Leopards, faces, etc.
Jordan Peterson has made a career out of coddling the seething anger of young white men who desperately want to be able to not only go around saying horrible things and insulting people with impunity, but also to be told they are wonderful and special for doing so. He first rose to fame by going ballistic over his bosses at the University of Toronto requiring that professors refer to students and fellow employees by their preferred pronouns -- which he claimed was "compelled speech" -- and claiming that Canada, by including trans people as a protected category in the Canadian Human Rights Act, was going to throw him in jail for using the pronouns he preferred to use for people he talked to.
He has not, thus far, been thrown in jail for being a rude jackass.
He has, however, made a LOT of money. He earns this money by giving speeches, writing books and doing YouTube videos about how white privilege is a lie meant to make them feel bad for no good reason, about "cultural Marxism," and about "identity politics." This has made him very popular among a certain segment of people. He upset that certain segment this week when he criticized their holy practice of putting three brackets around the names of people who are Jewish (or whom they believe are Jewish), and suggested that by normalizing anti-Semitism, they contributed to the radicalization of the man who bombed the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
And he sure got responses!
Just pointing out here that no one was preventing this guy from talking to people who wanted to talk to him. No one was preventing him from posting on Gab. The idea that we should all be forced to listen to the rantings of an anti-Semitic lunatic because otherwise he might have to kill 11 people is completely fucking ridiculous. Billions of people made it through life prior to the internet without having a massive platform to spread their personal views, and somehow managed to not kill anyone over it.
In fairness, "it's not clever to be anti-Semitic, cut the shit" goes against literally everything Peterson has told them over the last few years -- most particularly the sentiment that they should never, ever have to consider how something hateful they might want to do or say could affect others. In fairness, the "cultural Marxism" he rails against began as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about shadowy Jewish intellectuals seeking to undermine the United States by convincing people who are oppressed they shouldn't like being oppressed. It is, actually, still that. Peterson has basically been doing family-friendly cover versions of Pat Buchanan's Greatest Hits, repackaging them for the masses of today, and the people who know the original songs recognized them for what they were.
Is Jordan Peterson actually so stupid that he doesn't know who and what his words and sentiments inspire? It's possible, but it's also unlikely. He pretended to not know the difference between having one's free speech oppressed and not being able to be a jackass at work, he pretended as if people saying "Hey, that is a shitty thing to say" was tantamount to government suppression of speech when it never was, as if white men were being oppressed by the mere discussion of other people's oppression or the acknowledgement that it is a lot easier to go through life not being a member of a group that has been systemically oppressed over hundreds of years. Who did he think he was going to attract with that? Does he think his fans are only hanging out around him because it's so exciting when he tells them to clean their rooms?
No, they're looking to be told "It is OK that you are an asshole and it is bad for anyone to not like you because of that, or to criticize anything you do or say."
Peterson was not the only conservative this week to discover that his fan base was, in fact, actually made up of assholes. Matt Drudge had a moment of clarity in which he somehow realized that maybe it was bad for people on Fox News to be giggling and laughing during a segment about political terrorism. His people were not happy either.
Will Peterson or Drudge have a sudden epiphany in which they realize that this is the kind of shit that they, personally, have been encouraging all along, that they are the Frankensteins to these empathy-free monsters, and that they should maybe just stop being the worst? Nah. They will not. Too much money in being Frankenstein to stop.
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But at least Tucker Carlson stood up for 'free speech' (by Nazis).
The neo-Nazi Twitter clone, Gab, has suspended operations in the wake of the Squirrel Hill massacre. Gab's CEO, Andrew Torba, posted a whiny statement to the site that says Gab is "not going anywhere," which is the tech equivalent to Trump's "confidence" in any given staffer. Without a free-speech platform like Gab, Torba has been frantically shitposting on Twitter and hoping a major media outlet will quote him blowing a dog whistle. Torba has even asked his favorite orange autocrat for a patriotic bailout so he can keep fighting the Silicon Valley liberal elites who are telling the Nazis to shut the hell up.
Shortly after people discovered the Pittsburgh shooter (now charged with
multiple hate crimes) was a Gab user, they began combing through his posts and found he had a long history of anti-Semitic rants. Even though Gab quickly offered some thoughts and prayers, the biggest names in internet infrastructure suddenly announced they were pulling the plug on Gab. You know, because it's full of Nazis.
And it's time we started saying so!
Huddle up, kids! I'm about to tell you Uncle George Soros's One Weird Trick for making money. READY?
Figure out the difference between reality and the BS people believe because they want it to be true, and bet the spread. You can call it arbitrage, or use his own "Theory of Reflexivity" terminology, but that's basically it. George Soros didn't invent it, and he sure as hell didn't make the laws that allow it, but he did use them and his own prodigious intellect to make billions betting against the British pound in 1992. For which he was labeled "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England." Welcome to being a Jew in the modern world -- play the game by rules you didn't set up, then get called a cheater when you win.
Yes, this is less worse than African Americans having to work twice as hard to get half as far. But we are not in competition for world's most oppressed minority. It's not a zero-sum game, and we all need to lift each other up. Indeed, George Soros spent tens of billions of dollars lifting up poor people across the globe and promoting democracy. And that's why Republicans hate him. Because in their screwed-up worldview, a man who put up $35 million to secure matching federal funds to get every poor kid in New York City $200 for school supplies is an existential threat to the American way of life. Very Christian!
And he did flee the Nazis, by the way. Trump's bigoted base happily swallows lies peddled by Fox and the wingnut demimonde that Soros was a collaborator who led Jewish deportees to their deaths, or even that he was an SS officer. In fact, he was a 14-year-old Jewish boy in Hungary, using false papers claiming to be a Christian child, who fled to England, started out hawking souvenirs, and wound up with a master's degree from the London School of Economics. He became the most successful hedge fund manager in history, and went on to donate at least $20 billion to making the world a fairer place through various pro-democracy and pro-Democratic efforts. Which is philanthropy and political activism when your side does it, but is nefarious fifth-column stuff when the donor is on the other side. And so much the better if he's an un-photogenic Jew with an accent!
Children's host and professional decent person Fred Rogers advised us to "look for the helpers" during times of crisis. Saturday's mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- literally in Mr. Rogers's neighborhood -- sent most of us scrambling in search of "helpers," and it seems like we might've found them in the form of Ivanka Trump and her first husband, Jared Kushner.
The New York Times reported Sunday that it took the "importuning of Mr. Trump's Jewish daughter and son-in-law to craft a powerful statement of outrage at anti-Semitism" after the deadliest anti-Semitic incident in US history. To translate from fancy-schmancy New York English, "importune" means to "ask pressingly and persistently for" something. I presume it went something like this:
Ivanka: C'mon, say something bad about anti-Semitism! I (checks "word of the day" calendar) "importune" you.
Trump: Don't bother me with this right now! Have you seen my hair?
Trump: Fine! Man, you act like someone died.
Aunt Lydia is a terrible person.
Back in September, the New Yorker ran a profile on White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that spent a few thousand words trying to make Sanders look like someone with human DNA. It turned out as convincing as Superman's upper lip in Justice League. Saturday, the magazine's Twitter page shared a quote from the feature on Donald Trump's "battering ram" that was rightly "ratioed."
"I'm not going to my office expecting it to be my church," Sarah Huckabee Sanders said when asked how she, as a Christian, reconciles her religious beliefs with her support for Trump.
Hey, that's great! We've said this for years when Christians claim they'd lose out on the best tee times in heaven if they bake wedding cakes for gay couples, provide their employees health insurance that covers birth control, or acknowledge the existence of transgender people. Look, dude, you're just the middle manager at the Bowlerama off Route 5. You don't work for the Vatican, covering up for pedophile priests. Get over yourself.
OH, COME ON! Mohammed bin Salman's security chief Saud al-Qahtani SKYPED IN to the attack on Jamal Khashoggi? Reuters reports,
According to one high-ranking Arab source with access to intelligence and links to members of Saudi Arabia's royal court, Qahtani was beamed into a room of the Saudi consulate via Skype.
He began to hurl insults at Khashoggi over the phone. According to the Arab and Turkish sources, Khashoggi answered Qahtani's insults with his own. But he was no match for the squad, which included top security and intelligence operatives, some with direct links to the royal court.
A Turkish intelligence source relayed that at one point Qahtani told his men to dispose of Khashoggi. "Bring me the head of the dog", the Turkish intelligence source says Qahtani instructed.
And then they took Khashoggi's clothes, pasted a fake beard on the body double, and sent him out the back door to wave at cameras all over Istanbul. Meanwhile the autopsy expert, who had packed his lucky bone saw and loaded up his dissection playlist for the trip from Saudi Arabia, got to work. Because Qahtani, MBS's top aide, had asked for Khashoggi's actual head. And pissing off MBS can be really bad for your health. Just ask the dozens of royal cousins who left their fingernails at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh while being convinced to turn assets over to the government. Or the women's rights activists rotting in jail. Or the former Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, who pissed off MBS by failing to sufficiently stand up to Iranian-backed factions in his own country. MBS had him kidnapped and beaten until he agreed to resign on national television. Or ask the prince's own mother, Princess Fahda bint Falah Al Hathleen, who has been kept under house arrest to keep her from warning his father King Salman to rein in his ambitious heir before it's too late. NBC reports that the aging king has been prevented from seeing his wife for two years at least.
Oh, so NOW Trump gives a damn about somebody's transition.
Just in time to whip up culture war fervor among rightwing voters, the Trump administration is looking at a little change in administrative rules to define transgender people right out of existence, the New York Times reported yesterday. After all, if "sex" is defined very narrowly to mean only male or female, as written on a birth certificate, then there's no way any trans people could ever be discriminated against, you see, because there'll be no need to recognize their existence at all. Heck, it's only the civil rights of about 1.4 million Americans, and there are a lot more fundagelical voters than than, so that's just how rights work these days.
The proposal, which is still in draft form, comes from a Department of Health and Human Services memo obtained by the Times, and seeks to assuage rightwing fears that Barack Obama's administration was allowing too much freedom from discrimination for people God wants to be discriminated against. Those monsters in the Obama administration said that federal laws barring discrimination on sex applied to transgender people, so HHS would like to please just redefine "sex" so there's no way trans people can be protected.
Audio reveals Jamal Khashoggi's horrifying final moments.
Diplomacy is complicated. So, when a journalist walks into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and leaves in an assortment of boxes that aren't part of a David Copperfield special, US leadership can't immediately throw around blame or frankly even care all that much.
Donald Trump, known for his measured approach to everything, stressed that Saudi Arabia is an important ally, and we shouldn't unfairly judge them like liberal mobs did the inoocent-as-O.J. Brett Kavanaugh. Besides, the missing journalist wasn't even
white an "American citizen." Jamal Khashoggi lived in Virginia and worked for the Washington Post. He was also a member of the human race.
This is why so many turn to people of faith for moral clarity in these fraught times. We know their priorities are in order, as gay-hating televangelist Pat Robertson demonstrated this week when he told his viewers that although the Saudi Royal Family's faith is "obnoxious," they're also really, really rich. Amen.
They were only trying to make the world a better place ... again ...
Citing anonymous military officials, The New York Times reports the Myanmar military has been using Facebook to push anti-Muslim sentiments that encouraged the country's Buddhist majority to rape and murder the Rohingya people. Facebook admits the military used its platform to kill hundreds of thousands of people in a campaign the UN has called "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing," but Facebook says it was only trying to make the world a better place. Oops.
Thia asshole again.
Time to take out the trash, California! You are far too cool to keep sending that cow-loving fake farmer from Fresno, Putin's little buddy in Orange County (whose funding got yanked last week by CLF, lol), and that smarmy Bakersfield Tea Party bastard to Washington. And don't even get us started on Duncan Hunter!
The guy is under indictment for stealing $250,000 from his own campaign. He spent donated funds to take his girlfriends on vacation and used the campaign credit card to buy clothes, which he later claimed were "[golf] balls for the wounded warriors," allegedly. He got drunk with his pals in the Bro Caucus, sometimes over lunch, and ran up a $138,666 bar tab, paid for by the campaign. And besides that, he's a bigoted asshole!
Look at this race-baiting POS ad where he pretends his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is some kind of ISIS sleeper agent.
Just to be clear, Duncan Hunter, who inherited his congressional seat from his father and proceeded to LOOT IT, is now blaming Campa-Najjar for the sins of his Palestinian grandfather who died 16 years before he was born and for the beliefs of his father, who left the family when Campa-Najjar was 8 years old.
It takes some balls for a useless bastard who coasted on his own father's name to fault his opponent for taking the name of the single mother who raised him alone. NPR reports,
"He changed his name from Ammar Yasser Najjar to Ammar Campa-Najjar," said Hunter, "so he sounds Hispanic. ... That is how hard, by the way, that the radical Muslims are trying to infiltrate the U.S. government."
Not for nothing, but Campa-Najjar is Hispanic! And it wouldn't matter if he were Muslim, BUT HE'S NOT. Because unlike some people whose fathers were in Congress, Campa-Najjar couldn't get a cushy job as a teenager. So when he was 15, he got a job as a janitor scrubbing toilets at a Protestant church.
Your American 'Christianity' at work.
The Reverend Franklin Graham is an evangelical leader, inheritor of Billy Graham's spiritual legacy, and like his daddy, an adviser to an increasingly unhinged president. Graham has some very deep thoughts on the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford, and those thoughts are so Christian and kind! As Jesus taught, we are to forgive the sinner whether or not he repents himself, and then lies about the sin, especially if it will get a Republican on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
She has a lot to answer for, we guess.
It's serious business when a Supreme Court justice nominee is accused of attempted rape, and serious business should be treated seriously. Or not. You could just make light of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's accusations like a common sociopath. Lot of folks are choosing this option, as if taking Donald Trump Jr.'s lead has ever resulted in anything but pain and misery. And in South Carolina, the motto is "go big or go home." Actually, it's "we'll never forgive Nikki Haley for taking down our flag," but if the country can have two Carolinas, my home state can have two mottos.
Republican House Rep. Ralph Norman kicked off a debate Thursday against Democratic challenger Archie Parnell with some well-considered rape humor.
"I thought I was going to be late. Did y'all hear this latest, late-breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings?" said Norman. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln. I thought I was going to have to get back there but we don't."
Hiyo! The debate was held at a Kiwanis club. Kiwanis is a children's charity, so it was a little surprised at Norman's decision to work blue. When he was booked, they expected more of his folksy observations about how biscuits from a can aren't as good as homemade.
Meta-censorship crisis narrowly averted!
After a brief hubbub and a rather pitched fuck-tussle, the public library in Rumford, Maine (population 5,700 or so), voted not to give in to a request by three local pastors to please remove several books on LGBTQ subjects from its "Banned Books" display. The pastors had sent a letter to the library board fretting the display was "promoting homosexuality" and that the books were "not appropriate for a public area" of the library, where children might see them. Heavens, one of the books even had a cover depicting (in comics form) "two naked ladies on the cover." It is unknown from local media reports whether any livestock in the area became sterile or a baby was born with a caul as a result of the books being on display, although reliable sources indicate a black cat was seen standing on its hind legs, like unto a man.
It's all in that special Constitution that only he has a copy of.
Somehow, we'd plum forgotten that Ryan Bundy -- the "Legal Idiot" Sovereign Citizen son of Cliven Bundy and the real philosophical brains behind the Nevada and Oregon High Plains Grifters standoffs with the illegitimate US government -- is running as an independent for governor of Nevada. But then a tweet by Riley Snyder, a reporter for the Nevada Independent, showed off some of the SovCit madness on Bundy's campaign website, and well, hot spit and murderation, we are impressed with the wisdom therein!
Hurricane Florence makes landfall, Trump only trusts Stephen Miller, and Dianne Feinstein gets A LETTER about Brett Kavanaugh. Your morning news brief.
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
He's so good at this. (He is not good at this.)
Listen up, North Carolina and South Carolina and Virginia and the rest of y'all: TURN THOSE CARS AROUND. (Do not turn those cars around.) We know you think there is a big hurricane coming your way, but that is Fake News, because Pat Robertson fixed it. (Pat Robertson did not fix it.)
Right Wing Watch reports that Pat Robertson has done his usual "GO 'WAY, BIG BLOWY STORM" prayer in Hurricane Florence's general direction, thus sparing the coast (not sparing):
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