People go hungry in America, but meh – Part 1

I witnessed something extraordinary the other day; during a Christmas food drive, after closing hours (I happened to be that guy who was there after the place closed, but I was waiting in line for to pay, so I guess I’m justified? No, I’m still an asshole), I watched as a manager went over to where food had been collected for people in need. Very discretely he began taking the canned food and boxed cereals out of the box, putting it into a bag, and having some employees go over. There he distributed the food to the employees, many of whom were middle aged and not the typical teenage retail employees.

Now, maybe this was all an elaborate scam to get free food for the holidays. Maybe they’ve figured out a way to game the system. Or, it could be that things are just that bad. Not even 5 years ago, Walmart had egg on its face when it held a food drive for its own employees, begging the question that if you have to get food donated for your employees, shouldn’t that be a sign that you’re not paying enough? Of course, no one stops to ask that question.

Yet, there’s another question that’s important to ask: Why do we have charity during the holidays? Granted, no one in the modern industrialized world gives more than Americans (hey, we are #1 at a few things at least, right?), but that’s because no one in the industrialized world needs to give more than Americans. The idea of having a “food drive” is a foreign concept in some contemporary nations because food security isn’t an issue. Even the poor in Norway don’t have to worry about going to sleep without having a proper meal, but in the United States that’s an everyday worry. In fact, 12.3% of US households (not population, households) will experience food insecurity at some point throughout the year. With an average of 2.5 people per household (125 million households compared to 323 million people), that means approximately 45,295,200  men, women, and children are food insecure at any given moment throughout the year. That’s 14% of the US population.

It gets even more depressing when you break it down by state and county. Within the US some states, such as Mississippi, sit at a statewide average of 18%, with some counties exceeding 30%. Take Jefferson County, Mississippi, that sits at a food insecurity rate of 38% and over 70% qualifying for the SNAP program (meaning they’re below 130% of the poverty line). And it’s not just the South; Wayne County, Michigan has a food insecurity rate in excess of 20% and a whopping 85% of its residents qualify for SNAP.

But wait, there’s more!

If you look at national statistics, the national household average income is around $54,000, or about 200% of the poverty line, based on the assumption of a family of four. This makes sense considering nearly half of Americans earn less than $30,000 a year. The National Center for Children in Poverty sets the standard for “low income” at 200% of the poverty line. The reasoning behind this is that when you’re only 200% of the poverty line, you’re essentially living paycheck to paycheck. Yes, you’re not impoverished, but you can’t really save money. So if you lose your job or don’t get paid, it’s catastrophic because you likely have nothing in savings as half of Americans can’t save money. The reality, based on the previous link, is that only 19% of Americans have what we could deem a “real” savings account, that is, they could take a $1,000 hit and still have money left in savings. This also means that 50% of all children in America live near the poverty line, which of course creates massive problems in terms of health, education, and future prospects for the nation. As that study shows, having an education doesn’t really help as nearly half of all children living in poverty have a parent with a college education.

Yet, with all of this we have the Republicans –in their infinite wisdom and complete ignorance of economics, morality, and common decency – saying that in 2018 they’re going after “entitlement” programs and “welfare” programs. This after they gave the biggest hand job welfare boost to corporations and wealthy people in US history. Under the status quo we’re already looking at 14% of our population facing food insecurity and with many more on the brink of food insecurity. Making cuts to programs will only increase the number of hungry people in the US. It’s entirely plausible that cuts to SNAP and other beneficial living programs could easily see the number rise as high as 20-25% nationally.

In light of this, the United States produces enough food to feed 10 billion people. The US population is, of course, a few billion fewer than that. We produce enough food to feed people with little to no effort; we could literally give away half of the food and still not impact the profit of food production, as we waste half the food produced anyway. I’ve worked in restaurants before where we had to throw food out because we weren’t allowed to give it away or eat it as employees. How much sense does that make?

All of this leads back to the original point; we have food drives because we’re incredibly inefficient at feeding our own people. Charity work for toys, presents, clothing, and things like that can make some sense, but for food? Since when was food a “charity” item and not, you know, essential to living? What’s crazier is that this is completely artificial. We’re not in the midst of a famine, we’re not facing food shortages or export problems, and our food isn’t even overly priced when compared to other nations (such as Europe). The food insecurity in the US is completely, 100% artificial.

Advertisements

Dinesh D’Souza is both a horrible thinker and a horrible person or, D’Souza is a Dinesh best served trolled

I’m not one of those, “You’ll be shocked when you read THIS” or “14 Reasons Why Your Should Consider Your Opinion About Dinesh D’Souza.” I like to just get to the point, and the point is that Dinesh D’Souza is a horrible person and a horrible thinker. What do I mean by this? Well, yesterday I came home to discover a giant cockroach thinking he could stay in my apartment rent free (New York is a magical place) and after a battle, I finally killed it. It wasn’t pretty and, honestly, it was horrible, but given the option of having that cockroach in my apartment or having Dinesh D’Souza over for a conversation, I’d take the cockroach 125 times out of 10 (not a typo).

But why do I hold D’Souza in such regard? Well, look at his Twitter and you’ll see what I call “D’Souza’s Conundrum: Either D’Souza is a trash heap of a human being because he says the things he says knowing they’re false, but that they’ll make him famous OR he actually believes the stuff he says in which case he’s an idiot.” Allow me to submit my evidence:

Exhibit A: The Man Knows Fuckol about Fascism and/or the Democratic Party

D’Souza is on a big kick lately to argue that Obama was close to Fascism while Trump is the furthest thing from it.

 

 

 

There’s just so much to get through in these. So, so much. The most egregious error is even attempting to attribute the Fascist economic system of state-run corporations (or corporations heavily regulated by the State FOR THE PURPOSE OF PRESERVING THE RACE AND/OR NATION) to Obama is that Obama didn’t introduce a state-run capitalist system to the US. We don’t have a state-run capitalist system. We have a capitalist system that runs the State, but it certainly isn’t in reverse. For God’s sake, if Obama wanted to introduce such a system he could have in 2008 when everything was falling apart. He could have nationalized the banks, he could have nationalized the auto industry, he could have nationalized the oil industry towards the end of his presidency when oil prices collapsed, he could have nationalized mortgages, he could have nationalized healthcare, and the list goes on. But he didn’t do any of that. Why? Because aside from being a bad economic practice, the corporations wouldn’t allow it and because, you know, Obama wasn’t a fascist.

But this ignores the fact that D’Souza, aside from his personal hatred of Obama (we’ll get to that), doesn’t actually understand a thing about fascism. Using the State to target individuals (which didn’t happen to D’Souza, as the judge stated in his case, and it’s also why D’Souza plead guilty to the felony of election fraud; you don’t plead guilty if you’re innocent) isn’t unique to fascism, but is pretty common among all autocrats and demagogs. It’s happened in almost every nation that’s ever existed, including our own. To call it fascism because fascists did it would be the equivalent to calling George W Bush Hitler because they both liked to paint.

Regardless, D’Souza can’t even get the basics of fascism down. He consistently points to Mussolini being a socialist, but Mussolini rejected socialism after his party lost in 1919. He noticed the more nationalist and pro-war he become, the more people liked him. It’s why in his own Doctrine of Fascism, Mussolini wrote:

Continue reading →

Quick thought on Roy Moore and bigotry

Democrats are now trying to jump on the fact that Roy Moore dated his wife Kayla while she was still married to her ex-husband. Does this show blatant hypocrisy over his love of family values? Yup. Does it show that he just lies about his past? Yup. Will it mean anything to the Alabama voters? Nope.

If the average Alabama voter doesn’t care about him dating high school chicks when he was in his 30s, what makes you think they’ll care about him dating a woman while she was still married? At what point will we realize that these people don’t actually care about values, but instead care about “shaking up” the political elite? At what point will we realize the average American voter is pretty bigoted, so when some politician comes along who isn’t politically correct and validates that bigotry, they’re going to latch onto that politician?

What hasn’t been brought up about Roy Moore or made the news rounds? The fact that Moore questioned Keith Ellison’s ability to be in Congress simply because Ellison is a Muslim has hardly been brought up. Why? Because it’s just not controversial; how can something many Americans agree with be controversial? This is the same guy who in 2009 said the only thing Islam had done for the US was done on September 11, 2001. He’s also said that Muslims shouldn’t serve in the military.

Basically, the man hates Muslims and has no problem treating them not just as second-class citizens, but as non-citizens simply because of their beliefs. And that’s not getting airtime. Why? Because it’s just not all that controversial.

Therein lies the problem – we’ve normalized bigotry in the US. Not that this has never been done before, but there was always some type of resistance. But with Trump showing his videos and Moore’s controversy being a sexual predator (which is bad, very bad, but so is basically calling for us to treat an entire religious group as persona non grata). Once we’ve normalized bigotry, when the bigots take the next step of removing rights from that group, we don’t really throw a ton of protests out there. Back in January and February when Trump’s travel ban went into effect, we had thousands of protests with thousands of people. When the Supreme Court upheld it the other day, we saw nothing.

We need to understand that bigotry will always occur, especially in the US. But what makes bigotry dangerous is when we don’t call it out and when we don’t protest it and act against it. Because the only way bigotry becomes normalized is if we allow it to become normalized, and the more normalized it gets, the closer we get to doing some pretty horrible things to people.

Here Be Giants: Breaking up CVS, Aetna, and basically the entire economy

In their best Biggie (ft. Jr. M.A.F.I.A) impression, CVS (ft. A.E.T.N.A) is doing their best “Get Money” move. By attempting to buy Aetna for $69 billion…heh….they’re trying to merge one of the largest pharmacy retailers with one of the largest healthcare insurance providers. That the purchase is for $69 billion is all too perfect because the only people getting any sort of pleasure out of this will be the executives at CVS and Aetna; everyone else is left out of this little shindig.

But this is just one more merger among many since the 1980s and 90s, when the US government decided it really didn’t care about oligopolies and de facto monopolies. If you want to look at one of the biggest reasons we’ve seen profits and production increase along with he cost of living, but wages remain stagnant, you could look to the current market structure which is almost exclusively an oligopoly in every single industry. Want to go to a pharmacy? Most likely your choices are CVS, Walgreens, or maybe RiteAid (and let’s not forget Walmart). Sure, there are local pharmacies, but they represent such a small portion of sales that they hardly count. You could also go to your local grocery store, but it’s not really “local” as it’s most likely owned by Aldi, Albertson’s, Ahold Delhaize, or Kroger (or, again, Walmart). And if you want to watch the news on your phone (which is really just down to two competitors: Samsung and Apple), you’ll likely be watching or reading the news from an organization that is owned by one of six corporations (90% of the mass media in the US is owned by just 6 corporations).

The point being, it’s difficult to think of an industry where there’s robust competition free of giant competitors. Business software? Intuit and Microsoft will likely outcompete you or buy you. Oil extraction? There’s maybe 3 or 4 major companies that can accomplish this. Car production? Of major US car producers there’s three, including real worldwide competition we’re still at less than 10. In fact, if you think of common oligopolies in the US, every major industry has one: Internet service providers (which are often monopolies in smaller regions), aluminum and steel production, airlines, mass media, pharmaceuticals, music, and the list goes on. In fast food 71% of the industry is taken up by just 12 companies, though the food industry is harder to create an oligopoly due to already low margins and that different types of food can be offered to avoid competition.

Americans are always careful with monopolies, we try not to let any one company control an entire industry at a national level (though we oddly have no issue when it’s done at the local level). However, we’ve ignored that we’ve moved into an economy where each industry faces little to no competition. While there is some competition, it’s not significant nor is it enough to effectively lower prices. Likewise, when few companies compete within an industry, you not only harm the consumers, you harm the workers. Just as consumers won’t find low prices, workers won’t find higher wages because “the market” has set wages within that industry. But if you’re skilled in media and want more pay, where are you going to go if there are only 5 other options and they pay the same? “The market” has only set that pay because those 6 companies don’t have to compete against each other to gain quality workers, so they can artificially lower the wages. Multiply this across various industries and you begin to see how our obsession with large companies in industries has forced wages to remain low; when 2-10 companies control an entire industry, representing millions of workers, the companies get to dictate the market price of labor because they control the market.

See, the above isn’t a free market. A free market requires the market to, well, be free. That means free of harmful government regulations (note the use of the word “harmful” here) BUT ALSO must also have robust competition. If an industry requires large corporations with little competition in order to function, then it means that industry ought to be heavily regulated by the government because it’s not a market industry; the market can’t self-regulate the company or companies because they are the entirety of the market. If you have 100 businesses within any given industry then the market tends to self-regulate (to an extent). There’s enough competition that people will pay higher wages to attract better workers, which gives them an edge over the competition. The higher wages means the average worker can consume more, so more money is spent within the industry, which boosts other businesses. The cycle continues. If, however, you have 5 businesses within any given industry, then the market is clogged up and doesn’t exist. Here’s an example for those who follow the NBA (and if you don’t follow the NBA, there’s something fundamentally wrong with you):

In the current state of the NBA we see oligopoly in action. While there’s an entire season and 30 NBA teams competing for a title, in reality there’s only 2 teams that could possibly win it. 5 if you press it. Golden State and the Cavaliers round out the top and are realistically the only two teams who could possibly win the championship. Of course, on the wings are Houston, Boston, and maybe the Thunder (if they figure out how to play together). Of course, Boston fans would argue that Boston has the best chance, but that’s what Boston fans do. But outside of those teams, everyone is just playing to play. They don’t have a realistic chance of winning. Now imagine if the NBA came in and rather than putting a salary cap on a team, they put an All Star cap on a team, meaning you’re limited on the number of players you can have who have been named to an All Star team over the past two seasons (I’m not saying the NBA should do this; I’d hate it as a fan of the sport). Suddenly, the NBA would become VERY competitive. There’d be no way to really predict a winner; sure, there’d still be teams that you know wouldn’t win, but the list of who could win would increase to at least 10-15 teams, or half the league.

Take that analogy and compare it to the modern American economy. What if we broke up oligopolies? What if we went into industries, saw that the market was clogged like a bad artery, and cleared it up? What if in any given industry the competition went from 5 to 50? Sure, within 2-3 years it’d dwindle down again due to some companies not being able to make it, but you could see it leveling off at a much higher level than now. What’s happening in the modern age is companies are being bought out while they’re healthy. We didn’t get here because companies were failing; we got here because companies bought out their competition. And as multiple industries have seen companies clog up the market, we’ve seen prices go up for common items and wages remain stagnant because where else are you going to go?

If you look at successful economies in Europe – not just the mythical Nordic nations, but also Germany and…uh…Germany… – one of the common themes is they’re very anti-oligopoly. In industries where large corporations are required, which stifle competition, there are heavy regulations in place and the industry must function within those regulations. Those economies are doing the opposite of what the US is doing and they’re experiencing stability rather than stagnation. In fact, the great economic boom in the US in the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s occurred because most US industries were full of competition. While come industries were still oligopolies, enough industries and therefore enough of the jobs out there had enough competition that the oligopolies in other industries still had to keep higher wages in order to compete for better workers, even if from other industries. We started moving away from that in the 80s and, well, here we are now, in one giant shithole of a real economy.

The CVS and Aetna merger is just another one that’s bad for workers and bad for consumers. It won’t solve the problem of prices, but it’ll make some executives on both sides very, very wealthy (well, wealthier). In the land of giants we need a giant killer, a modern day Teddy Roosevelt to come in and break these companies up and free up the markets in these multiple industries. Merely increasing minimum wage or increasing taxes on the wealthy won’t solve it; we have to break these companies up.

What to do when your president thinks it’s 1492 and he’s King Ferdinand II and it’s time to finish the reconquista

Donald Trump did something on Twitter that was pretty disturbing. And that’s saying something, because almost everyday he’s doing something disturbing, but this really went for it. He decided to retweet three videos from the ethno-nationalist far-right group Britain First showing Muslims in a bad light. By “bad light” I mean it implied that all Muslims were blood-thirsty maniacs out to kill every infidel and everyone out there who isn’t them.

It’s one thing to retweet it, but the White House doubled-down and then went all in as the day wore on. The eternally frustrated – going by the eternal look on her face – Sarah “I Don’t Heart This” Huckabee Sanders said that even if the videos aren’t real it doesn’t matter, because the threat is real. No, seriously, I’m not shitting you. She basically said, “Yeah, even if there’s no evidence to support the threat is real, the threat is still real.” It’s President Baudrillard with Press Secretary Kafka up in here. BUT IT DIDN’T STOP THERE!

“Does President Trump think Muslims are a threat to the U.S.?” a reporter asked, in light of the president’s early-morning retweets.

Shah said, “The president has addressed these issues with the travel order that he issued earlier this year, and the companion proclamation. There are plenty of Muslim-majority nations whose citizens can come to the U.S. without travel restrictions. But those that pose public safety or terrorism threats, for our worldwide security review that was overseen by the Department if Homeland Security, is why there were certain travel restrictions put in place,” Shah responded.

So…yeah…

The response is basically, “You’ve seen the travel ban, right?” Under any other administration the answer would have been, “No, Muslims are not a threat” and then N U A N C E would have been thrown in. But under this administration, oh hell no.

And the thing is, the videos aren’t even true. They’ve already been debunked. And retweeting Jayda Fransen would be akin to retweeting David Duke or Richard Spencer. It’s like Trump retweeting a far right leader in the US. It’s incredibly disturbing, upsetting, and sickening.

But what prompted this? Was there a terrorist attack? Did the president eat at a halal cart and get bad diarrhea the next day (and if he did, he better not blame the dude just south of his tower on 55th; he has the best halal in all of New York and I will die on that hill). Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with the Grand Jury holding off on Flynn since Mike Flynn is likely working on a plea deal with the special prosecutor.

Trump is shite at business, but he’s a master at branding, and his brand is being attacked and he can’t stop it. So what does he do? He goes back to the basics, and the basics here is some good ole’ fashion bigotry and xenophobia. Trump’s sudden attack on Muslims, I believe, stems from the fact that he realizes everything is starting to crumble around him.

Unfortunately, a lot of Americans out there are buying into it. This will build his political capital and make Reek the Republicans even more fearful to go against their master Ramsay Bolton president Donald Trump, meaning that if he finally decides to interfere with any investigations or prosecutions, Republicans will simply be too fearful to go against him. They’ll fear Trump’s influence over voters more than they respect the rule of law. If Trump decides to enact bans, who will stop him?

So for all that stuff we’ve said about how we would have marched in the 60s during the Civil Rights movement, or about how we would have stood against Hitler, or how we would have defended the Native Americans, or about how virtuous and right we would have been in the past…well, how about now? What if Trump gets bans passed? What if Trump is able to get laws passed against Muslims? What if the US begins to become less and less tolerant toward Muslims and all immigrants? Will you hide them? Will you protest? Will you stand up?

The only sure solution to any of this is to elect a party that isn’t beholden to the president come 2018. Look, I know that the Democrats aren’t the best, in fact, they suck. As far as efficiency goes, I’d trust organizing an event to an Italian bureaucrat before trusting it to an American Democrat. But they’d uphold the rule of law over Trump because they have a political interest in doing so. The DNC desperately needs to be reformed. They need better candidates, a better economic approach, a better everything. But they’re also the only ones who can stop our government from spiraling out of control come 2018. I’ve never endorsed one party over another (in general; obviously not on here, this thing is brand new) because I really, really, really can’t stand the Democrats at a national level. But I’ll be voting Democrat and you should too, for the simple reason that it could stop our nation from sliding into further madness (well, Trump madness; it’ll just be a different, but more manageable madness with less existential angst under the Democrats).

Does being conservative mean anything anymore?

I think the biggest mistake that David Koresh made wasn’t being anti-government, pro-gun, religious, or having sex with multiple teenager girls. Obviously, his biggest mistake is that he didn’t wait until 2017 to reveal all of this and then run as a Republican.

At least, that’s my take from the way Republicans have gone from a party of “family values” to a party of, “See if this shit will stick to the wall and if it does run it as a candidate.” They went from the moral majority, to the party that stood against the sexual predator Bill Clinton, arguing we needed morality in the White House and government, to the party that ran a guy for president who had interviews with Playboy, was thrice divorced (but did not live in a van down by the river), and openly admitted to affairs and sexual assault. But, maybe that was just a phase.

It wasn’t a phase. Roy Moore, running for senate in Alabama, has…look, you know the story, I even wrote about it previously. Now, to be fair, it’s not like anyone could have known all this about Moore would have come forward, except…oh…well...I mean, other than people saying, “Oh, yeah, we all knew.” Roy Moore is basically Wooderson from Dazed and Confused. Roy Moore For Senate, “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

To the credit of the GOP, pretty much every major and minor leader and multiple organizations have all split ties with Moore. Granted, they were looking for a reason to do it anyway and they’re not exactly his biggest fans, but they are justifiably asking for Moore to step down. Any criticism of the GOP should probably be reserved for things they actually deserve (like their tax plan). But the “conservative media” and many conservatives on Twitter and Facebook are furious, absolutely angry and ready to revolt. Not because of Moore’s alleged statutory rape, oh no, but because the GOP is upset about Moore’s alleged statutory rape. Because nothing says “family values” like having sex with underaged girls, right?

This most recent controversy and the right’s embrace of Trump points to a bigger problem within the typically conservative movement, which is that they’re not conservative. The few supporters of Moore are certainly far-right and right wing, but I’m not sure I’d classify them as conservative. To be a conservative would require you to have principles and to not give into pragmatism, or power politics. A conservative would stand for whatever is right no matter what, because that’s old fashioned ethics right there, and old fashioned ethics is what conservatives are supposed to be about.

But we use the word “conservative” in the US like it still means something when it doesn’t. Standing up for Trump’s sexual indiscretions and boorishness and then supporting Moore even though he’s likely a pedophile flies in the face of the traditional sexual ethics that most conservatives would support. Even outside of social issues, the modern “conservatives” aren’t really conservative. Look at the most recent GOP tax plan, which effectively raises taxes on the lower and middle class while lowering it for the wealthy, but also doesn’t do a lot to address government spending. That’s not a conservative stance. Yes, conservatives want to lower taxes, but they want to lower them for everyone, especially the poor and middle class. Classical conservative principles would call for a tax cut for everyone in addition to cutting government spending. But the GOP tax plan looks more like something that’s right-wing, but not necessarily conservative.

My point being, conservative commentator’s coming to the defense of Moore betrays the fact that these people aren’t actually conservative, but are far more interested in power. They’d happily run the Devil if they knew he’d win. They’d perform an abortion on live TV if they knew it could get them a tax cut. They’d burn down 1,000 churches if it got them votes. These modern “conservatives” have no principles, so by definition they can’t be conservative (which is ultimately reliant upon principles and nothing but principles). And I say all of this as someone who isn’t conservative – I just know what a true conservative looks like, though they’re more endangered than the polar bear.

And I say all of the as someone who isn’t conservative or a Republican. People will play the “what about” game and point to the Democrats, but I’d happily argue that they abandoned their principles in 1992. They gave up the working class to pursue rich donors and, what’s more, they gave up their mantra of “women’s rights” to blast the multiple women who went against Bill Clinton. They proved they don’t care about women’s rights when they willfully protected a sex predator. But the Republicans can’t smugly look at that and go, “Ha, stupid Democrats!” because they’re doing the exact same thing (with Trump, not Moore).

The Republicans have put power over principles and they will eventually suffer for it (the Democrats took that route back in 1992 and look at where they are now). Our nation suffers because we have unprincipled people in power. The irony of ironies is that principles and strong convictions are what allow for effective compromises in law making. People have firm ground on which to stand, so they realize certain concessions must be made to fit the overall picture. When politicians pursue power, the people suffer. When a politician pursues power he cannot compromise because it would diminish his brand. He’d be viewed as weak, so he must remain strong in the face of adversity. And that’s why I think David Koresh would have made a perfect candidate in today’s climate.

 

On sexual perversion and the people we like

 

At this point it seems the real news is when some famous celebrity or politician isn’t accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. The latest perpetrators only add to an ever-growing list: Roy Moore, Louis C.K., and I’m pretty sure Barney will be up there at some point in the next week.

The reactions have been…interesting…to say the least, especially concerning Roy Moore. But I’m not here to talk about 30-something year old men trying to date 14 year old girls, nor about Joseph and Mary, but rather about something that isn’t being covered in all the claims of sexual exploitation: None of this is new and what’s more is we’ve known about it for quite a while. I’d venture to guess that the human race has been aware of the sexual exploitation of women since we were able to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate sexual behavior; so we’re talking around 100,000 years, give or take.

We all sit there aghast that [insert celebrity/politician I like] could possibly engage in such behavior, but silently sit there in glee when [insert celebrity/politician I don’t like] is accused of sexual indiscretions. We all know what I’m talking about, but I want to use my favorite Twitter punching bag – Joe Walsh – as the PERFECT example of what I’m talking about. For those who don’t know, Joe Walsh is what would happen if the shit stain in your underwear became self aware and grew into a human form. He hates The Liberals™, The Gays™, The Blacks™, and Hillary Clinton©. So when Hollywood’s sex scandals started blowing up last week, he had this to say:

That was November 1. But yesterday, November 9, when talking about Roy Moore (who he supports):

So he took the hypocritical route – shocking – by quickly accepting the claims against Hollywood actors, but then denying the claims against Moore.

But he’s not alone on this as people tend to do this all the time. But in the Moore controversy as well as the Hollywood controversy there’s something major that’s missing in all the discussions: There are victims here. See, in the game of chess that is US Culture War we don’t actually care about the victims of these acts, we care about the gossip from these acts. We care that Roy Moore had/has(?) a thing for 14 year old girls because it means a disgusting politician will (hopefully) not be elected. But we don’t really care about the victims, only so far as they’re useful to our cause. We care that Kevin Spacey harassed and assaulted young men because it shows how depraved and disgusting Hollywood is. But don’t expect us to throw any concern to how those guys are doing now.

To some extent, this is expected because the perpetrator is known and the victim is unknown (and sometimes should remain unknown). But the level to which we do this actually prevents further progress in our everyday lives. We see what these politicians and celebrities do and rightly chastise them, but do we then turn around and go, “Could I have made someone sexually uncomfortable?” We don’t dare ask if we know someone who has assaulted women, and we will never ask if some of our own actions could possibly be construed as sexual harassment or sexual assault. See, we love to reflect on the sins of those in the news when the reality is this should cause some massive introspection for all of us.

This brings me back to a previous point: The claims of sexual assault are nothing new. If anything, we’ve known about it forever and accepted it as a cultural thing. We say “boys will be boys,” or we tell young women (or even young men) not to be prudes, to be open in their sexual experiences, all the while we’re only validating the predatory experiences they’re suffering. Some of us might think we’re suave when we’re flirting with a woman, but she could take it not only as uncomfortable, but as threatening. Our own ego and lack of introspection, our lack of looking at how we come across blinds us to how we might make others feel. What it boils down to is this idea that we’re somehow entitled to a sexual encounter with another human person simply because we have the desire; it’s like the whole “nice guys finish last” mantra. I’m sorry, but what about being nice guarantees you anything from a woman (or a guy)? If you’re being nice to get something out of the person, then you’re not being nice, you’re being a Capitalist, you’re bartering.

So we should take these very public accusations seriously, we should have judgements for the men and women accused of being sexually inappropriate. But we should be ever so careful, because unless we’re allowing these incidents to open us up to some self-reflection, we’re only helping to perpetuate a culture that devalues people (specifically women) to nothing more than their sexual purpose.

The sloth is being used because they just look like sexual predators. Look at him, I mean really look at him; he creeps me out.