Friday, July 14, 2017

The Trump Gift To Us All

I am going to make a statement that may cause liberal heads to explode. You have been warned.

To begin with, the day got off to kind of a bad start in that I woke up with a slight headache. It got worse when I logged into Facebook and the first thing I saw was a video clip of Donny and Marie absolutely disemboweling Steely Dan's "Reelin' In The Years," complete with Ice Angels. The capstone of this first ten minutes of my day was a conservative friend of mine sharing an article from the Daily Caller that stated that the Russia controversy was actually the fault of Hillary and the DNC, as was (it was implied) the assassination of President Lincoln, the meteor that killed the dinosaurs, the AMC Pacer, and Donny and Marie singing "Reelin' In The Years."1

After I gathered up my brain cells, which the Donny and Marie video had caused to clatter to the floor with much the same sound as a bucket of gravel being poured down a metal playground slide, I started thinking about how the traffic-cone colored nightmare in the White House causes a very similar reaction on a regular basis, which led me down the path of thinking about the multitude of instances of dumbassery we have all enjoyed at his teensy widdle hands.

In the days prior to trump (known as PS, or "pre-stupid"), Republicans couched their proposals in the language of spin (for example, if they were pushing something called the "Gun Safe Schools Act," you could bet your last nickel that this was a bill to require all elementary school faculty and staff to carry, at a minimum, a Glock 9mm at all times, because Murrika, dammit). They publicly presented themselves as the party of small gummint, fiscal responsibility and social conservatism, and maintained that they were merely representing their constituents that were being persecuted by all them nasty ol' Democrats. Nothing really that unexpected, actually, and it sorta followed the accepted rules of Washington: always mean what you say but never say what you mean; always refer to your opposition as "my friend" even if you know damned well that you would toss them under a riding mower at the first opportunity; publicly adopt a bipartisan stance while privately wishing for the opposing party to crash into the surface of the sun. You know, the usual.

Well, about six months ago all that was thrown out the window, and the GOP adopted a platform we here at The Blowhard Pundit like to call "The poor never donate to our campaigns, so the hell with them" and proceeded to go about the business of implementing their new agenda:
  • Giving tax cuts to the rich.
  • Making sure the rich get more tax cuts.
  • Preventing tax cuts from getting to the poor, the reasoning being that it puts an undue burden on the rich.
  • Poking Ben Carson with an elbow every few minutes to make sure he's still awake.
  • Throwing the occasional homeless person found in Lafayette Park into KellyAnne Conway's lair and watching her unhinge her jaw to swallow him whole.
  • Keeping Steve Bannon off-camera as much as possible because ... well, ick.
  • Ensuring that the rich pay less in taxes.
They also regularly appear in front of cameras to decry the disaster that is Obamacare, apparently based on the belief that if they say it often enough it will actually come true.

It was while pondering all this that I was struck with a sudden thought: maybe trump is actually good for the country in a way2.

Hear me out on this.

In the PS era, we could only assume that the GOP was populated entirely with callous, lying, greedy, opportunistic hacks. Now, thanks to trump and his army of diseased brainstems and bleating sycophants, we know this. It is on display on a daily -- hourly -- basis. After all, why bother debating a health care bill when you can simply put a dozen Republicans in a room to put something together and push it to a vote before anyone really knows what the hell is going on, then have Sarah Huckabee frown disapprovingly at reporters?

The GOP has gone from the party of hidden hackery and opportunism to the party of blatant hackery and opportunism. They have lost sight of the idea of governing and are focused exclusively on winning. They are no longer concerned with the American people, or even Republican voters ... their only concerns are winning elections and getting more campaign money from big donors. The fact that they are unable to do so based on their agenda, and that they have to resort to dirty tricks such as voter suppression and gerrymandering (you can read about this here, here, and here), is irrelevant. As long as they keep getting re-elected and the campaign moolah keeps rolling in.

Which is why, in an odd way, trump has been good for us. By emboldening the Republicans to expose their true nature as greedy, opportunistic, wannabe oligarchs, he has actually made it easier for progressives to counter the Right Wing Shriek Factory. Gone are the days when Fox News could credibly claim to be an outlet for actual journalism instead of an unending stream of nontroversies and agitprop. Reasoned political discourse has been chucked into the recycling bin and replaced with endless, easily refuted accusations of liberal skullduggery. The words "Republican lawmaker" have become synonymous with "ridiculous buffoon," thanks to things like Rep. Steve King (R-IA 4) saying we could pay for the border wall by taking money from Planned Parenthood and food stamps.

The GOP spent much of the first decade of the 21st century building up majorities in state legislatures across the country, all with an eye toward the 2010 redistricting. They used this power to draw districts in such a way that, in many cases, GOP lawmakers don't even have to run campaigns; they can simply collect the campaign cash and keep the seat warm. Thanks to this new openness, we liberals have an excellent chance in 2018 in making these measures irrelevant and installing a Congress that will actually be responsive -- and responsible -- to the majority of Americans. To do this we have to be unflinching in our desire to call out the GOP for being the selfish liars they are, diligent in keeping up the pressure on lawmakers that aren't up for re-election in 2018, and adamant in our quest to replace the ones who are.

I gotta lie down.

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1Of course, this came from the Daily Caller, which is about as useful and reliable as a news source as a leaf blower is for making chicken cordon bleu. Just sayin'.

2That deafening crash you just heard was the sound of liberal jaws dropping to the floor.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Is This The Summer Of 1973?


It certainly has been a busy week in Trumpistan, hasn't it? Each day there are new revelations about Donald Trump Jr. and his meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. It was a meeting about the Magnitsky Act and the fallout from that. No, wait a second, it was a meeting about damaging information on Hillary Clinton, but he didn't know that until it started. No, wait ... he was told beforehand that there would be anti-Clinton info, and "the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton." Hang on a sec, now I've got it ...

This story gets more and more convoluted, and the facts get more and more damning, with each passing day. What started out as a story easily dismissed by Republicans as sour grapes on the part of Democrats has turned into a scandal that is potentially bigger than Watergate -- bigger because it involves a hostile foreign power mucking around in our electoral system.

What is disturbing about all this is not so much the facts of the case -- yes, they are troubling, but I have faith that we will get to the truth sooner or later -- but the sheer numbers of people who are willing to look the other way simply because their guy won.

Think about what the reaction would have been if Hillary had won and there were hints of Russian involvement. Articles of impeachment would have been drawn up before she got to the stage for her victory speech. Republicans of all stripes would be howling at the moon, demanding that she be imprisoned for treason. There would be motions in Congress to invalidate the election.

In short, it would have been a shitstorm that made Superstorm Sandy look like a leaky faucet in a Newark gas station rest room.

Every time I mention Russian meddling in a setting that includes Republicans, I get one of the following responses:
  • It didn't happen.
  • Okay, it may have happened, but he didn't know anything about it.
  • What about the Clinton Foundation? Seth Rich? Pizzagate? Uranium? BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI ...
  • So you say that four intelligence agencies, the Director of National Intelligence, every reputable media outlet, and three independent cyber security firms have all said that it happened, and the DNI even released a report stating this. But where's the proof? Huh? Huh? C'mon, I'm waiting ...
  • Democrats are ridiculous. They haven't found anything yet, which means it's not there, so they should stop looking. (But what about the approximately 17,000 investigations into Benghazi that didn't find anything?) That's different ...
I am all for letting the guy off the hook if it can be shown that there isn't anything there. I said the same thing about Reagan in 1986 with the Iran-Contra hearings (it turned out he was able to run out the clock on that one, though), I said the same about Bill Clinton in 1998 when he was impeached, and I probably would have said the same about Nixon if it wasn't for the fact that I was seven years old and my main concern was getting everybody in my neighborhood to pool their Hot Wheels sets together to build the most awesome track ever down the middle of the big hill on Fairhaven Avenue1.

My problem is with the trump apologists -- some of whom are in Congress -- who are willing to look the other way when an enemy government helps their guy win.

Here's the thing. If it turns out that this happened, if we can find beyond a reasonable doubt that not only did Moscow monkey with the election but also that the trump campaign took part in these acts, then that constitutes treason. At that point an argument could be made that anyone associated with the campaign, from trump on down to the intern who saw the emails during a morning coffee run and didn't say anything about them, could be charged with treason. This means not only trump but also Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne CONway, Sean Spicey, Ivanka Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell (who I actually think masterminded the whole thing), Kevin McCarthy, Jeff Sessions ... I'm not going to post the exhaustive list here because I've got better things to do with my time such as watching the pizza go round and round inside the microwave.

Of course, even if it found to be true nothing is going to happen. For some reason that escapes me (and for that matter any other rational being, some irrational beings, and several species of exotic plants), trump is immune to the fallout from his dumbassery. He is able to say and do the most outrageous things, things that would have doomed the candidacy of anyone else before they even got to the bottom of that goddam escalator, with absolutely no consequences or repercussions. Given the fact that no Republican in Congress seems to want to hold him accountable for -- well, anything -- the only conclusion I can reach is that it doesn't matter whether or not his campaign conspired with the Kremlin to steal the election. The opportunistic hackery demonstrated by Congressional Republicans, and the complete lack of a spine exhibited by Congressional Democrats, demonstrate clearly that his statement that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot people with impunity appears to be truer today than ever before.

This is indeed a sad indictment of our national government. In days past there would have only had to have been the slightest whiff of Russian involvement to completely torpedo a campaign, but it appears now that I should go ahead and get my subscription to Pravda ...

I gotta lie down.

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1It didn't work. In most cases the damn cars just flew off the track; one them went missing in some bushes and we didn't find it until a few months later after the leaves had fallen off for the winter. The one that didn't wipe out got about two thirds of the way down and just stopped. It turned out that it was going so fast the little plastic wheels melted. Best Sunday ever.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Something Serious To Consider

As those who read this blog regularly -- both of you -- are aware, much of the content here focuses on politics and current events, with a special emphasis on the dumbassery of the trump administration and the general frustration of rational people in dealing with an ignorant, petulant, Twitter-tantrum-throwing, traffic-cone colored man-baby.

This is not one of those entries.

We are facing -- have been facing for some time now, and ignoring to our detriment -- an existential crisis. Not "existential" in the sense that it is usually used in the political sphere; in those cases commentators are referring to the "American way of life," or Second Amendment rights, or abortion, or a trade deal ... in those cases the existential part of the claim is extremely limited to a narrow slice of humanity (gun owners, small businesses, etc.). No, in this instance "existential" refers to the species of great apes known as homo sapiens -- thinking man -- and its continued existence on planet Earth.

There is a lot of debate going back and forth over whether the two degree limit set by climate scientists at the beginning of this century was accurate, or too stringent, or not stringent enough. And while these are important discussions to have, they miss the larger point that boils the entire debate down to a single, central point.

What if we're wrong?

To be more specific, each side needs to ask themselves this question and ponder the ramifications of an affirmative answer. So let's do that, and let's begin with the supporters of the concept of anthropogenic climate change, shall we?

For the moment, let's assume that all this talk of climate change really is a boondoggle, and that it's all part of some natural cycle that is going to reverse itself fairly soon, as the climate change deniers claim. Let's also assume that the use of fossil fuels does not contribute enough to the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases to make much of a difference, and let us further assume that we go ahead with mitigation efforts anyway. What are the likely ramifications of this?

To begin with, fossil fuel companies will be severely impacted, which could cause economic turmoil in countries for which fossil fuel production is a major component of the economy. Much of the Middle East and Northern Africa could be driven into recession as revenues from energy exports plummet, sparking even more conflict in a region that is already beset with discord. Countries like Iraq (where energy exports account for 100% of all merchandise exports), Angola (95%), Algeria (94%), Brunei Darussalam (93%) and Kuwait (89%) would all essentially cease to exist altogether, while dozens of other nations -- including places like Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation, Bolivia, and Bahrain -- would experience negative economic impacts ranging from severe to near-catastrophic1.

We would also have to take into account the loss of wealth as these resources, and the companies that exploit them, lose value. I have not been able to find any estimates as to the estimated losses (I suspect because nobody seriously expects that addressing climate change is a boondoggle at all ... just guessing), but it is fairly safe to say that these losses could ascend into the trillions of dollars. Granted, some of this wealth would flow into the coffers of those entities attempting to address the issue, but in this scenario those gains would be relatively short-lived.

Finally there is the opportunity costs and resulting revenue that will be lost as a result of a lack of exploitation of fossil fuel resources. This could also run into the trillions of dollars.

Pretty gnarly stuff. Assuming that climate change is a hoax, it would appear that addressing it could cause some serious economic problems. So let's look at the other side of the coin.

What if the climate deniers are wrong but succeed in halting any efforts to address it? What can we expect then?

In the short term (within the next 15 years or so) we will see even more severe hurricanes, tornadoes, and other weather events. Wildfires will consume roughly 20% more land than they do today, and will occur with greater frequency. Low-lying places like Miami, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and so on will be rendered almost or completely uninhabitable, either because they will be entirely under water or due to salt water intrusion into freshwater aquifers. We will see greater instances of respiratory illness due to increased ground-level ozone. Migration and growing patterns will be altered. Food supplies will start to dwindle as a result of poleward migration of food crops to areas with poorer soil quality. There will be countless water wars waged over shrinking supplies of fresh water.

Longer term? Say, by the end of the century? Possibilities range from the relatively benign (more of the same, albeit a bit more severe) to all-out extinction of virtually all life on this planet ... it depends on a lot of factors.

Just to give some perspective, though, we have to consider planetary history. There have been five major (greater than 80% of life on the planet) extinction events in the Earth's 4.5 billion years. With the exception of the Chixclub meteorite (65 million years ago, that wiped out the dinosaurs), all events were the result of global climate change on a massive scale.

At our current rate, we will see anywhere from four to ten feet of seal level rise by the end of the century. However, that is actually the least belligerent behavior we will see from the oceans.

Increased CO2 leads to acidification of the oceans ... think of what happens to the pH level of water when it is carbonated (remember the experiment in sixth grade where you dissolved a nail in a glass of Coke?). One result of this is that, as CO2 builds up in the oceans, it creates a more conducive environment for anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria actually consume oxygen, rendering the water even more anoxic. As a result, smaller fish suffocate and die off, disrupting the food chain. One byproduct of this process is hydrogen sulfide (H2S) -- the gas that give rotten eggs (and particularly potent dad farts) their stink. The thing about hydrogen sulfide, the reason we are so attuned to it, is that, in amounts greater than the minute quantities produced by a rotten egg or a dad fart, it is deadly stuff (although, to be fair, I have been known to clear a room in milliseconds). It is so deadly that during one of the extinction events mentioned before it was responsible for wiping out 97 of all life on Earth. The ocean dead zones created by the anaerobic bacteria spread, increasing H2S production which killed everything on land, plants included.

So it boils down to two possible scenarios. On the one hand? A possibility of severe global economic strife on a level never seen before.

On the other hand? Extinction.

Quite frankly, I would rather be poor than dead. But that's just me. I gotta lie down.

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1The World Bank, The World Bank Open Data, "Fuel Exports (% of merchandise exports),"

Monday, July 10, 2017

Compassion For Conservatives

On Friday we published an article detailing what we know so far about Russian interference in the 2016 elections (if you haven't read the article yet -- obviously a glaring omission on your part -- it can be found here). We made every effort to avoid editorializing. We cited multiple sources from both left and right, as well as citing the original source document from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. We confined ourselves to answering the following questions to the best of our ability: who, what, where, when, and how. We made no attempt at answering the "why" of anything; the only exceptions were when we quoted an assessment as to motive from another. Our hope was that by being rigidly neutral and objective, there might be a small chance that Republicans coming across the article might actually accept the validity of the idea that Russia interfered with the election.

Holy crap, were we ever dumb. The article was published around 5:30 PM on Friday afternoon. Within an hour we got comments making the following points:

  • We were wrong because we were claiming that the Russians made John Podesta choose "password" as his email password.
  • The Russians forced three million more people to vote for Hillary, and that's just a nonsense idea, so therefore everything we put out there was false.
  • The article was full of lies because the FBI never directly accessed the DNC server.
  • CrowdStrike -- the cyber security firm that was hired by the DNC to conduct a security investigation into their servers -- was run by a guy who was so pro-Ukraine that this made it impossible for the company to be objective, and they paid off the two competing firms that corroborated the evidence.
  • The Russians forced Hillary Clinton to use Lena Dunham as her social media manager.
  • What about the uranium deal? Huh? Huh? What about that?
  • You want to talk corruption, howzabout the Clinton Foundation?

... and there were plenty more where those came from.

The thing that was interesting about all this was the common thread that was running throughout the comments: demands that we show proof. Forget for the moment that we had cited six major, reputable media outlets (two of which -- the Hill and the National Review -- are know to the be friendlier to Republican viewpoints while still maintaining objectivity), four intelligence agencies, three cyber security firms, the Director of National Intelligence -- in short, pretty much the entire leadership team of the You Betcher Ass We Know What We're Talking About Club. Forget that the article was simply a recounting of what had happened to date, with no inferences made or conclusions drawn. Ignore for now that we made it as easy as possible for anyone reading the article to go look at the source material to independently verify our data.

None of this was good enough. According to one poster we had made all that stuff up -- including the original report released by the DNI -- and unless we could point to hard evidence ...

This got us to thinking about the psychology of this sort of behavior, and after doing a little bit of digging, we reached the conclusion that while it is pretty much a universal condition, trumpsters seem to be much more susceptible to this sort of thing by virtue of a rigidity of thought.

It is a universal maxim that people do not like to be wrong. Republican or Democrat, white or black, rich or poor, liberal or conservative, well-adjusted or Yankee fan ... people will go to incredible lengths to protect their sense of correctness. Not in the sense of political correctness, but in the sense of "I am stating this thing to be true, and woe be unto him who states otherwise." We will see this on the left occasionally -- for example, the way liberals tried to pass off any mistakes made by Presidents Clinton or Obama as not really mistakes but the result of Republican shenanigans (in a not-insignificant percentage of cases, however, they were correct in this assessment) -- but instances of this behavior are higher on the right, and almost universal among trump supporters.

So why do we see this behavior? A few reasons:

They are members of the majority in all three branches of government, giving them a much higher profile and exposing their statements to more criticism.

This is sort of a variation on the "infinite-monkeys-producing-Hamlet" concept1. trump supporters are viewed as more intransigent simply because more of their statements make it into the public arena. While the percentage of trump supporters who exhibit this behavior may not be vastly different than the population as a whole (to be fair, we could find no evidence either way), the absolute number are larger simply by virtue of a higher public profile.

This does not excuse the dumbassery, though. Take the inauguration. Photographs taken from the top of the Washington Monument show a drastically fewer number of people present for trump's inauguration than Obama's, yet trumpsters routinely denied this by saying things like:
  • Because the pictures were taken at different times of day, they are not a true depiction of the enormity of the trump-loving throngs. The photos, while eight years apart, were actually separated by about ten minutes in terms of times of day, and dagnabit that ten minutes makes all the difference. I mean, sure, it's physically impossible to move 400,000 people into the limited space of the National Mall in ten minutes without having them all lined up at the fences beforehand, but why let that stop you from making the argument?.
  • The National Mall had white sheeting on the grass for trump's inauguration, which showed the gaps in the crowds much more clearly than the dun-colored ground would. This is true in that the sheeting, used for the first time in 2016, did show gaps more clearly. However, this theory is yet to be tested, due to the almost complete lack of gaps in Obama's inauguration crowds in both 2008 and 2012.
  • Pictures taken from the area of the podium do not show the gaps, therefore the photos from the Monument were faked. This is just utterly absurd, as foreshortening creates the impression of much bigger crowds than were actually there. This is a common trick used by anyone who wants to give the impression that the crowds are bigger than they actually are: put the cameras at ground level and let perspective handle the rest.
Even after the idea that trump's inauguration crowds numbered in the millions has been discredited by virtually every sentient being on the planet (with the exception of trump himself, but one could argue that he is not, technically, a sentient being), there are still those who believe that the stories of his small insuguration crowds are lies from fake news outlets, and that KellyAnne Conway's "alternative facts" (aka bullshit) are the truer representations of reality.

Far-right conservatism, as it is practiced today, is less concerned with compromise and more about ideological purity.

One of the foremost tenets of this belief is that the admission of error is anathema. The entire construct revolves around the rickety scaffolding built on the inherent wrongness of others, and the willingness to be absolutely merciless when legitimate errors are made by your opponents. For example, the New York Times had originally reported that all seventeen American intelligence agenies agreed that Russia interfered with the election. Not long ago they issued a correction, saying that in fact it had only been the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and the Department of Homeland Security, and that it wasn't until the report from the Director of National Intelligence was declassified that this became clear. A legitimate error, a legitimate correction, and the trump crowd jumped on this as proof positive that everything rhe New York Times had ever published in its entire history, including yesterday's baseball scores, was pure bunk.

This is also evidenced by Republican reactions to lack of presidential experience2. In 2008, Barack Obama, who had been serving in the United States Senate for four years by this point, was loudly and publicly shamed by the GOP as being "inexperienced," "an amateur,"and "naive." Yet trump, with absolutely zero governmental experience and a sketchy (at best) business background, was given a pass because, as Paul Ryan said, "he's new at this." Of course, the GOP couldn't care less about experience; their focus is on "which guy is going to sign our stuff into law?" Barack Obama was not very sympathetic to Republican proposals. trump is viewed as a rubber stamp of sorts. Kinda like Mel Brooks' governor in "Blazing Saddles" who spent his time ogling his secretary while Hedy (that's Hedley) -- Lamar used the governor's hand to sign a bill into law.

Yeah. This.

Given that trump has virtually no clue what the hell he's doing, this makes him the perfect foil for the GOP in that he will sign pretty much anything that's put in front of him. An executive order banning Muslim immigration? Sure thing. A health care bill that is about neither health nor care, but instead of about giving an $800 million gift to the richest 400 familes in the country? You betcha. A proclamation that any woman entering the U. S. Capitol is not allowed to wear a sleeveless dress? No problem. Designating the Grand Canyon as a uranium mining site? Absolutely.

Some would argue this doesn't make trump corrupt or hypocritical, it makes him a moron. We submit that the two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

Believe it or not, simple pride and fear of ridicule.

This is not unique to conservatives. Virtually every human being on the planet, when faced with the prospect of being called out as mistaken on any given issue, will have an initial urge to defend their position, no matter how absurd it may be. The difference between left and right in this area ies in the inherent flexibility of thought (or lack thereof) in these positions. Conservatives tend to identify as very religious, even fundamentalist, in their beliefs, and this belief system places a high value of obedience to dogma and less of a priority is given to independent thought. Some argue that this means liberals are less certain in their convictions. This may be true, it may not, but the idea that liberals are more willing to hear disagreeing viewpoints is not a new one.

Ya gotta give conservatives a break on this, though. For many, there is a large personal investment in backing trump. Many of them were very public with their views, and some have openly mocked liberals for backing either Bernie of Hillary. Asking them to perform a complete 180 on their views is unrealistic. The best one can hope for is an incremental shift in outlook that leads them to come around on their own, gradually, and on their own terms.

So what can we do about this?

Well, the one thing that definitely will not work is to constantly berate conservatives for their views, or to try to get them to see "the error of their ways." And for many of them, there will be no change in their outlook regardless of any facts that come to light. During the campaign, trump famously said that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and start shooting people, and he wouldn't lose any votes. And he wasn't wrong. The reason for this is that his supporters identify themselves as a tribe, just as people identify as football fans, or Catholics, or vegetarians, or gun owners. It is a natural human desire to belong to a group, to be a part of something bigger, and trump filled that bill for millions. He hit the right populist notes to make these people feel wanted and included, people who had been marginalized by a government that is increasingly about big donors and large corporations, and even though his supporters openly acknowledge his tendency to only have a nodding acquaintance with the truth -- "Take him seriously, not literally" -- they lined up en masse to say "yep. He's our guy." And they will not back off that position easily or without fighting it.

About the only thing we can do is to be patient, and wait for trump to screw up so big that they have no choice but to re-evaluate their position. That day will come, sooner, rather than later, and when it does it is vitally important that we acknowledge how difficult it was for them to come around without being patronizing or condescending.

During the 2016 Democratic convention, Michelle Obama said "when they go low, we go high." Many are now mocking this notion and indicating that perhaps liberals should get down in the mud with conservatives and really mix it up. We instead urge people to stay on the high road and gently coax our conservative brethren to join us. Not that we are saying they have to become liberal, far from it -- a diverse mix of opinions is what makes us great, after all -- but by demonstrating the failures of absolutism quietly we give them the avenue by which they can emerge from the trumpian shadows and into the light of rational beings while simultaneously saving face.

I gotta lie down.

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1For those who are unfamiliar with the analogy, the infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. In reality the chances of this happening are infinitesimal, but the Wikipedia article we read on the subject contains the phrase "atomic monkeys," which is just too awesome to not pass on. In this case it is used to illustrate the idea that, given enough trump supporters, one of them will turn out to be a reality-denying schmuck.

2Not for nothing, but everybody that is elected to the Presidency is new at the gig unless they have been thrust into the role via unforseen circumstances, such as death or incapacity of the President.

Come At Me, Bro

So the latest stunt from Ron DeSantis and the Floriduh GOP -- and that's all they are is stunts -- is SB 1316, a particularly odious and...