Friday, February 23, 2018

A Guide To the Simpsons' Political Beliefs

For whatever reason,* I couldn't stop thinking about this last night:

I even had a dream where I detailed the political stances of every Simpsons family member and so now I'm going to subject you, dear readers, to it.
  • Marge doesn't follow politics closely, but as someone who does not like cruelty, she is most certainly not a Republican. She was weirded out by Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, and ended up voting for Hillary.
  • Homer, while sometimes a dipshit, is only an asshole sometimes and so therefore would not have supported Trump. He liked that Bernie Sanders, having gotten sucked into the anger. but he forgot to vote in either the primary or the general election because he was hungover and/or got distracted by a donut sale.
  • Bart is a future libertarian bro, mildly sociopathic, and probably the only Simpson who would have voted for Trump (in his school's mock election, because he's a kid).
  • Lisa would have shown up to the mock elections wearing a white pantsuit, ready to the pull the lever for Hillary, obvs.
  • Maggie is a baby. Babies can't vote, or flirt for that matter.
  • Patty (who is a lesbian) and her sister Selma would have voted for Hillary, obvs.  

Yes, no?

*For whatever reasons = I've been watching The Simpsons since the early 1990s, have multiple season DVD box sets, used to own and play multiple The Simpsons video games, and might even still own "The Simpsons Sing the Blues" compact disc.

See also: Former Simpsons animator Anna Maltese's commentary on this important topic.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Free, Unsolicited Advice to White Male Democratic* Politicians

Over at Shakesville today, I offer some advice to white male Democrats, as well as a reminder that it might be unwise for them to overlook our current revived feminist movement.

Here's a snippet:
Politicians, advocates, and pundits talk a lot of populism these days, but rarely do so in the context of ordinary, everyday women. To be blunt, populism is most commonly used in association with white male anger. As purported default human beings, it is often assumed that the white male life experience is the universal, with everyone else's being particular.

Yet, if we accept that women are people, we are better able to understand that today's revived feminist movement is very much also a populist movement. You might not immediately recognize it as such because an angry white man is not leading it and angry white men are not at the center of it.
 Read the whole thing!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wayback Wednesday

Can you still even believe this shit?

Not only did Hillary Clinton tell us during a televised debate that Russia was interfering in the 2016 election, but Donald Trump openly and publicly encouraged Russia to do so. And yet, for unknown mystery reasons, people still widely perceived Donald to be more trustworthy than Clinton.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Mueller Investigation Continues: Russians Indicted

The big news from last Friday is that the US Justice Department has charged 13 Russians and 3 companies in an indictment for conspiring to interfere in US electoral and political processes, including the 2016 election.

The full indictment can be read here, but here are some highlights of the charges:
  • One of the Defendants, the Internet Research Agency, registered as Russian corporation in 2013, occupied an office in St. Petersburg, Russia, and sought to conduct "information warfare against the United States of America" via false social media personas on social media platforms and the Internet.
  • The Defendants posed as U.S. persons on social media sites addressing "divisive U.S. political and social issues." These sites "reached significant numbers of Americans." For instance, one fake "Tennessee GOP" Twitter account obtained over 100,000 followers. And, I have a question about that right away: did the real Tennessee GOP not realize that someone had co-opted their Twitter presence? How does that happen?
  • Defendants and their co-conspirators used their fake personas to post content focusing on U.S. politics "and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump - we support them).'" Now, with respect to that, I think it's somewhat obvious why Russia would favor Trump: he's incompetent and they possibly have compromising information on him. But, why would they have supported Bernie Sanders? Did they support him primarily to undermine Hillary? Did they believe that, had he won, he would have been a weak/ineffective leader? How much of Bernie's oft-discussed "stunning" primary run was attributable to Russian interference? The mainstream media needs to pursue these answers, particularly if Sanders is planning a 2020 run.
  • Defendants communicated with and distributed materials to "unwitting" members of the Trump Campaign.
  • Defendants, via their social media personas, began alleging voter fraud on the part of the Democratic Party. Here I'll note that Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that the 2016 election was being "rigged" against, or "stolen from," him. Bernie Sanders, for his part, has done little to disabuse the American public of the notion that the Democratic Primary was stolen from him, even though evidence to support that claim is lacking.
  • Some of the Defendants traveled to the U.S. to collect intelligence and meet with real U.S. persons.
  • After the election, the Defendants organized both pro- and anti-Trump political rallies. The aim with respect to these rallies seems to be to sow discord.
  • Defendants and their co-conspirators opened fraudulent bank and PayPal accounts to send money into and out of the United States to promote Internet Research Agency's operations and for enrichment.
In response, Donald Trump has stated on Twitter that that his campaign did nothing wrong.

Now, unless there's been a drastic change in legal procedure that I'm not aware of wherein Cadet Bone Spurs' Twitter denials automatically halt an investigation, Mueller's work will continue, for now.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Tales In Fauxbjectivity: "Indian Marauders" Edition

My grand experiment of reading at least one biography of every US president slogs along at number five, James Monroe.

For this one, I'm reading The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call To Greatness, by Harlow Giles Unger.

Summary: Somebody save me from the uncritical fawning.

For instance, how can a thinking person take the following seriously, regarding the status of western expansion during the Revolutionary War (emphasis added):
"As primogeniture became the guiding principle of inheritance, thousands of disinherited Americans - usually younger sons of eastern farmers - stood poised to move west as soon as the American government cleared out Indian marauders and made the territory safe to inhabit and farm."
As far as I can tell, Unger uttered in complete earnestness this notion that Native Americans had somehow pre-stolen land that non-firstborn white men did not yet occupy but were nonetheless entitled to by virtue of their white male American-ness. It's so typically American: if white men create a system that disadvantages a proportion of other white men, but is still better than what they've arranged for white women and all people of color, we're supposed to sympathize with and relate first and foremost to the disadvantaged white men.

Add this one instance to the thousands of others in US history wherein white male Americans take from others what is not theirs to take. Multiply that by the thousands upon thousands of white male historians who uncritically repeat this entitlement-coddling perspective. Then, factor in those who teach this perspective and repeat it and share it and learn it and come to believe in it.

A very clear story of white male American entitlement takes shape.