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False Equivalencies
Aug 16th, 2017 by Dr Karma

Today, the world is reeling at Trump’s statement in which he compared the alt-right with anti-fascists. (He tried to coin the phrase “alt-left,” but being anti-fascist has been a mainstream position on both the sides of the political spectrum for almost a hundred years.)
Fascists now think Trump was saying the anti-fascists were worse, even–that we are somehow the terrorists.
By the way, having the KKK praise your speech while no one else is might just be a sign that you’re racist.
This morning, though, I’m thinking about false equivalencies.
Trump’s is obvious.
But the problem of Trump was partially caused by another one–remember all those people who said Clinton and Trump were equally bad?
That seemed absurd to a lot of us during the election.
Now, the absurdity is terrifyingly clear.
First there are two issues we might concede they’re close on:
Clinton was supposed to be bad because she was too cozy with bankers. Trump has, of course, appointed all those people to high positions in his administration.
Clinton was supposed to be bad because she was careless with classified information. Trump has had some problems with this as well.
As for the “she’s a liar!” charge, studies show that she’s better than most politicians. And I doubt we’d have “alternate facts” as a phrase if she’d won.
As for the “she’s a war-monger!” charge, would she be having a penis fight with Kim right now, or would she be trying to de-escalate the threat of nuclear war?
The reason many of us supported her, imperfect as she is, is because she’s on our side. Trump isn’t.
If Clinton were in:
–we wouldn’t have Pence, the guy who wants to torture gay children and who can’t trust himself around girls, as VP
–we would have a much better new justice to the Supreme Court
–most government positions currently vacant would be filled
–qualified people would be in cabinet positions
–the President wouldn’t be attacking trans people in the military
–Planned Parenthood would be better protected (along with our right to choose and with actual sex education)
–we wouldn’t have a President who continually embarrassed us around the world by being ignorant about politics or by doing inappropriate things with female leaders and first wives
–science wouldn’t be considered debatable
I could go on, but let me point out the super-obvious here.
CLINTON WOULD NOT be on the side of the white terrorists, of the KKK, of the alt-right, of the anti-semitic, of the sexists, of the Nazis.

They are not–and have never been–“equally bad.”

Let’s remember that as we think through Trump’s statements about guilt on both sides.

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The Continuing Adventures of Karma’s OnLine Dating: Entry 50
Jan 26th, 2017 by Dr Karma

This entire conversation was awful, but see if you can spot the line that most made me go, “eww . . . what?! . . . eww!”

Him: Did you cry when Trump won?

Me: Yes. Many times. What about you?

Him: It didn’t really matter to me which pig got voted into the farm house.

[I decide not to answer. Two days later.]

Him: Feel like wine and a movie tonight?

Me: No, thanks.
I have to confess: I’m very sensitive about the election. I know too many people who are a lot more vulnerable right now. Thus, the pig reference just didn’t sit well with me.
I hope you find someone more carefree and that you have a great evening!

Him: You don’t see Animal Farm going on before your eyes?

Me: I think a lot of absurd things happen in politics, but I don’t at all think Clinton as President vs. Trump as President is any kind of equal threat to me, to the environment, to my students, etc.

Him: Keep thinking that. But in the meantime, there’s this warm man over here who would like to pur his arms around you if you change your mind.

Me: I’m not going to change my mind. I cried with the trans student I mentor after the election. I’m working with my department to take action to protect our muslim students and our dreamers. I’m fighting for my students to have access to birth control and abortions. I’m fighting for free speech and scientific literacy. A few years ago, I moved my disabled aunt to California so she could get access to care because she was literally dying in a Republican state that rejected the part of Obamacare that would cover her. I could go on, but I’ve got way too many papers to grade today.

Look, I’m sure you’re a decent person, but you’re not the person for me. And I’m not at all desperate, so I don’t have to settle for just a warm body. 🙂
I hope you find someone beautifully suited to you and wish you all the best.

Him: Ok, good luck to you too

[Eight days later]

Him: Surprised you haven’t left the country yet

Me: It’s not going to get fixed that way.

Him: Ok, so you’re going to fix it?

Me: Are you meaning to be hostile right now? Since I don’t know you, I’m not sure how to read this conversation.

Him: Nope…remember, I’m an INTJ [he’d mentioned that in his profile, and was counting on me to have assigned meaning to it]

[I decide not to answer. Several hours go by. This next one gets sent in the middle of the night:]

Him: I want you to connect and bond with me.

Me: I’m not interested in that.

Him: That’s really unfortunatw

 

Okay, reader. You saw the whole thing. Which part icked you out most?

 

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Voter Hypocrisy
Dec 17th, 2016 by Dr Karma

I can’t get over why reporters can’t get over voter hypocrisy.

There have been several moves Trump has made that could already be called executive over-reach or “pay to play.” Reporters interview voters/supporters and say, “But didn’t you say this was wrong? Why is it okay when Trump does it?”

The answer: “Well, what he’s doing is going to fix all these things.”

There is no admission of what the truth is: it’s okay when Trump does it. It’s not okay when Obama/Hillary does it.

That’s all.

We’ve all seen the videos of voters being read Hitler’s quotes and being told Trump said them. They love the ideas!

We’ve all seen the videos of voters being read Obama’s policies and being told they’re Trump’s. They love the ideas!

We are all guilty of this, to some degree.

For example, Republicans say they believe in small government decisions, favoring the state over the country, the city over the state, except of course when the small government passes pro-marijuana, anti-discrimination, or gun control legislation.

Generally, I’m a federalist, rather than a states’ rights person. I don’t think my rights should be different in different states or that I shouldn’t be able to ship wine to myself from one American place to another or that a lawsuit against someone basically falls away if they move across a state line.

But I love it when California tells the rest of you to go f yourselves sometimes (although of course I want the whole country to get more progressive, so we don’t have to be different) and, during difficult Presidencies, I tell foreigners that I’m from California when they ask. It automatically makes them like me more.

My hypocrisy is absolutely glaring in another way right now.

I believe in empathy, in Rogerian arguments, etc. And yet I cannot yet empathize with Trump voters. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to do so with those who are attacking people, who are threatening the Islamic center in my town, who are making me and my friends and my students angry and afraid.

Americans (and humans) have problems upholding their principles; no wonder we elect people without any.

 

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Paraphrase: The Taiwan Call [Updated]
Dec 3rd, 2016 by Dr Karma

Trump: “China is laughing” at us.

Trump: “I have the best brain.”*

Trump: “I think I know more about foreign policy than anybody running.”

[Taiwan calls. Trump the takes call.]

China: Um . . . you’re not supposed to do that.

Diplomats and all the rest of us who follow politics**: Um . . . doesn’t that threaten 40 years of policy?

Trump: It’s Taiwan’s fault! They called!

China: We’re not actually that upset about it. We know you have no idea what you’re doing, Mr. President-Elect. [not subtle tittering]

Thus, the prophecy is fulfilled.

Conservatives tell Democrats to stop freaking out. They say we can only be upset if we’re upset at Obama’s and Hillary’s foreign policy decisions.

Democrats stop rolling their eyes long enough to point out that this wasn’t a decision so much as a gaffe & a logical consequence to someone getting a job he’s not prepared for.

Trump’s team: Umm, no. We totally planned that. This was well thought out. You know, even though Trump said it was Taiwan’s fault–it was in the plan all along.

151107004521-china-taiwan-relations-rivers-jiang-pkg-00000127-large-169*I wanted to paraphrase these lines too–but there really wasn’t a way to dumb them down any further.

**This statement doesn’t take a side in the dispute–it just acknowledges there is one.

 

A few weeks ago, I published this on Facebook, but it’s another useful paraphrase:

Republican story: Obamacare is awful in every way. We’re gonna get rid of it and give you something better.
The story I’ve lived through: Republicans do nothing to help people get care for years and years. Millions and millions uninsured, sometimes because of pre-existing conditions.
Republican think tank comes up with a plan to cover everyone.
It gets implemented in Mass.
Republicans don’t want it to spread.
Obama basically uses that plan when he has to compromise & not give us a single payer option.
It gets called Obamacare.
It gets called evil.
Republican states sue so they don’t have to cover their poor people, even though the plan will SAVE them money.
They bitch, while my family and friends finally get healthcare.
Their new leader says it’s the worse thing that’s ever happened to America.
Their new leader gets elected.
He googles Obamacare, admits that most of it is awesome.
He and Ryan are going to “keep” a lot of it, but do some interesting things that will likely make premiums go way up.
They pretend to save us.
(Remember when they didn’t didn’t care about this problem at all? It took Obamacare to get them to DO ANYTHING.)

 

I also recommend my recent post/manifesto, if you haven’t read it yet.

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P(E)TSD
Nov 15th, 2016 by Dr Karma

Post (election of) Trump Stress Disorder

I have PTSD. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago when my living situation with a family member triggered me–heart rate problems, flashbacks, high blood pressure, nightmares.

My living situation is different now, and I’ve done extensive EMDR therapy with a psychiatrist who specializes in treating this problem.

I’d been having a much higher level of anxiety in the months leading up to this election, but so was everyone else. All of my doctors report their patients having problems with this. But I still didn’t think that what was scaring me could happen.

It happened.

It has taken me a few days to admit that I’m being triggered. My heart rate is way too high, I’m having flashbacks, my blood pressure is way up, and I’m having nightmares. Today, I was listening to the news and sending an email, and suddenly I realized that I was unwell. I didn’t know if I was going to throw up or fall down. Luckily, I was able to recognize it as an anxiety attack and get through it before it was time to go to school.

Stress is, of course, a trigger, but there’s simply more to it than that.

I feel physically unsafe, both for myself and my students. I’ve lived through Bush, and while his policies scared me, I wasn’t scared of his supporters in a physical way. I am currently afraid of some of my fellow Americans–mostly because I know they don’t see me as American–only they count when they talk about Americans. I’m a race traitor, I’m a woman, I’m an ally, I’m an atheist, I’m a progressive, I’m an intellectual.

But it’s even more personal than that.

My PTSD, if I may diagnose myself, is being triggered because of long ago traumas.

 

Slow dissolve.

Pensacola, Fl. My mother’s apartment.

I am barely 18.

I am technically between homes, having moved my stuff out of my grandparent’s house the day before (long story). I hadn’t been living with my mother, mostly due to her abusive boyfriend, Don: racist, redneck, sexist. His son had praised Hitler in our one conversation. Don had once told me he was glad I was carrying to term, since women who got abortions should be shot. My mother, solidly pro-choice, had sat silently.

I am getting ready for bed; I’m in a T-shirt and underwear. My infant son is resting quietly.

My mother’s boyfriend appears, screaming and drunk.

“There isn’t room in her life for both of us,” he says.

And then he comes at me.

I run out the door, luring him away from my son, who is now screaming. I hide in the bushes. I pray.

The landlord comes and chases him away.

My mother makes excuses. For him. To me.

The next night, he comes over. “I’m sorry I yelled at you, but you ARE A BITCH.”

My mother wants us all to watch TV together. Don was just drunk, she explains again.

I have no car, no money, no license, no way out, until she takes me to move into my great-grandfather’s bedroom (two hours away) the next day. He had just died that morning, and decisions had been made.

I don’t want to watch TV with him; I don’t want to pretend he didn’t attack me. My mother insists. I call her sister, who tells my mother that I should be allowed to nurse and read quietly in another room.

I had never been physically attacked before.

Whenever my mother and ex-stepfather would drunkenly scream at each other, when I was younger, she would take me aside after, explaining that calling a woman a bitch was the worse thing you could say.

“Don’t ever let a man treat you this way.”

Flash forward to this boyfriend, him attacking me, and her behind him, quietly saying, “No, Don, don’t.”

 

This is what I flash back to. This is where the nightmares are coming from. Racist, sexist, violent, hate-filled people who don’t think there’s room enough in their country for all of us. I am physically afraid of them.

This time, my mother isn’t even saying, “No, Don, don’t.”

She voted for him.

 

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2016 Election Blame Game
Nov 11th, 2016 by Dr Karma

On Facebook, I see different people excusing themselves from responsibility of what happened.

“Oh, I voted for a third party in a swing state, but it’s the fault of people who didn’t vote at all.”

There’s more than enough blame to go around here, people.

blame1

It is the fault of those who voted for Trump because they loved him.

It is the fault of those who voted for Trump even though they could see him for what he was.

It is the fault of those who said, “he says what we’re all thinking.”

It is the fault of those who said, “Oh, he doesn’t mean x; he’s just saying that for votes.”

It is the fault of Trump, who is a psychopath, in the full clinical definition of the word.

It is the fault of anyone who ever let that psychopath think he wasn’t one.

It is the fault of those who voted for third party candidates, esp. in swing states.

It is the fault of eligible voters who didn’t vote, esp. in swing states.

It is the fault of the media who gave Trump so much free air time.

It is the fault of the media who harped on the emails.

It is the fault of the media who didn’t equally harp on all of Trump’s scandals.

It is the fault of voters who listened to a single kind of media without doing any fact checking.

It is the fault of conspiracy theorists who kept spreading lies about Clinton.

It is the fault of those who spread lies about America–that crime is up, that the economy is completely down, that Sharia law governs whole cities here, etc.

It is the fault of foreign interests, esp. Russia and Wikileaks, who tried to take down one of the parties. And succeeded.

It is the fault of the voters who let them.

It is the fault of the electoral college system (and the primary system).

It is the fault of Clinton for not being perfect, for making mistakes, and not dealing with those mistakes well.

It is the fault of those who kept insisting that Clinton and Trump were equally bad, were equally dangerous for America.

It is the fault racists.

It is the fault of sexists.

It is the fault of religious bigots.

It is the fault of nationalists.

It is the fault of the homophobic.

It is the fault of the selfish.

It is the fault of the anti-science people.

It is the fault of very religious people who are so against “sharia” law, but who intend to make our laws based on their faith.

It is the fault of those who are uninformed.

It is the fault of those who don’t understand how economics work.

It is the fault of all those who don’t understand their own privilege.

It is the fault of those who don’t understand history–who don’t know that it was the extremely high tax burden on the rich that made the 1950s so awesome for (heterosexual white male) middle class people.

It is the fault of those who don’t see parallels between what is happening now and what happened in Germany, who spent the last eight years saying Obama was Hitler only to go on to elect their own demagogue, who actually is one.

It is the fault of the Republican states who have changed voter rules (and the Supreme Court who let them), making it harder to vote in all kinds of ways.

It is the fault of the first Americans, who, despite George Washington’s advice, established a two party system.

It is the fault of my family members who are continually taken in by that party to vote against their self interest.

It is the fault of other of my family members who only vote in their own self interests, and believe that everyone else on this planet, unless they’re family, should be completely on their own.

There.

It’s basically everyone’s fault.

Can we please FIX IT NOW?

 

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