The three types of Republicans

Republicans these days fall into three categories:


1. Rich people who only care about their taxes being low and pretty much nothing else.

2. Conservatives who may hate group #3 below but still see the GOP as better than Democrats who want to do things like give people health care and free college. These people are spooked by the word “socialism” even though most of them have no idea what it really means. They’re 99.99% white and are worried about losing their power and privilege.

3. Absolute loonies who supported Trump and believe in QAnon and every ridiculous conspiracy theory out there. I’m including the religious fundamentalists in this group, who sincerely believe that anyone who doesn’t agree with their views are agents of the Devil and must be fought.

All laws are tyranny!

Refuse to bow to tyranny!

The government wants to force us to get vaccinated and wear masks! It’s the very definition of tyranny!

Even though that was the case when George Washington ordered people to get vaccinated during a pandemic in his time, and even though masks were required during the 1918 Flu Epidemic, and even though children have always been required by law to be vaccinated for every other major disease, this time it’s really tyranny! Because we said so, that’s why!

No more laws telling us what we have to do! Freedom!!!!

No more laws telling us we can’t smoke in no smoking zones! Screw everyone else’s health! They should look out for themselves and not restrict my freedom — screw their freedom to be free from disease.

And traffic lights? Who is the government to tell me I can’t drive through the intersection whenever I want? Other people need to care for themselves and look out for me — I have no responsibilities to anyone else!

And why can’t I hire children to work in my factory if they want to? For that matter, why are there any laws at all? If I want to murder someone, it’s their responsibility to look out for me!

Tyranny, I tells ya!

There goes the Robert E. Lee

I grew up in Richmond and went to college at VCU in the heart of the city. At one point, we had an apartment near the Virginia Museum and I’d ride my bike down Monument Avenue to go to class each day. (Suddenly I’m remembering having to ride home in a sudden downpour, hoping the books in my backpack didn’t get too wet.)

Anyway, even then, my friends and I knew those statues to traitors should not be there. We called Monument Avenue “the Avenue of Losers” (and I even worked that into my novel BLOODSUCKERS: A VAMPIRE RUNS FOR PRESIDENT which begins in Richmond).

So I’m glad to see that they’re finally removing the statues to the traitors, which were only erected by confederate sympathizers and racists during the Jim Crow days. You know — losers.

You want to idolize an evil man who owned other people and was willing to kill fellow Americans for the right to continue to do so? Fine, put the statue on your own property. This property — this avenue — belongs to us. We are refusing to use our money to support your evil on our property.

We should not be spending taxpayer money honoring people who rebelled and declared treason against that same government that now pays for the statues.

“It’s not honoring, it’s history” claim people who literally think that is a good argument. I don’t think it’s worth wasting my time explaining to these morons that we don’t honor bad history, and we don’t need statues to learn about history. (Somehow, we’ve managed to learn about World War II without a single statue of Hitler anywhere.)

So yeah, good riddance. Proud of my old hometown.

Texas Democrats and their Lack of Options

Republicans in Texas (like in many other states) are doing everything they can to make the most basic right in a democracy harder, because Republicans know that the only way they can win is by cheating.

The Democrats in Texas have left the state to prevent the Republicans from having a quorum to enact these laws.

Some people are saying this is unfair and that the Democrats should “do the job they were elected to do.”

Well, they are. They’re protecting the rights of voters, just like they’re supposed to do.

The GOP has fixed the game so that the only way they can do their job is by protesting. You know, the thing the Founding Fathers did a lot of. The thing that is protected by our very first Amendment. That thing.

“But the laws have a process that should be followed! They’re supposed to vote!” This argument has been used for generations to justify discrimination and bad laws. “Well, I’m sorry you don’t like the fact that blacks can’t vote, but the laws preventing them from voting were passed according to our rules.” Well, sure. But if the rules allow the majority to trample on the rights of the minority, what other option does the minority have?

The Texas Democrats are stuck using this as a means because the rules have been written by those in power to prevent any other means (in the same way the Filibuster is preventing the majority from accomplishing their goals in the US Senate).

Texas is, believe it or not, a purple state. Beto O’Rourke came this close to defeating Ted Cruz. Trump won it by only 1.3%. Republicans have gerrymandered the state in such a way that they control far more than 1.3% of the state house. They’ve used legal means to disenfranchise many voters, and now they’re trying it again.

Here’s a map. Notice how all the cities (which are heavily Democratic) have been divided in such a way that it is practically impossible for Democrats to win. Instead of having one big district in a city, it’s split so that the Democratic part of the city is overshadowed by the Republican rural areas adjacent to it. So. If we had a fair playing field, maybe one could argue that refusing to play is unfair. But the game is rigged, and the only way to fight it is to refuse to play.

Conservativism is, at its root, all about being selfish

Seriously, that’s what it’s all about. So much of conservative thought (and especially libertarian policy) is about being selfish.

I got mine, so who cares about you?

Programs and policies that benefit them are perfectly acceptable but if it helps anyone else, it’s a waste of government time and money.  Oh sure, they code their selfishness with the word “liberty” but when they talk about liberty they mean they want to do whatever they want and screw anyone else who may be hurt in the process.  “I should have the liberty to discriminate and take away everyone else’s liberty” is what a lot of their argument boils down to.

But let’s be honest here — it’s not just about them personally but their group.  “Our religion needs to have its religious laws forced upon everyone else, but your religion should be banned. Our immigrant forefathers are the core of this country but you immigrants are not welcome. Tax breaks for things we do are reasonable government expenditures but tax breaks for what you do are just plain theft from me.”

The history of progress in America has largely been the fight by liberals against conservatives who selfishly did not want to share what they had: their power, their wealth, their freedoms.

What is the common thread of all of these movements in America?:

  • Abolishing slavery
  • Giving women the right to vote
  • Abolishing child labor
  • Establishing a minimum wage
  • Worker’s rights
  • Civil rights
  • Environmental protection
  • Gay rights

Yes, that’s correct. Liberals supported all of this, and conservatives opposed them, because they didn’t benefit them and in fact, removed many of them from having the power they once held.

And we’re seeing that now. It’s not a coincidence that the conservatives are the ones now protesting quarantines and refusing to protect society in general. You can discuss all sorts of political reasons why that is, but it really boils down to selfishness.

(Note: This is very much a simplification of conservative thought and does not necessarily apply to all government policies such as foreign affairs and such. But it’s useful to remember when you read something about a conservative’s position. Quite often, you can boil it down to selfishness for themselves and people like them.)

EDIT:  I am currently deleting all the replies from people who clearly did not read this article but say “Oh yeah?  Well, a Republican abolished slavery” — when clearly the post talks about liberals and conservatives and not parties in the slightest.  Read some history, pay attention, and maybe read the comments below before making yourself look stupid in public.

Let’s give the Corona Virus the Chinese Food Treatment

by Guest Blogger Steve Vaughan

Our favorite Chinese restaurant is a five-minute drive from our house. For my money–which they get a lot of–it’s the best in town.

Whenever we order from–whether it’s dinner for eight adults or a snack for Alex and me–they give us the same delivery time, “45 minute.” And the food is always here in 30 minutes, tops. And the order is always correct and the food is always great. I’m pretty sure they know the delivery isn’t going to take 45 minutes, but they build in time to deal with complications. If the food gets here in 45 minutes, we’re satisfied.

That’s a smart way to run a business. It’s a smart way to run public policy too.

Unfortunately for us, our favorite restaurant is “closed until further notice.” I’m not sure why. It has a very tiny dining room. I’d think delivery and takeout makes up a big part of their business. I hope no one is ill.

So, when Alex and I wanted Chinese for dinner a couple of weeks ago, we had to try a new place. They were even closer to our house. With a decent size catapult they could literally have thrown the food to our porch.

They promised the food in 30 minutes and got it there in 20, but part of the order was wrong and the rest was awful. To be fair the new place confounded my Egg Roll Test for Chinese restaurants. The egg rolls were good and Alex said his hot and sour soup was delicious. (Yes, my 12-year-old eats hotter food than I do. Don’t judge.)

But when we turned to our entrees the corner cutting was obvious. Alex had his usual, chicken fried rice and I felt like something simple and had shrimp fried rice.
Okay, first, fried rice is supposed to be fried. This was white rice with a few peas and carrots thrown in.

Second, the protein is supposed to be cooked in the rice, at least briefly. Here it had been tossed on top of the previously prepared rice. My entree had tiny pink baby shrimp of the kind I would expect to find garnishing a salad. They tasted okay, but were wrong for the dish.

About 30 seconds after he started his rice, Alex held out a piece of chicken on a fork and said, “Try this.” He was doing that thing where you can’t believe how bad something tastes until you get a second opinion. Although we teach Alex never to spit out food, I spit it into the kitchen trash can. I don’t know what they did to that chicken but they made it foul, not fowl.

And so this restaurant will never get another dollar from us, showing that cutting corners is a bad way to run a business. Or to create public policy. Particularly public health policy.
If you’re following along this far, you probably know where I’m going with this.

The majority of the nation’s governors–Democrats and Republicans alike–and all of our leading healthcare experts are running a good restaurant. They know, that in the biggest public health emergency in 100 years, there are potentially a lot of “unknown unknowns“ out there. So they are setting goals for ending social distancing that are data-driven, which take into account how much we have flattened the curve and the danger of new outbreaks if restrictions are relaxed too soon.

Unfortunately, they are competing with an unlicensed food truck parked on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The administration’s response to this crisis has been driven by everything but the data. By Trump’s arrogance and insecurity. By partisanship. By wishful thinking. And by an almost instinctive anti-intellectualism from the president and his supporters.

Some are saying they are willing to die to restart the economy. You can count me out of storming that hill.

Others, “Corona Virus Resisters,” are flouting state regulations and gathering in large groups. As long as they keep to themselves, great. They will shortly prove Darwin (who they probably don’t believe in) right. However, if they endanger other people, they should be arrested like anyone else who is a threat to public safety.

What the emergence of these groups show is that in the Age of Trump, stupidity is no longer a character trait–it’s an ideology.

These people are fools. Let us not suffer fools gladly.

And let us demand that US public health policy is run at least as well as a good Chinese restaurant.

Steve Vaughan is a reporter and writer residing in Richmond, Virginia. He holds a degree in Political Science from VCU and a masters in Wise Ass from the School of Life.

The problem with those who refuse to assimilate

The main problem in America today are those who refuse to assimilate into society — who insist on keeping their own culture and not becoming part of what makes America great.

These people just don’t understand that America has a specific culture, and when you’re here, you should accept that.

These white straight Christians refuse to acknowledge that we represent the best the world has to offer. That our diversity is our strength, and we were built by immigrants, including some who did not come here voluntarily.  They go on national television and complain that America isn’t great any more, which is their way of saying “white male straight Christians don’t get to do whatever we want any more.” They don’t understand the greatness that is America — that we welcome everyone and everyone can become an American.  And then their words encourage crazy people to go out on killing rampages.

Until these people learn to assimilate into American society, we’ll never achieve the American dream.

 

Why conservatives call Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez “stupid”

It’s a popular meme on the right — calling AOC “stupid” and making fun of her for that. Seriously, do a search and you’ll find a bunch.

Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez won a science fair in high school of the kind that usually gets won by people who go on to win Nobel prizes. The competition is the largest pre-college scientific research event in the world.

Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortez-ISEF-2007-science-fair

Then she went to Boston University where she graduated cum laude with degrees in economics and international relations.

So how can they call her “stupid”?

Well, first, let’s remember that facts are meaningless to these people. These are the same people who deny evolution, claim climate change isn’t real, argue that trickle-down economics works, and think Trump is completely innocent. They deny reality all the time when it contradicts their already-held world view.

But mostly, they say that about anyone who believes in democratic socialism. They point to Venezuela (ignoring the fact that Venezuela’s problems are not because of socialism but because of corruption and a near-dictatorship) while they ignore basically every other advanced civilized democratic country in the world that has socialism (most of Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, etc.).

In other words, they are seriously arguing that a person who graduated with honors in economics and international relations — the two things that would undoubtedly qualify anyone as an expert in democratic socialism — is “stupid.”

Which is about as stupid as they can be.

Taking the country back from the bullies

“When they go low, we go high,” Michelle Obama said.

Well, that didn’t work.

Liberals and progressives are now mad and are refusing to “take the high road” and look the other way. We’re fighting back.  And it’s about time.

Bullies will continue to bully you unless you fight back. You have to be willing to be just as aggressive as they are.

captain america

We’re not used to thinking like that. We liberals tend to want to work with others, and try to understand others. It’s due to the empathy we have that most conservatives are missing.

And that’s how conservatives have won over the years — by pushing their way in, by bullying, by demeaning anyone they disagree with, and by cheating (through gerrymandering, blocking legislation and appointments, and — let’s face it — by breaking the law). I am not advocating that we do these things at all. I am saying we have to stop allowing them to get away with it.

And we’re moving in that direction. We’re fighting back. We’re punching nazis. We’re staging counter protests. Recently, the alt-right’s rally in Washington DC turned out to have only about two dozen participants, facing off against hundreds of counter-protesters. The organizers of the march said some of their members did not attend because they didn’t want the confrontation, because, like all bullies, they can dish it out but they can’t take it.

Being nice only allows those who are not nice to take advantage of us. It’s how con men operate and it’s how the bad guys win. Wars are not won by “going high when they go low.”

Get angry. Fight back.

Win.

 

We are the moderates

Sean Hannity recently screamed about the dreaded socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s radical left-wing platform, posting it verbatim on Fox News in order to scare his viewers (average age: 68).

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All those policy positions that Hannity pointed out as being outrageous socialist left-wing extremism? Yeah, they’re pretty much all supported by the majority of Americans.

For instance:

Medicare for All has the support of 63 percent of registered voters.

Tuition-free public college has 63 percent support.

A majority of Americans support Obamacare.  (This is especially true if you call it “the Affordable Care Act.”)

A majority thinks gay marriage,  abortion and marijuana should be legal.

A majority supports more gun control.

A majority wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and do not believe that “corporations are people.”

A majority want to raise the minimum wage and do something about campaign finance reform.   (And a majority support amending the Constitution to overturn the Citizen’s United case).

And let’s not forget that in 6 of the last 7 Presidential elections, the Democrat received more votes than the Republican.

We’re the moderates. We’re mainstream.  We’re the majority.

The right has done such a good job of demonizing liberalism and moving the window to the right that we seem to be extremists only by comparison to their far-right agenda. In most of the rest of the civilized world, our positions are even supported by the “conservatives” in those countries, because they’re mainstream views.

We need to stop acting like we’re asking for outrageous things.