Let Them Eat Cake

It’s though out there being a Trump supporter. Trump supporters have to worry about harassment or discrimination when entering spaces that may be bipartisan or—gasp—liberal. Apparently, enough Trump supporters are seeking safe spaces that a new app, 63red Safe, has launched. The goal? To help pro-Trump conservatives find these safe spaces, including restaurants and other businesses, where they won’t have to worry about being maligned for supporting Donald Trump.

Sigh.

The app, which you can find in the Apple store, is basically Yelp but for people who wear MAGA hats while eating their chicken wings.

Scott Wallace, the creator of the app, appeared on Fox & Friends (where else?) last week to discuss his intentions with the app. “We wanted to make sure that people could let others know what restaurants may have a political bent,” he said. “We’re not looking to try and find restaurants that are ‘conservative’ or ‘pro-Trump.’”

Wallace alleges that Trump supporters are likely to be targeted by “socialist goon squads.” “I think Antifa was nothing compared between now and what’s coming in 2020,” he explained. “And I’m deeply concerned.”

“We want businesses to understand that there’s no money in politics,” Wallace continued while talking about his app that rates businesses based on their politics. “We want to make sure everyone’s safe out there.”

Well, so much for the Conservative “alpha male.”

Conservatives are notorious for mocking “safe spaces,” making this ironic to begin with. Unfortunately, I’m willing to bet that “everyone” doesn’t actually apply to everyone. Since Trump’s presidency started, rates of hate crimes based on sexual orientation, race, and religion have all gone up. A couple of people who work for Lord Dampnut had their dinner ruined.

Imagine the cognitive dissonance it takes to support a politician who locks children seeking asylum in prison camps a like they were a demigod, only to want a safe space to wear a MAGA hat without having so deal with public scrutiny.

While trans people are legitimately worried about being able to safely use public bathrooms, and same-sex couples are in fear of being attacked, and people of color fear having the cops called on them for simply existing, Trump supporters are worried about “socialist goon squads.”

If this were a comedy routine, it would feel too on-the-nose.

Here Comes Bubba

Over the weekend, Media Matters released its first report garnered from listening to Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s multi-year habit of spending an hour a week on the shock-jock radio show “Bubba the Love Sponge.” It made clear how much Carlson enjoyed wallowing in chauvinism as well as his bizarre defensiveness about forced child marriage.

Maybe someone should look into that?

After a 24-hour news cycle, complete with op-ed reactions and a non-apology from Carlson, Media Matters came in for round two, the blatant racism edition.

Researcher Madeline Peltz, who deserves a medal for sitting through so much of the Florida-based “Bubba” radio show, chronicled in this second piece how Carlson called Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” and said that Afghanistan will never be “a civilized country because the people aren’t civilized.” Echoing the rhetoric commonly found on white nationalist and neo-Nazi sites, Carlson argued that white men deserve the credit for “creating civilization.”

Actually, the Mesopotamians “invented” civilization (writing, cities, and legal codes anyway). Where was that again? Oh right, modern day Iraq.

Carlson also griped that radio diversity initiatives were “worse than Jim Crow” and said Michelle Obama “got ghetto and started snapping her neck.”

There’s lots more, but you get the idea.

Carlson’s Fox News show has been bleeding advertisers thanks to previous on-air statements about how immigrants make the country “poorer and dirtier.” In response to the Media Matters exposé, activists have renewed their pressure campaign on advertisers, demanding that they stop supporting Carlson’s show.

While the crassness of the language in the “Bubba” clips might be shocking, the ideology on display isn’t any different than what Carlson has peddled on his Fox News show since he took over the prime evening slot from Bill O’Reilly. He just does it more subtly now that he has a national audience and has to pretend to be legitimate.

For at least the last couple of years, Carlson has been taking ideas from fringe right-wing forums and white nationalist groups, cleaning them up with euphemistic language, and presenting them as mainstream conservative commentary.

That’s why Republicans think that they need Carlson. The big story of Donald Trump’s regime has been Republicans deciding, or perhaps realizing, that racist and sexist grievances are their best bet for staying competitive in electoral politics. That and healthy doses of gerrymandering and voter suppression.

They can’t run on their actual policies of massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, paid for by slashing programs like Medicare and Social Security, if paid for at all. Most people are wise to that scam now. The decline of religious fundamentalism has also made it harder for Republicans to run on culture-war issues as well.

All Republicans politicians feel they have left is to inflame white people’s fears of increasing diversity and men’s resentment of the #MeToo movement and women’s growing independence.

Carlson has a knack for making hateful ideologies and irrational attitudes sound more acceptable than they are. He employs lofty-sounding terms like “Western civilization” when what he really means is white nationalism. In doing so, he aids Republicans in their quest to convince large enough numbers of white people to vote their resentments instead of their economic self-interest.

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch is a proponent of the “never back down” strategy Carlson is employing. This approach makes sense for the audience Fox News is trying to cultivate, which is mainly white people, especially older white men who view women and people of color as inferior and are sick of being made to feel bad about it. It also plays to the enduring desire to “own the libs.”

That’s what the whole narrative surrounding “political correctness” is all about: Teaching conservatives that bigotry is a form of courage, and that politics is about irrationally lashing out at people who have less than they do instead of realizing that it’s the oligarchs who are screwing all of us.

As long he can keep herding people to the polls to vote for Republicans, and against their own self-interests, Carlson will have a home at Fox News where he can make his stupid, scrunched-up Tucker Carlson face.

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*visible confusion*

Don’t Eat Me Bro!

It is no secret that the right is obsessed with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and has dedicated an excessive amount of time and energy criticizing the freshman lawmaker in every way possible. But a Fox News contributor took that obsession to strange new heights Saturday, suggesting in an unhinged rant that the Green New Deal could lead to cannibalism.

Yes, really.

“AOC has completely lost her marbles. I think she’s living in bananaland,” National Review columnist Katherine Timpf said. “Earlier this week she called herself ‘the boss’ for coming up with the Green New Deal. How are you ‘the boss’ for coming up with a plan that doesn’t work? Like, are you sure that the Green New Deal’s not, like, what you’re putting in your pipe and smoking every day?”

Oooooh, sick burn!

Timpf (I can’t type that without laughing, I’m sorry) said she could come up with lots of plans that don’t work (probably the truest thing that she said): “How about we fly around on unicorns instead of airplanes? How about instead of gasoline we use fairy dust we get from Tinkerbell?”

She said all of this in jest (I think), but are her fantastical “plans” really any more preposterous than the Fox News/Republican “plan” of: “We don’t have to worry about Climate Change because Republican Jesus will take care of us?”

She then wonders whether AOC “wants us to do away with all modern technology” before going on to suggest that the deal would lead to turning back to the mid-1800s and “reliv[ing] the Donner Party.”

“I don’t want to eat people, Greg, and I don’t want people to eat me,” Timpf said. “AOC, do you want people to eat you?” She said that right after suggesting that the Green New Deal would also force her to “only eat lettuce and carrots like some kind of little fucking bunny.”

Again, they can’t even bother to keep their attacks consistent. Is it a wonder that none of them manage to resonate with anyone who doesn’t already hate AOC?

Timpf’s rant was guided by a piece she wrote earlier in the week in which she said the freshman lawmaker was “ridiculous” while characterizing the plan as pointless because it has no chance of working. “Would the world be a better place if the United States eliminated all carbon emissions? Of course it would—just like it would be better if we all got free Lamborghinis,” Timpf wrote. “The truth, however, is that being a notable leader requires a lot more than just fantasizing about pie-in-the-sky proposals that have no real future.”

Polls have shown that up to 80% of Americans have a favorable view of the Green New Deal. So it seems that pie is actually right there on the table, we just have to go get it.

AOC took to Twitter Saturday to defend herself from similar accusations that she’s a hypocrite for using the comforts of modern day life. “I also fly [planes] & use A/C. Living in the world as it is isn’t an argument against working towards a better future. The Green New Deal is about putting a LOT of people to work in developing new technologies, building new infrastructure, and getting us to 100% renewable energy.”

AOC’s Peasant Uprising

Uh oh, it looks like New York Representative Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez is being naughty again. Last week, AOC announced that she was raising the minimum salary of her staff members to $52,000/year. This, for some reason, inspired Fox News to suddenly care very deeply about what Congressional staffers are paid.

Fox & Friends weekend co-host Pete Hegseth slammed the move, calling it “socialism and communism on display.” demonstrating that he doesn’t know what either of those words mean.

Lawmakers each have a budget for operating and staffing their respective offices and can set salaries accordingly. “It’s likely one of the highest entry-level salaries on the Hill,” AOC wrote on Twitter on Friday. “We pinch pennies elsewhere, but it’s worth every dime to pay a living wage.”

Hegseth wasn’t having any of that!

“Your entry level intern is making 52 grand, while your chief of staff ― who has a very important role in a congressional office now is capped at 80, as opposed to the actual market rate on Capitol Hill which is closer to $150,000. So everyones’s between 52 and 80.”

Which isn’t true of course, interns get an hourly wage of $15/hour, not a salary. And if AOC’s Chief of Staff agrees to a salary of $80,000/year, that’s between them.

Hegseth also took Ocasio-Cortez to task over her congressional salary. Which she doesn’t set.

“She should probably redistribute some of that,” he said. “Will you share some of that money, Miss Congresswoman, with the rest of your staff who is not making as much as you?”

OK, so now he has a problem with her getting too much? Man, it’s almost like she’s wrong no matter what she does…

The Fox & Friends team also seemed to have a problem with the fact that Ocasio-Cortez’s office, like all offices of lawmakers, was funded by the government. You know, because they work for the government.

“It’s not like she earned the money,” co-host Griff Jenkins said. “She’s just redistributing it.”

This of course is all coming from a guys who get 6-figure salaries (at least!) to sit on a couch and read a teleprompter on the weekends.

Tax Ben Stein’s Money

Ben Stein is in the news again, so you know that someone is getting compared to the Nazis in a dreary, monotone voice.

Wow.

On Tuesday, Stein made an appearance on Fox Business to claim that the policies that Rep. Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez is proposing, like the “Green New Deal” and a marginal tax rate of 60-70% on income over $10 million, would “invariably lead to bad things” like genocide.

Let’s see if he connects those dots:

“We have a society in which there are an awful lot of people who have no idea that Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung all came to power promising the same kinds of things that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is promising. And it led to mass murder, it led to dictatorship, it led to genocide. These promises are old promises and they invariably lead to bad things.”

“It’s not about ordering people around, putting them concentration camps. What do you do if a person is a richer or poorer person? What do you do? Do you take him away? Do you shoot him? Well that’s what the communists tried, it didn’t work out very well for them.”

So Ben Stein is afraid that AOC is going to take him away and shoot him? Or that paying a higher marginal tax rate is equivalent to being shot? Was the government shooting rich people during the Eisenhower Administration when the top marginal tax rate was in the 90s? Does he think that a freshman Congresswoman wields as much political power as Stalin, Hitler, or Mao did?

Stein claims the current system “works extremely well” and “allows people to make something of themselves instead of oppressing other people” as they try to earn money.

He is right in that the current system “works extremely well” if you’re already rich and you want to extract wealth from those lower on the economic scale than you are, but not so much for people who have to start at the bottom. Also, paying taxes isn’t oppression, and raising taxes on the rich isn’t the equivalent of ethnic cleansing.

Anyone who’s followed Stein’s career knows that comparing people he disagrees with to the Nazis is kind of his go-to. His intelligent design “documentary” Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is full to bursting with comparing people who don’t think that pseudo-science should be treated as if it were actual science to Hitler and the Nazis.

So I guess under Godwin’ Law, AOC wins?