Real and Imaginary Worlds

Another round of links to articles and essays about current events.

Link about this photo, from Raw Story, further down the page. My prediction: the Angel of Death will *not* strike all these people down by the end of the year.


Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, 19 Oct 2022: Opinion | Debates are revealing the parties aren’t in the same political universe

Opening para’s:

Recent midterm debates prove it: This election cycle is not about competing policy ideas or agendas. It’s about two parties operating in entirely different political worlds.

Judging by the debates, Republicans want to dispense with much of the federal government and repeal virtually every Biden achievement (including the bipartisan ones). They are determined to upend, upset and uproot workable government without offering any problem-solving ideas of their own. They have no alternative plan for health care. They have no solutions to address inflation. So what do they do after carving up the federal government?

The answer is likely to cut taxes for the rich, but they cannot say so. The result is a void where a governing agenda normally would be. Watch the debate performances by Republican Senate candidates Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Lee (Utah), Herschel Walker (Georgia), Marco Rubio (Fla.) or J.D. Vance (Ohio), and you’ll be hard-pressed to name a policy solution they offered. “Close the border” is not a policy; it is a crudely stated aspiration. “Stop woke Democrats” isn’t even a coherent thought. Stop them from doing what?


Speaking of debates:

BoingBoing, Mark Frauenfelder, 20 Oct 2022: GOP governor refuses to believe Oklahoma has a higher crime rate than New York or California

In fact, Republican states are by and large more dangerous places than Democratic states. But to Trump-lovers, facts are evil. Facts are communists. Facts are groomers. Facts hate God. Anyone who tells the truth is a traitor to the Holy Maga Empire.


Facebook, Heather Cox Richardson: October 18, 2022 (Tuesday)

In their year and a half in power, Democrats have put in place policies that are widely popular—indeed, the infrastructure projects provided for under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act are so popular that Republicans who voted against the law are nonetheless taking credit for them. Voters have long called for Medicare to be able to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies (83% in favor), now made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, which also caps certain drug expenses, including the cost of insulin. Between 80 and 90% of Americans want basic gun control laws—the Democrats just passed the first one in decades—and a majority want funding for action against climate change (65%) and relief for educational debt (55%).


The popularity of the Democrats’ agenda and the unpopularity of their own appear to have pushed the Republicans to go for broke, courting their base by demanding the utter destruction of Democrats’ policies and the reinstatement of their own.
Since the 1980s, Republican leaders have embraced the idea that cutting taxes and concentrating wealth at the top of the economy will spark economic growth, although “supply side” economics has never produced as promised. They insist the programs Biden and the Democrats back are “socialism,” and their base agrees. Their base also hates abortion rights.

To sidestep the gulf between their base and the majority of voters, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declined to announce any sort of an agenda before the midterm elections, telling donors that party leaders would just attack the Democrats.

Will the Republicans learn anything from the fact that Liz Truss tried to implement the same kind of tax cuts that Republicans always drool over, and got thoroughly trounced? No. Again, this is because evidence doesn’t matter. Only the prejudices of the base do. Example:

Will the puncturing of these narratives matter? At some level, no; they are about mythmaking and social identity. Today, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) celebrated her visit to the Wilder Monument at the Chickamauga (she misspelled it) battlefield in Georgia. She identified the monument as honoring Confederate soldiers and boasted that she “will always defend our nation’s history.” But, in fact, the Wilder Brigade, also known as the Lightning Brigade, was not Confederate; it was from the United States.

The point, though, was likely not accuracy: it was to “own” the “Libs” by celebrating the Confederacy.

A couple of my Facebook friends pointed this out, gleefully, as well.


On point: Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, 20 Oct 2022: Opinion | Republicans’ inflation plan: Tax cuts that’d make Liz Truss blush


More briefly:

Slate, Jordan Weissmann, 21 Oct 2022: This Week in Gas Prices, the Only Thing That Matters in American Politics, Apparently

A perfect example of short-term thinking (prognostic myopia) that, according to  Justin Gregg, may doom our species.


Washington Post, Alexandra Petri, 21 Oct 2022: Opinion | Vote GOP! We’ll fix the economy by making the rest of life worse, too!

Voters! We are thrilled to see that so many of you are leaning R this fall! And we hear it’s because of … the economy? Wild!

To our knowledge, we haven’t been saying anything about the economy or offering any kind of exciting plan to fix it! As far as I can see, we’ve just been calling Joe Biden a socialist, fear-mongering about the existence of trans people and suggesting that people who want us to denounce antisemitism are Like “1984,” But Worse!


Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 21 Oct 2022: Please, media, stop pitting abortion against inflation — Republicans suck on both issues, subtitled “Republicans have no ideas on how to fix the economy — and what they are planning will only make things worse”

(The Left criticizes the media too, for being too soft on the Right.)


A couple about the wackos:

Salon, Nathaniel Manderson, 21 Oct 2022: Theological pandemic: Why evangelicals embraced Jan. 6 and the Big Lie, subtitled “As an ordained minister and Bible-believing Christian, I know Trump’s people believed they were fighting for God”

I take this as another strike against religion.


Raw Story: Watch: Speaker at rally featuring Eric Trump delivers wild rant about ‘angel of death’ killing Democrats and Supreme Court’s chief justice

During an event for the right-wing “ReAwaken America Tour” in Manheim, Pennsylvania, a speaker warned the audience that Bible prophecy about the end of the world is right around the corner.

Joe.My.God summarizes this as Eric Trump Attends QAnon Rally Where Speaker Vows The “Angel Of Death” Will Murder Everyone On Screen, and shows the screen.

Applying the Jack Smith Rule, I make a counter-prediction: no it won’t.

I can’t bring myself to watch the video. These people are nuts. I would ignore them, except that they are dangerous, and have many followers.


Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 20 Oct 2022: Trumpists want you to be cynical — it’s how they’ll destroy democracy, subtitled “Polling data shows the reason Americans won’t fight for democracy is they doubt it can be saved”

Joe.My.God, 20 Oct 2022: “Prophetess” Kat Kerr: God Told Me His “Courtroom At Heaven” Has Decreed That Trump Is Still The President

BoingBoing, Carla Sinclair, 20 Oct 2022: Marjorie Taylor Greene warns young adults about the pitfalls of college that ruined her (video)

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