What is it with GOP candidates being terrible to women? Allegedly?
With California's recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom coming up on September 14 (make sure you vote, California!), the late-August surprise has become a factor, maybe, as the former fiancee of Republican candidate Larry Elder has alleged that he threatened her by displaying a gun during an argument in 2015. Alexandra Datig, who in addition to dating Elder also worked as the producer of his radio show for a time, said that she ended their engagement after the incident, during which she says he was high on pots.
Politico broke the story yesterday; the Los Angeles Times also reports that Datig had recounted the incident in an interview last week, and that she had emailed her attorney and others about a month after the incident to ask for advice on dealing with Elder.
Datig, Politico says,
portrayed him as a marijuana user who would often become threatening or insistent with her, including in his repeated demands that she get a "Larry's Girl" tattoo to show her devotion to him.
The alleged gun incident occurred in the midst of a heated conversation as their relationship was unraveling, according to Datig. "He was in the bedroom, and I was standing by the door," she said. "We talked to each other.'' He became silent, she said, and then slowly "walked over to the nightstand, opened the door, took out the gun,'' a .45 pistol.
"And he checked if it was loaded — while I was talking,'' she said. "He wanted to make sure I saw that he had it."
"It was an act of silent scorn — and anger,'' she said.
He seems nice.
Elder yesterday released a statement that sort of denies the accusation, or at least the line in the Politico story that says he "waved" a gun at Datig. It's a really classic example of the artful non-denial denial:
"I have never brandished a gun at anyone," Elder said. "I grew up in South Central; I know exactly how destructive this type of behavior is. It's not me, and everyone who knows me knows it's not me. These are salacious allegations."
That word "brandished" is doing a lot of work there; as the LA Times points out, the statement "did not address the rest of the specifics of Datig's complaint, or whether he had ever examined his gun during an argument with her." And no, the campaign didn't get back to the Times when it asked for clarification on that point.
Isn't the English language a wonderfully precise and slippery thing?
The Times notes that Datig specified in her interview last week that Elder hadn't "waved" the gun, but rather had opened the revolver to check that there were bullets in the cylinder, and to make sure she saw it was loaded. After the story broke yesterday, she again confirmed to the Times there had been no waving.
Datig is now a political blogger, and told Politico that she had come forward despite having signed a non-disclosure agreement because she feels there's "too much at stake" in the recall election; she has endorsed the second most prominent Republican running in the recall, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Datig also said that Elder had
pressured her to sign a non-disclosure agreement after being informed by Elder's assistant that "all Larry's girlfriends did,'' she said, in an interview with POLITICO. She complied, saying she was "terrified … and I ran for my life.''
In addition to the alleged gun-not-pointing-but-checking incident, Datig says Elder was just a generally awful guy who pressured her to get a tattoo reading "Larry's Girl," which Politico notes he "urged her" to design to look like the Superman logo. Ick.
She agreed to get it — after he said he would get an accompanying tattoo declaring his love for her, she said. "He never did,'' she said.
And she didn't speak up when a large nude portrait of her with the tattoo on her lower back was displayed in their home for visitors to see, Datig said.
And yes, she showed the photo to Politico, so that happened. She also says that Elder constantly smoked weed, and shared a bizarre phone video in which he claimed to have introduced rapper Snoop Dogg to "the evil weed… I taught him everything he knows...I'm the one who made him what he is, I can't believe he turned his back on me, motherfucker." Politico posts that video in the article. She said that she asked Elder to not smoke the stuff around her since she feared it would endanger her sobriety, but he never cut down.
He sounds like a terrific libertarian guy who won't let anyone tell him how to live his life, not even if he's engaged to them.
Datig says that while she'd like to see Newsom recalled and Faulconer become governor, if it's a choice between Elder and Newsom,
"Gavin Newsom is the devil you know. Larry Elder is the devil you think you know."
"Larry Elder is a brand,'' she said, "but If Larry Elder becomes the governor of the state of California, it will be a disaster.''
But come now, what are the odds that California Republicans would flock to support a misogynist media figure who's actually far nastier than his public persona?
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May this man step barefoot on all the sharp little plastic blocks. On a hardwood floor.
A Utah manufacturer of custom firearms will no longer convert Glock handguns with an adorable kit to make the very real guns look like they're made out of Lego blocks, following a cease and desist letter from the real Danish toy manufacturer. Culper Precision had been selling the conversion, which it called the "BLOCK19" (GET IT?) for about two weeks before getting the nastygram from Lego's lawyers.
I don't usually find myself cheering for the heavy hand of intellectual property law, but you take your heroes where you find them.
Culper Precision sure thought the lethal weapon that looked like a toy was something special, as the Washington Post reports:
"We have been building guns out of blocks for the last 30 years and wanted to flip the script to aggravate Mom," Provo-based Culper Precision explained on its website. [...]
"There is a satisfaction that can ONLY be found in the shooting sports and this is just one small way to break the rhetoric from Anti-Gun folks and draw attention to the fact that the shooting sports are SUPER FUN!" the site proclaimed, exuding a bravado that would prove to be short-lived. "Here's the thing. Guns are fun. Shooting is fun. 30 rounds full auto is fun."
Hey, you know who else thinks guns are fun? Little kids, who have an unfortunate habit of finding them, even when Daddy has hidden them in the top dresser drawer. Children kill or injure themselves or others with firearms on a disturbingly regular basis, and as gun sales spiked and people stayed home during the coronavirus crisis, so did shooting deaths caused by kids.
On the other hand, the cheerful yellow gun that you could attach real Lego blocks to was a lot of fun, and pissed off liberals, so those surely are points in its favor.
We bet Culper Precision probably ate its heart out over a federal court decision yesterday, which determined that the federal law prohibiting handgun sales to anyone under the age of 21 is unconstitutional. Adding 18- to 20-year-olds to the customer base might have helped boost sales of the BLOCK19, which had already been praised by some commenters on a gun blog as a "10/10 meme gun." Ah well. The government can ask the full appeals court to reconsider the case. And Culper will just have to hope the younger adult set will be drawn to its other offerings, like a super-cool sci-fi looking Glock modification called the "Atomic 6."
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, just didn't see the fun in the Lego gun, because it was designed to aggravate Mom.
This "Lego Glock" is an actual thing you can buy, build and shoot: "...honestly what childhood toy is more welcomin… https://t.co/CJCUPUlCrj— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1625766874.0
Also, federal consumer law prohibits making toy guns that look too realistic, but there's no law against guns looking like toys, because Second Amendment. Can't spell Founders without fun!
The real highlight of the WaPo piece, though, is the wit and wisdom shared by Culper Precision's president, Brandon Scott:
Scott maintains that the design was all about exposing people to the fun of shooting, an aspect of firearms that, he said, the media and gun control activists often overlook because they're too narrowly focused on the tens of thousands of people who are killed by them.
It really is just a matter of what you choose to focus on, now isn't it?
Scott told the Post that he had indeed given thought to the possibility that kids might be attracted to a real gun that looks like a toy, but since all responsible gun owners keeps their firearms locked up, he went ahead with the kit.
The Post, no fun at all, went and pointed out that
As of 2015, as many as 4.6 million children lived in homes with at least one loaded, unlocked firearm, a number that has probably gone up during the country's gun-buying spree over the past 16 months.
But really, that's not Scott's problem, as we see in this Socratic dialogue:
If the child of one of his customers finds a Lego-modified gun and shoots himself with it, Scott said that would be the customer's fault, not his.
And what should happen to that customer?
"So, um, let's see. I know that in some places that there are laws in place for negligence like that," Scott said. But he added that he does not believe an adult who allows a child access to a gun that looks like a toy — resulting in the child's death — should be held criminally liable.
The reason, Scott said, is because he doesn't want the government regulating "common sense."
"You know, the pain and anguish caused by losing a child would be a pretty intense scenario," he said, suggesting that would be punishment enough.
Given that common sense might argue against selling brightly colored guns that look like kids' toys, we aren't too sure we agree with Scott on his logic work there.
And if it was a neighbor's child who was shot to death instead?
"The neighbor can obviously sue," he said.
As you can see, he's thought this whole thing through. And there's no chance the manufacturer of a gun that looks like a toy could be sued, since Congress protected the industry from liability suits in 2005. It's literally impossible for Culper Precision to be negligent in selling its murder toy.
And here we thought that no actual human being could sound quite this much like the amoral Dan Aykroyd character Irwin Mainway, who peddled unsafe children's toys like the all-black "Johnny Invisible Pedestrian" Halloween costume or the fun "Bag O' Glass" construction set. Ooh, hey, maybe Scott could make a Glock 19 out of shards of glass!
Scott also said he thinks guns have an unfair reputation because, he said, lots of other sports are "in my opinion, a lot more dangerous than firearms [...] and frankly, you know, kill more people on a yearly basis."
Like maybe motorcycling, he said, although the Post spoiled everything by pointing out "guns killed at least eight times as many people in 2020 as the number that die in motorcycle crashes during an average year."
Well yeah, but how about if all those motorcyclists had tuberculosis and rode standing up, on fire, inside schools?
Unfortunately, while he was being interviewed by the Post Monday, Scott received an email with the cease and desist letter, even though he had carefully not used the name "Lego" on his website at all.
To avoid legal action, he decided to stop selling his fun conversation starter about how safe and fun guns are.
"They had a similar reaction to you," he told a reporter, "where it was like: 'Is it wise to make a gun look like a toy?'"
Well that sucks for him. Guess Culper Precision will have to move on to another great idea, like selling C-4 plastic explosives in bright primary colors, in little cans that look like Play-Doh but with a jokey name.
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Mind you, the Nazi got the most support in the county GOP.
Ada County, Idaho — the state's most populous county, and home to Boise — has selected a new sheriff, and we're happy to report that it's not the Nazi-sounding loonybag who was among the three finalists for the job. Sheriff Matt Clifford, the new guy, will serve out the remaining term of former Sheriff Steve Bartlett, who was just reelected to a second term in November but suddenly retired at the end of May and nobody knows why. Because Bartlett was a Republican, it was up to the county's Republican Party to pick a slate of three nominees, from which the county's board of supervisors would select one. This may not be the best way to choose top law enforcement officers.
Naturally enough, this being Idaho in the Age of Trump (Or Anyone Else, Let's Get Real), one of the three nominees chosen by the Ada County Republican Central Committee, Doug Traubel, turned out to be kind of a Nazi, complete with conspiracy theories about how Jews invented communism and that the Black Lives Matter movement was also a communist front. Hey, Ada County supervisors, bullet dodged!
The Idaho Statesman's coverage of the supervisors' interviews with the three candidates is really something, and yet another reminder to support local journalism. The supervisors, understandably, had a lot of questions for Traubel, based on his statements on social media and his self-published book-shaped object, Red Badge: A veteran peace officer's commentary on the Marxist subversion of American Law Enforcement & Culture, in which he argues that Marxists have in fact subverted not only our precious bodily fluids, but also law enforcement, because isn't it true that when you think "bunch of commies," you think of your local police department?
Don't You Dare Call Him Racist Just For Saying Racist Shit
Supervisor Kendra Kenyon, a Democrat, had a few problems with Traubel's everything, such as
posts he has written about the number of Black men who rape white women; his support for the "constitutional" sheriff movement; and comments that he wears a mask with "hoax" written on it when traveling on airplanes, that "Islam is the culture of death" and that single mothers are "not an economically viable unit."
"As a single mom raising two kids, I personally take offense to all of these," Kenyon said.
She asked Traubel where he'd gotten his book's confident assertion that "at least 50%" of rape allegations are false; he said he couldn't recall it off the top of his head, but when Kenyon cut him off and accused him of "just making it up as you go," he offered the very credible explanation that "In that instance, certainly it's not cited, but my book is very well researched." No doubt that's the same assiduous research (also with no citation) behind Traubel's bullshit assertion in 2016 that annually, "black males rape 37,000 white women (100/day)" while "there are ZERO black women raped by white men year after year." It's on the internet, written by him, so it must be true. In that same rant, he asserted that Barack Obama just LOVES seeing cops killed: "Dead cops please our dear leader. Dead white cops please him more."
In the same essay, Traubel explained,
It is 2016! There is no longer black oppression in the United States. Police are good. Criminals are bad. It is not white versus black. It is police versus criminal. It is good versus evil. It is principles versus relativism. It is truth versus deception.
So when you see cops who appear to be acting racist, you probably just need to fix your own crazy brain and realize the cops are always right.
We aren't about to buy Traubel's awful book, but we did find it quoted approvingly at a far-Right blog, which included a lovely cartoon of a big-nosed rabbi spray-painting a swastika on his own temple to prove there's no such thing as hate crimes. The blogger really grooved on Traubel's assertion that the very terms "racist" and "racism" are "a Marxist construct" aimed at covering up the "reality" of inherent Black criminality:
The terrorist chant, "No Justice, No Peace!" is born of fiction not virtue. Offender-victim demographics over fifty years prove the Dirty War is the reality. White Americans have long suffered from black predatory tribalism. Nevertheless, speaking truth on race and crime necessarily brands one a racist.
Gosh, how very unfair to call him a racist. Somehow, it appears that line didn't even make it into the job interview, possibly because there was so much else.
Besides, He Has Thoughts On The Jews, Too
Under questioning from Supervisor Rod Beck, a Republican, Traubel also happily expounded on his theories about WWII, such as his belief the US lost the war by not immediately going to war with the USSR after defeating Nazi Germany, and his insistence that Jews actually created the USSR. But don't worry, he has a real nuanced view of the period, explaining that in the Holocaust, Jews were victims of the Nazis, but that in Soviet Russia, Jews Holocaust You.
In a comment straight out of Nazi propaganda, Traubel asserted that Jews "led the Bolshevik revolution," which actually means "they were the villain class in the Soviet Union."
"What we don't often hear … is how many hundreds of thousands of people were killed (in the Soviet Union) and what group actually started that," Traubel added.
Oh, what group was that? The Rotary Club, we bet.
Weirdo Conspiracy Theories? Check.
Compared to the racism and anti-Semitism (which, remember, aren't real, but simply tools made up to advance communism), it's almost a side note that Traubel also belongs to the far-Right "Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association" (CSPOA) which pushes the fringe conspiracy theory that county sheriffs are really the highest constitutional authorities in US America. The group's founder, Richard Mack, was a prominent presence at both of the Bundy standoffs. He's the guy who suggested during the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff they send the women out to the front line to get shot by federal law enforcement, to prove the feds were monsters.
Asked about his inaccurate beliefs on the authority of sheriffs, which is definitely limited by state and federal law no matter what some idiots think, Traubel explained that if he were Ada County Sheriff, well then he might have to put his foot down:
Traubel stated that if a "social justice mentality is pulling the reins on the police" in Boise during a protest, "if I get wind of that, I'm going in." He added that he would "call (Boise police) officers under my command."
"It kind of sounds like you'd be willing to take up arms against the Boise police," Rod Beck, commissioner for District 2, said in response.
Strangely, the Statesman doesn't mention Traubel's response, even if it was, as we suspect, no more than an eager leer.
And The Rest ...
The third candidate, Mike Chilton, was employed by the sheriff's office over a decade ago but figured he'd be a good sheriff because his job since then, as an investment advisor, would help him handle the budget. Chilton tried to parlay his lack of experience into a qualification for the job, because it would represent a change from "the cabal that has controlled Ada County for three and a half decades." Happily, he just meant the county power structure, not Jews, so good on him.
Also happily, the awful guy won't get the job; instead, Kenyon and Beck voted to hire Clifford, who as chief of the nearby Eagle Police Department was the only one of the three nominees currently working in law enforcement. Bizarrely, Clifford's own take on the authority of his office was what impressed Beck, who was glad to hear Clifford say that if the federal government banned semiautomatic assault rifles like the AR-15, he'd refuse to enforce it.
As for the other supervisor, Republican Ryan Davidson, he voted against Clifford, saying he wanted an "outsider" for the job, and that he'd been super-impressed by Traubel, but that he recognized that the "far leftwing media in Ada County" would misrepresent Traubel's very thoughtful writings as somehow being controversial.
We're starting to think maybe Ada County needs to change its selection process for replacing a sheriff. As we mentioned, the three candidates were chosen by the county GOP, and how's this Boise State Public Radio report for scary?
Ada County GOP party leaders narrowed a list of six names to three nominees for County Commissioners to choose from. Traubel got more votes from party leaders than any other potential nominee, according to several letters of support party leaders sent commissioners.
Gosh. That explains a lot.
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Only this time, not barefoot.
Sunday was the one-year anniversary of that time when St. Louis couple Patricia and Mark McCloskey figured waving guns around was the most reasonable reaction to a group of Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their house on the way to somewhere else. To mark the occasion, which they probably think will be a national holiday some great day in the future, they held a sad slob picnic/campaign rally in a parking lot. It wasn't even the parking lot of a landscaping business that sounded like a hotel, just a closed outlet mall that's being redeveloped as a "mixed-use retail and sports property."
As you'll recall, Mark McCloskey is running for US Senate on a compelling platform of having been on TV waving a gun. If you haven't read the 'hilarious write-up of the event by Daniel Hill of the Riverfront Times, be sure to treat yourself.
McCloskey's campaign is fueled by the hottest commodities on the Right these days: white grievance and an inflated sense of victimhood. But even so, it seems none of the big rightwing figures they'd announced would be at the event actually showed up. The Riverfront Times reports McCloskey couldn't sell many tickets for the event, so it was opened up to whatever parts of the public wanted to hear a bunch of nobodies with internet "radio shows" gripe about all the things Fox News gripes about during the week: "critical race theory," the woke mob, Ashli Babbitt's status as a beloved martyr, and Joe Biden's status as a far left communist socialist far leftist.
The McCloskeys had originally said Gen. Michael Flynn would be there, but he was swapped out for Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who was also a no-show. Instead, it was a slate of raving dorks no one has heard of unless they're devotees of small rightwing media outlets. And what nice people they were! The show was emceed by former St. Louis radio talk show host Jamie Allman, who was shitcanned in 2018 after playfully suggesting on Twitter that he'd "ram a hot poker up David Hogg's ass" because the 17-year-old Parkland survivor had said unkind things about the Holy Second Amendment. (But it was only a joke, so it was funny, stupid libs!).
In place of major rightwing figures, the rally featured a bunch of local zeroes:
There was federally charged St. Louis chiropractor Eric Nepute, best-known for recommending Schweppes tonic water as a COVID-19 cure early on in the pandemic; JeffCo gun store owner Ian McFarland, who recently sold McCloskey a new gun when the latter handed his over to the state after pleading guilty to the crimes he'd committed; and State Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O'Fallon), one of the legislators leading an effort that failed in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood in the state. Pillow magnate and unhinged lunatic Mike Lindell piped in a prerecorded message of support, as did war criminal Oliver North, probably as a consolation prize since Flynn was presumably too busy plotting out his own future crimes to make an appearance.
And of course the McCloskeys were there, dressed up in outfits resembling what they wore the day they "protected" their expensive mansion from people who were passing by on the way to protest at the mayor's home and wouldn't have paid a bit of attention to the McCloskeys if they hadn't gone out to wave guns around.
Rather than mention that they'd pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and had to surrender their guns as part of the plea deal, Mark McCloskey insisted that were it not for their heroic gun brandishing, the protesters who were going elsewhere — aka, the "violent mob" -- would surely have murdered both the McCloskeys, their dog, and probably everyone else in St. Louis, too, and also burned their palace to the ground. As Hill points out, it's a weird claim, "seeing as how literally none of McCloskey's neighbors did the same and yet they all somehow came out unscathed." OK Mr. Smart Guy, but what if the McCloskeys' quick gun-waving also saved the whole neighborhood from the crazed mob?
Oh, OK, sure, there's the small matter that in a statement after the McCloskeys took the plea deal, special prosecutor Richard Callahan wrote that
"The protesters on the other hand were a racially mixed and peaceful group, including women and children, who simply made a wrong turn on their way to protest in front of the mayor's house," noting further that absolutely no evidence was ever found to show that any of the protesters were armed or intent on harming the couple.
Well see, that statement right there notes that it was a "racially mixed" group, and we bet that's all the proof McCloskey and his dozens of supporters at the rally needed to know. By pure coincidence, Hill notes, the political figures Mark McCloskey praised were all white, and those he demonized happened to be Black, not that that could possibly be significant, heavens perish the thought.
The rally, such as it was, ended with the McCloskeys waving around a substitute AR-15 onstage, their original guns from last year having been seized and destroyed per the plea deal. The great thing about America is that there are always more guns, hooray! Indeed, says Hill, the McCloskeys serve only as a sort of synecdoche for the real star of the show, the eternal holy Gun:
One gets the distinct impression that those cheers were more for the gun itself than its owner though, and that more likely than not the crowd would probably prefer to vote for an actual firearm to be senator instead, if only there was some way to get one on the ballot.
"The gun is good! ... The Gun shoots Death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals. Go forth, and kill!"
Sadly, the event appears to have lacked a Zardoz gun dispenser. Maybe if the McCloskeys can get Alex Jones for the next big event.
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