Not only in the Panhandle…

❝ President Donald Trump was tickled last Wednesday when an audience member at a Florida rally suggested shooting migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexican border.

Trump was bemoaning the legal protections afforded migrants and espousing the need for a border wall when he asked rhetorically, “How do you stop these people?”

❝ “Shoot them!” someone shouted from the Panama City Beach crowd, according to multiple news media reports.

The remark drew a chuckle from the president, who shook his head, pointed in the audience member’s direction and said, “Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”

“Only in the Panhandle,” he repeated to laughs and cheers from the crowd.

The one-liner that immediately comes to mind is…”When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Doesn’t really matter who said it. It’s hard to dispute. And – more or less – it’s already here.

Is Trump the Chimp at the Top of our Pre-evolution Hierarchy?

❝ Donald Trump’s political stylings…evoke(d) memories of our people’s original civic leader — the large, angry ape.

“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” the anthropologist Jane Goodall infamously opined in the summer of 2016. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks. The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”

❝ Goodall was far from alone in this assessment. In his paper “The Appeal of the Primal Leader: Human Evolution and Donald J Trump,” Northwestern University social psychologist Dan McAdams argued that the mogul embodied “the social dominance form of human leadership” — and likened Trump’s Twitter tantrums to the violent rituals performed by ruling chimps.

❝ Trump intended his shutdown to be a spectacular display of his tribe’s supremacy in America’s dominance hierarchy. It became the opposite. Now, there’s a good chance that, over the next two years, this presidency is “going to go weaker, weaker, and just disintegrate.”…

One can only hope. Though I have no confidence in Trump’s echo of Reagan’s failed supply-side economics producing anything of benefit to working families, the mass of rural and urban Americans, the danger of stupidity overruling anything near unto common sense retains a risk of economic and social disaster. Often the fate of petty pimps and their claque…and innocent bystanders.

IMHO, voting for a scumbag bigot means you’re a scumbag bigot


Ghazala Khan, Khizr KhanSaul Loeb/AFP

The most emotional moment of the Democratic National Convention was the speech by Khizr Khan, the bereaved father of Army Captain Humayun Khan. With his wife Ghazala by his side, Khan recalled his son’s character, his faith, his patriotism — and, ultimately, his courageous death in the service of the country he loved, and the fellow soldiers he was protecting.

And, yes, the Khan family is Muslim. Under Trump’s proposed policies, they would be innately suspect; had he been president when they immigrated to America, they would’ve been barred from entering, and Humayun Khan never would have served.

“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?” Khan asked Trump. “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”…

Trump’s actual response…

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” he said, on national television. “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”…

Let’s be very clear about what Trump is doing here: as ABC wrote, he’s suggesting “Khan’s wife didn’t speak because she was forbidden to as a Muslim.” This is bullshit. It is flatly, verifiably, false. But that’s almost beside the point.

Trump listened to a speech by the bereaved father of a fallen Muslim soldier and used it to slander the fallen soldier’s family. That was his response. That is his character.

…I’ll note James Fallows’s response. He quotes Joseph Welch, speaking to Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954…

“Until this moment,” he said, “I think I never really gauged your cruelty.”

If you would like to see Ghazala Khan speak, you can do so in this interview she gave to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. As Fallows writes, she breaks down sobbing while speaking of her son. It suggests she let her husband give the DNC speech for a simple reason: she remains overwhelmed by grief.

This is the woman Trump decided to slander. This is the gauge of his cruelty.

It would take a substantial amount of self-delusion for someone to truly believe Trump isn’t a bigot, a racist, a scumbag. Yes, many say they believe he isn’t. That’s them trying to justify their commitment to his bigotry – while still pretending not to espouse the same contemptible ideology.

I can’t accept the rationale. If you’re stupid enough to believe Trump’s blather about not being a bigot – then, you’re too stupid to be voting.

In any case, you’re as guilty of bigotry as The Donald.

Gullible enough to fund the next End of Days campaign?


 
The evangelical Christian broadcaster whose much-ballyhooed Judgment Day prophecy went conspicuously unfulfilled on Saturday has a simple explanation for what went wrong — he miscalculated.

Instead of the world physically coming to an end on May 21 with a great, cataclysmic earthquake, as he had predicted, Harold Camping, 89, said he now believes his forecast is playing out “spiritually,” with the actual apocalypse set to occur five months later, on October 21.

Camping, who launched a doomsday countdown in which some followers spent their life’s savings in anticipation of being swept into heaven, issued his correction during an appearance on his “Open Forum” radio show from Oakland, California…

Reflecting on scripture afterward, Camping said it “dawned” on him that a “merciful and compassionate God” would spare humanity from “hell on Earth for five months” by compressing the physical apocalypse into a shorter time frame.

But he insisted that October 21 has always been the end-point of his own End Times chronology, or at least, his latest chronology…

Asked what advice he would give to followers who gave up much or all of their worldly possessions in the belief that his Judgment Day forecast would come true, Camping drew a comparison to the nation’s recent economic slump.

“We just had a great recession. There’s lots of people who lost their jobs, lots of people who lost their houses … and somehow they all survived,” he said.

“People cope, he added. “We’re not in the business of giving any financial advice. We’re in the business of telling people maybe there is someone you can talk to, and that’s God.”

A good bartender will achieve the same effect – for the cost of a couple of beers.

Taliban begins tweeting in English – adds “followers”

The Taliban have long been known as haters of modern technology, certainly the kind that comes out of the Western world they revile.

Now, they’re on Twitter, and as of this week, even tweeting in English.

The account, @alemarahweb, links back to the Taliban’s website, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which is the name they use for themselves. Most of the tweets on the account, which was created on December 19, are written in Pashto, the native language in parts of Afghanistan.

As The Guardian, the UK publication, noted, the feed had fewer than 1,000 followers as of Thursday. The addition of English, as well as the media reports about it, have more than tripled that total to over 3,000 as of Friday morning.

The feed appears almost entirely made up of links to the Taliban website. The English-language posts appear to be wildly exaggerated claims of attacking and killing NATO and U.S. troops and Afghan government personnel.

If the tweets were to be believed, 81 “enemy” troops were killed since the feed began publishing in English on Thursday. A U.S. spy plane, and 23 vehicles, including five U.S. tanks, also were destroyed by Taliban attacks, according to the tweets.

Military and news reports do not support anything approaching those claims.

I’d say this alternates between hilarious and thoroughly dumb. I doubt if it carries odds of growing their support at roughly a hundredth of that enjoyed by the average religious nutball who leaves their sect’s newsmagazine rolled up and stuck into the top of our front gate.

$9 billion succession war clouds over funeral of Sai Baba


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Politicians, Bollywood figures and other mourners paid homage to Indian holy man Sathya Sai Baba Monday amid fears of a fight over his $9 billion trust legacy.

The spiritual leader’s body lay in an air-conditioned glass casket with gold plating in the main meditation hall of his Prasanthi Nilayam ashram to let the expected hundreds of thousands of followers pay their last respects, officials said.

Sai Baba, 84, died Sunday of multiple organ failure in a hospital near the south Indian ashram…

Giant screens placed near the ashram gates projected images of his body, evoking cheers and tears among the people waiting to get inside, The Indian Express reported.

Sai Baba was known for conjuring jewelry, food and vibhuti, or sacred ash, out of the air, which devotees saw as proof of his powers and skeptics called sleight of hand.

His gentle demeanor, Afro-style hair and embrace of many belief systems beyond his eclectic blend of Hindu and Muslim beliefs attracted an estimated 6 million active and 33 million passive followers, including former presidents, generals, film-industry luminaries and sports stars. His Sathya Sai Organization, which seeks to help people recognize the divinity within them, maintains more than 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 130 countries worldwide…

Sai Baba left no trust heir, raising fears of a custodial “succession war” over who would now manage the $9 billion.

He left enough money behind to fund a small country. Who knows where it will go, now?