Pete Buttigieg powers past Pete Davidson to become most popular Pete

Riding a wave of public interest in his campaign for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination, South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, recently surpassed Pete Davidson as most popular Pete.  Davidson previously held the top Pete position for 88 straight weeks with Dinklage, Frampton and Pan rounding out the top five.

Davidson dominated the most popular Pete category thanks in no small part to his highly publicized relationships with such celebrities as Ariana Grande and Kate Beckinsale.  No one is entirely certain what Pete Davidson does other than date famous women and appear on late night talk shows. Davidson’s connections to such famous individuals makes the ascendency of a midwestern mayor to top of the Petes even more improbable.

Many point to Mayor Pete’s inclusive, laid back politics and his marriage to former middle school teacher, Chasten Glezman, as the primary drivers of the mayor’s popularity.

“Pete picked a perfect partner for promoting his policies and presidential aspirations,” adds Pete’s publicist.  “Pete’s politics range from progressive to pragmatic, and his pointed attacks on the President and VP Pence have put him in an ideal position heading into the presidential primaries.”

Asked to comment on his slip to number two, Davidson only responded that he’s working on learning several new languages and considering dating a middle school teacher.

Peter Piper, the all-time record holder for number of weeks as most popular Pete, could not be reached for comment.

MAGA hats under attack

The following is the second installment in our A World Awash in Bullshit series.  I didn’t publish the first installment because the subject is such a powder keg of explosive bullshit that it’s not worth the trouble of posting.

From the “live but don’t let other people live, but instead fuck with them hard” file, comes a recent spate of attacks involving MAGA hat wearers.  No, it isn’t MAGA hatters run amuck, perpetrating hate crimes and leaving behind a trail of murder and mayhem. It’s folks going about their daily lives wearing MAGA gear and getting harassed and assaulted by so-called tolerant, anti-racism, anti-hate individuals for whom the first amendment apparently means, “freedom of speech, just watch what you say.”

Most recently, a Mexican-American woman was attacked in a California post office for wearing a MAGA hat.  The perpetrator, a woke white woman, taught this brown lady a lesson in racism by hurling insults at her and smacking her around.  We know this because the MAGA hat lady got it all on video.

This incident is just one of a number of attacks that have taken place just in the last few months.  In Massachusetts, a woman was arrested in February for battery and disorderly conduct after harassing a man and grabbing his MAGA hat.  In Oklahoma, a high school boy is confronted by another high schooler who takes his MAGA hat and his Trump 2020 sign and throws them on the floor.  This incident took place in the high school hall and was captured by cell phone video. In New Jersey, a 19 year old male threw an 81 year old man to the ground for the offense of wearing a MAGA hat.  The teenager faces assault and harassment charges.

Wearing MAGA hats while shopping resulted in one Kentucky couple being given the finger and having a .40 caliber Glock stuck in their face.  The perpetrator allegedly threatened, “It’s a good day for you to die.” He’s been charged with first-degree wanton endangerment. Even a sword wielding MAGA hatter who slashed another man’s hand in San Francisco was provoked when the man knocked his MAGA hat to the ground.  As he drew his sword, the MAGA hatter was heard to mutter, “You have besmirched my honor, rogue. Now you shall have a taste of my steel,” – not really.

These are just the incidents where charges were filed and/or the attacks were caught on video, and all happened within the last two months.  There are many other reported episodes of harassment. Try googling “MAGA hat attack”. Almost every result involves a MAGA hat wearer coming under harassment and assault by someone who’s going to teach them why Trump is so terrible.

Of course the feather in the MAGA cap event that preceded the ones described above involved a group of MAGA hat wearing teenage boys from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky.  One member of this group became the target of widespread media hostility and public antagonism from the left for allegedly smirking at a Native American. We now know the narrative the media originally spun was almost entirely false and that it was the MAGA teens who were the victims of racial and homophobic insults.  But what if the media’s original accusations had turned out to be accurate? Would the MAGA hatted teens really have deserved the media and public pile-on they received from folks on the left? Is it really okay to dox and advocate violence against a smirking teen who’s wearing a MAGA hat, or to call for their lives to be ruined?  Isn’t a high school kid, of all people, deserving of a break for an ill-advised smirk? I mean, he didn’t physically assault the man or even verbally assault him. Where is this MAGA hat derangement coming from? Personally, I can’t help but cringe every time I encounter someone wearing it. But there is simply no equivalence between the MAGA hat and a KKK hood or a swastika, so this is a call for people on the left to quit acting like a bunch of frightened lunatics when you see it.   

At this point, I wanted to launch into an impassioned plea for a more “live and let live” attitude by folks on the left.  I was going to hearken back to days gone by when the left was the place where tolerance and free thought found a welcoming home.  Where freedom of speech was sacred and people weren’t so convinced of their rightness and the other guy’s wrongness, or at least we could respect each other’s ideological differences.  

But then, like a song you can’t get out of your head, my thoughts were invaded by the shrill voices of scores of SJWs, LWIs, and woke activists shouting at me that I’m wrong.  Well they must be right, I thought, because they’re so damn loud and irritating. It’s a new day, there’s too much at stake. “There is no other side.” When you’re right, you know you’re right and the other guy probably knows in his heart he’s wrong.  So it’s not the time for “live and let live” anymore. It is the time for doubling down. It’s the time for total outrage and getting up in each other’s shit. Don’t just knock that MAGA hat off that guy’s head, defecate on it while it’s on the ground. That will probably convince them of their wrongness, and they’ll probably thank you for it.  “Dude, I didn’t realize I’d become such a white supremacist asshole. Thanks for shitting in my hat and waking me up.” And maybe he’ll turn around and shit in some other person’s MAGA hat and, in that manner, everyone will come together and all racism and inequality will be eradicated. And next time some heteronormative jerk starts saying something you don’t agree with, maybe you can just stick your fingers in your ears and yell “la, la, la, la, la, la” over and over until they stop talking.  You can even do it as a group at your university when they invite a bad person to speak who you don’t want to listen to.

Oh wait, you already do that.  My bad.

Slate writer plays three dimensional intersectional chess with Pete Buttigieg and the 2020 Democratic field

Better get out your intersectional scorecard.  In her Slate piece entitled, “Is Pete Buttigieg Just Another White Male Candidate, or Does His Gayness Count as Diversity?” Christina Cauterucci is handicapping the 2020 democratic presidential field.  For the voter playing at home, it can be a little difficult to rank the highly diverse field of candidates according to their identity-specific worldview. All of them generally fall on a scale that stretches from “run-of-the-mill white guy” at one end to “oppression olympics gold medalist” at the other.  If you were tempted to place Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay Democratic Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, anywhere on the spectrum above run-of-the-mill white guy, think again. According to Cauterucci, “in a primary for the overwhelmingly pro-gay Democratic Party, Buttigieg can be more accurately lumped in with his white male peers than with anyone else.”  

Got that, folks scoring at home.  Mayor Pete gets no oppression points for being gay. Cauterucci explains why in her piece, and it essentially boils down to he’s not gay enough.  His white maleness pretty much delineates all of his gayness. Cauterucci writes, “Buttigieg isn’t just gay–he’s also white, male, upper-class, Midwestern, married, Ivy League-educated, and a man of faith.  These other elements of Buttigieg’s identity all contribute to the image voters are being asked to evaluate, and they’ve each shaped Buttigieg’s life just as much as–if not more than–his sexuality.”

So the problem with Mayor Pete, as Cauterucci makes abundantly clear, is that he allows all these other aspects of his character, which she associates with white maleness, intermingle with his gayness.  If Mayor Pete just ran on his sexuality, then he could possibly break free of the run-of-the-mill white guy pack. Here’s a measure of how gay he needs to be according to Cauterucci: “Most people who are aware of his candidacy probably know he’s gay, but his every appearance doesn’t activate the ‘hey, that’s that homosexual gentleman’ response in the average brain.’”

What the hell?  I hear Mayor Pete is quite an accomplished piano player as well.  Does that mean he has to run around acting like Liberace or Little Richard to elicit the “‘hey, that’s that homosexual gentleman’” response?  Not to mention that, “Hey, isn’t he that homosexual gentleman?” sounds a lot like something my long deceased grandfather might have said.

Well, I guess you’ve got to credit Cauterucci for her honesty.  At least she’s coming out and saying she’s judging prospective presidential candidates first and foremost by their immutable, identity oriented characteristics.  If I’m following correctly, she’s asserting that at all times Buttigieg must be out there putting his gay self front and center, and his failure to do so makes him just another straight white guy.  In the world of three dimensional intersectional chess, content of your character be damned. Color of your skin, gender and sexuality are the criteria for which one is judged.

Thankfully, most Americans are more sensible than Cauterucci and her Slate colleagues. In a recent Quinnipiac University National Poll, Mayor Pete ranked in an improbable tie with Elizabeth Warren and only a few points behind Kamala Harris.  Also in that poll, 84 percent of voters said race is not an important factor, including 75 percent among black voters. Additionally, 84 percent said gender is not an important factor, including 83 percent among women.  One can only conclude that publications like Slate and writers like Cauterucci aren’t paying much attention to these polls, or they’re purposely writing for a small fringe minority as they aggressively push their identitarian agenda.  Perhaps this disconnect with the political mainstream accounts for why so many online news outlets like Slate find themselves laying off journalists and struggling to attract readers.

Michael Avenatti trades 15 minutes of fame for 15 years

Former Stormy Daniels attorney, Michael Avenatti, concluded his once meteoric rise to cable news superstardom today with a rather abrupt and uneventful collision with a pair of handcuffs.  The former darling of CNN and MSNBC was arrested on charges of extortion and bank and wire fraud.

Avenatti’s star, which had once shone so brightly in the cable news night sky, began its descent to earth when domestic abuse charges were leveled at him, and went into freefall when his famous client, Stormy Daniels, dropped him as her attorney.  It was at this time that scientists began tracking the burned out remains of his celebrity meteor as a near earth object with the potential to impact our planet at any moment. That moment arrived today with his arrest in New York.

Cable news networks and internet media outlets have been quick to distance themselves from the now disgraced attorney who they once floated as a potential 2020 presidential candidate.  Working with highly sensitive measuring devices, scientists detected evidence that the internet shrunk by .02367 percent today as media outlets scrubbed potentially embarrassing stories and videos lauding Avenatti from their websites and social media.  

At the White House this afternoon, President Trump, who was already walking on air after the Mueller report seemed to exonerate him of any wrongdoing, was spotted sashaying around the White House Rose Garden, singing to the birds and occasionally pausing to smell the flowers.  The normally dour Trump even cracked a smile as a robin nested and laid her spring eggs in his intricately woven mesh of golden hair which held its shape exquisitely. Trump was quoted as saying, “I didn’t even have to use my hair spray, I got to say it was a good day.”

Andrew Yang melts down at SXSW Q&A as young man asks if he can collect UBI in reefer

It seems people still have a lot of questions about Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s Universal Basic Income proposal.  Under the plan, the federal government would give $1000 a month free and clear to every American over 18 regardless of income.

At least one young Austin resident attending the SXSW Festival was a little fuzzy on the details of the plan:  “I have a question, Mr. once and future President Yang. Like, in my current situation I’m usually able to trade reefer for stuff like food or cash, but I can’t always trade cash for reefer.  Under your UBI plan, how would you address the hardships someone like me faces?”

“I don’t understand.  Are you asking me if you can collect your UBI in reefer payments?”

“Yeah, check it, bro,” the young man continued.  “If I were to collect $1000 dollars worth of cannabis every month from the government free and clear, the earning potential I could unleash from that package of weed would be nearly limitless.”

“You’re just going to end up smoking it all yourself, aren’t you?”  

“Probably.  I mean c’mon, bro, unlock my human potential.  What’s that old saying? Give a man a thousand dollars and he’ll eat for a month.  Give a man a pound of weed and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

“I don’t think that’s how that expression goes.”  said Yang growing visibly irritated. “Jesus, I offer you a $1000 a month for doing nothing, but that’s not good enough.  ‘No, I want to get paid in weed.’ It’s no wonder the robots are coming to replace you. It’s not a tall order. Reefer vending machines are already widely in use.  A self-driving, reefer-dispensing vehicle is coming to a corner near you. Someday reefer drones are going to rain doobies down from the sky, so your time is up, BRO!”

Robot apocalypse skeptic, Ezra Klein, unconcerned about Midwest job losses

On the subject of the looming Robot Apocalypse, Ezra Klein sounds a lot like a climate change skeptic.  But the threat of working Americans losing their jobs to automation is much more real and present than the oceans overtaking Miami and New York.  In an August 2018 Ezra Klein Show podcast, guest Andrew Yang, a Democratic candidate for president, lays out a pretty convincing case for why Americans should take very seriously the prospect of massive job losses due to automation.

“The reason why Donald Trump won the election of 2016 is that we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, the swing states he needed to win, between 2000 and 2015, and it’s about to get much, much worse because we’re about to triple down on the most common jobs in the US economy:  Administrative and clerical work, call center workers, food service workers, truck drivers and transportation, and manufacturing. Those five job categories comprise about half of American workers.”

Ezra Klein singles out the assertion that the midwest, and more broadly, areas of the country other than the coasts, have been the hardest hit by changes to the economy.  This is a sticking point for Klein so he “puts a pin” in this part of the conversation so he can “push back” on it later. You have to wonder why, with all that Yang is pointing out here, that this is a problem for Klein.  He asserts that people on the coasts are hurting as well, and just can’t bring himself to concede that the industrial midwest is particularly vulnerable and perhaps went for Trump in response.

Yang continues to deliver the bad news:  “It takes no great leaps of the imagination to see how this is going to play out over the next handful of years.  Google recently demonstrated software that can do the job of an average call center worker, and there are still two and a half million call center workers in the United States making $14 an hour….Ten percent of workers work in retail and 30% of malls are going to close in the next ten years….If robot trucks hit the highways in the next five to ten years, what’s going to happen to the three and a half million truck drivers and the five million workers that work in truck stops, motels and diners in small towns around America that rely on a truck stopping periodically.  These are the changes we can see coming that are completely predictable.”

The important thing to remember is that Yang is talking about a process that is currently ongoing.  He is not staring into a crystal ball. He is citing historical data, as well as economic and industry data that projects for the future.  He points out that companies are making massive investments in these new technologies. These companies aren’t gambling on the future, they’re building it.  Ezra Klein, however, seems unconvinced.

“I am a skeptic of this vision of the economy.  The robots are coming for our jobs thesis…does not seem to be showing up in our economic data…Am I seeing something in the unemployment numbers, something in the productivity numbers, something somewhere in the economic sentiment numbers, something where I can say, ‘hey I feel this but I’m not seeing it.  Everybody seems to feel this is true but we’re not seeing it.”

Here’s where Klein sounds like a climate change skeptic.  He’s arguing that because the catastrophe is not yet showing up in the numbers, he doubts that it will ever take place.  He’s like President Trump tweeting about a cold winter day and saying, “so much for global warming.”

Yang’s shown him that the job losses are already occurring.  Many large traditional retail chains are dead or on life support.  Nobody argues that American manufacturing hasn’t been devastated by automation for going on 50 years now.  Many of these displaced workers have opted out of the workforce or gone on disability. As Yang says, “Almost half the displaced manufacturing workers in Michigan and Indiana left the workforce and never worked again, and about a quarter of them filed for disability and never worked again.”  Yang further points out that 1 in 5 males of prime working age were unemployed over the past year. And don’t try to bring the opioid crisis into the conversation, because Klein refuses to acknowledge economic insecurity plays a role in that tragedy.

Klein argues, without evidence, that the transformation of the economy will occur over a large time scale, as if this assertion by itself undercuts Yang’s facts and projections.  “One thing I see in this argument is a jump between something is going to happen over time and something is about to happen all at once.” Klein points out that the transition from an agricultural economy to an industrial based economy didn’t produce economic calamity.  Fair enough, and we can only hope the same happens in this case. Perhaps our robot masters will find ways to make the humans useful, but as of right now, no one can predict where the next round of jobs will come from. What is predictable, though, are massive job losses.   

As the conversation winds down, Klein returns to that pin he stuck in the discussion on the topic of midwestern states feeling the brunt of automation.  “I worry that we’ve got in this narrative that everything’s great on the coasts and there’s something going terribly wrong in the center, and it just kind of flattens this very lumpy story of progress in our country way too much, and also creates a narrative of resentment that, on the one hand, isn’t helpful but, on the other, is a bit untrue.  A lot of people suffer in California.”

The listener might be inclined to laugh at the hypocrisy and contradictions contained in this statement if Klein himself, hearing the cascade of bullshit pouring out of his mouth, hadn’t already beat the listener to it.  During the conversation, as Klein repeatedly sings the virtues of the current economy, he eventually stops himself, chuckles, and apologizes because it sounds like he’s gushing over the Trump economy.

Regarding the unhelpful narrative of resentment, Vox Media’s bread and butter is crafting and maintaining narratives of resentment.  Over the past two years, few groups have been more resented and more maligned by the elite media than the midwestern Trump voter. Klein and his crew would have everyone believe these voters were motivated by racism when they, rightly or wrongly, went for the guy who promised to bring their jobs back.  While no doubt some are all about building the wall, it’s been shown time and again that many of these voters supported Bernie in the primary, and not hearing what they needed to hear from HRC, swung for Trump. It would be nice to take back Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in 2020, maybe even pick up Ohio.  But if liberal elites like Klein are unwilling to recognize people in those states that are hurting, we could be in for four more years of the unspeakable.