening statement for Supreme Court nomination – Out former presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg has proven himself to be a valuable tool for Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign.
Proud Boys are a dangerous ‘white supremacist’ group say US agencies – Law enforcement have shown concerns about the group’s menace to minority groups and police officers, and its conspiracy theories.
A Message from Your Friendly Local Mail Carrier:
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
‘A tale of 2 recessions’: As rich Americans get richer, the bottom half struggles – The trend is on track to exacerbate dramatic wealth and income gaps in the U.S., where divides are already wider than any other nation in the G-7.
‘Conmen, grifters and criminals’: why is Trump’s circle so at odds with the law? – Apart from legal trouble, what Bannon, Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Stone, Gates and Papadopoulos have in common is the president.
Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ – The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic..
I don’t have a funny exit line, and I’m just not up to ranting about it.