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Category: Politics

On Slut Shaming Melania Trump

There is a curious response to the sharing of nude photos of Melania Trump via social media wherein a certain type of liberal commenter immediately jumps to the conclusion that she is being slut shamed. I understand and appreciate the underlying impulse, but it is wrong.

Take this meme, for example…

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Personally, I have no problem whatsoever with this photo in terms of provenance or content. It was not hacked nor was it shared by an angry ex-lover; it was the product of a photo shoot for a French men’s magazine, clearly intended for public consumption. There was no expectation of privacy surrounding her participation in this photo shoot, which she was paid for. Indeed, as far as I am aware, none of the racy photos of the soon-to-be First Lady currently in circulation come from sources that could be characterized as illegitimate.

As far as content…well, again, I just have no problem with anything I’m seeing here. I see two beautiful women locked in a sensual embrace. I have no problem with people displaying their nude bodies. I have no problem with people engaging in sexual acts between consenting adults. I have no problem with homosexuality. In other words, there is nothing to be ashamed of here. If I share it, as a person who has no moral objection to its content, I am not shaming anyone involved in the photo.

So what about the sort of person who thinks a photo like this is something to be ashamed of? What of the people who buy into and perpetuate the idea of sluttiness as a construct? It is only from their perspective that sharing this photo might be called slut shaming. The goal of sharing it is to make them confront it from their sexually repressed little corner of the universe…the corner from which they so often like to judge some people but not others.

I celebrate this photo, just as I would celebrate a similar photo involving Michelle Obama if such a photo existed, which it does not. My position is 100% consistent in all real and imagined versions of reality. The same cannot be said for those on the other side of the political spectrum.

It is important to note here that the reverse situation would very much be slut shaming. A hypothetical conservative citizen who views such things as morally repugnant who shared, as the above meme imagines, a similar photo of Michelle Obama would clearly be motivated by a desire to debase her in the eyes of likeminded fellow citizens.

Both beauty and shame are in the eye of the beholder. As liberals, we are not responsible for the shame that conservatives attach to the naked human form, to homosexuality, to guilt-free participation in sexual activity of various kinds with various partners of various genders. If they are ashamed of what they see here, perhaps they should have objected to it with the same vociferousness with which they happily attack the LGBTQ community with words, actions and pieces of legislation.

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If It’s Not About Race, It’s About Greed

I have long argued that there are just two plausible explanations for low- to middle-income whites supporting the kinds of conservative economic policies they’ve been supporting for the last few decades. The first is that they’ve bought into the myth of the welfare queen and are so opposed to letting imagined hordes of lazy brown people hold a penny of their tax dollars that they’re actually willing to turn down programs that would help their own families prosper.

The second is that they fervently want and firmly expect to be wealthy themselves one day and therefore want to ensure that when that day comes the government won’t coming creeping around with it’s grubby little hands, redistributing their hard-earned dollars downward [to hordes of imagined brown people who lacked the skill or stamina to make it up the ladder].

The second explanation (sans the parenthetical) would be rational if not for the fact that the conservative economic policies they’ve been supporting are the steel-toed boot that has long been on the neck of all working people. They are the very thing that has prevented these economic angst-laden Trump voters from getting ahead, staying ahead, or even staying afloat—let alone getting rich. (Hey, but at least they also kept brown people poor too, right?)

In other words, non-wealthy white people enabled the mega-wealthy to keep an historic amount of their money without understanding, apparently, that doing so necessarily makes it harder for non-wealthy people of all colors to get more money; their desire to eventually, hopefully, someday, maybe hoard cash has made it impossible for them to get cash to hoard.

So even if we pretend for a moment that Trump’s popularity was not driven in very large part by active and latent racism alike, we are still left with a group of voters whose real or perceived economic disenfranchisement is something they vociferously consented to until they didn’t anymore, at which point they got extremely pissed at all the wrong people and turned to a deranged demagogue and admitted serial sexual assaulter who promised to double down on the same policies.

Oh, but he also promised to kick out some brown people, make life harder for some other brown people, prevent some brown people from coming in altogether, and just generally acted as a bright orange manifestation of their collective outrage over the fact that they’re not filthy rich yet and thus can’t take advantage of the policies they were duped into supporting for all these years.

You want it to be easier to keep up or get ahead in America? Stop breaking up unions, start demanding minimum wage increases, rebuild and fortify the social safety net that protects your family when the factory closes, support stronger regulations on banks, fight to make college affordable for your kids, stop letting big Pharma and the insurance industry profit from your suffering. In other words, stop voting for Republicans. Oh, but here’s the thing: you can’t just make it easier for white people to get ahead. That’s called apartheid.

There’s just very little room for empathy here. It’s either about race or it’s about maniacally aspirational greed. Or it’s about both. None of these explanations even remotely excuses voting a manifestly insane and ignorant clown into the White House.

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THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN: CONFIRM MERRICK GARLAND NOW

Donald Trump won the electoral college and thus the presidency.

Hillary Clinton, however, currently holds a lead of more than 400,000 in the popular vote.

Mitch McConnell’s rationale for blocking Merrick Garland’s nomination was that the people should have a voice in selecting Antonin Scalia’s replacement. While that was utter and unprecedented bullshit to begin, the people have indeed spoken—and Garland must be confirmed before any subsequent Trump nominees will be considered.

Even if Clinton had lost the popular vote, it would still be true that the GOP had effectively stolen a nominee from Barack Obama, but under the circumstances the theft would be all the more egregious. Nearly half a million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump.

It is clear that whatever voice McConnell and his Senate colleagues wanted the people to have in this process weighs decisively in favor of confirming Garland, a consensus candidate who was praised by Democrats and Republicans alike prior to his nomination.


Confirm Merrick Garland now, you obstructionist fucking dicks.
 
Confirm Merrick Garland now, you racist motherfuckers who regarded President Barack Obama as illegitimate from the moment he was elected, twice, in both the electoral college and the popular vote.
 
Confirm Merrick Garland now, you noxious pack of hypocrites who are now led by a patently ignorant bigot and admitted serial sexual assaulter with ties the Kremlin.
 
Confirm Merrick Garland now.
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The Little Boys Who Cried Bitch

Here’s something every moderately sane and/or intelligent person knows by now: Donald Trump is a uniquely dangerous candidate for President of the United States.

We’re not talking about the standard dynamic wherein each side thinks the other side’s candidate would be a terrible choice based on policy differences and partisan disdain. No, this is different. And even Republicans are starting to come around to understanding that now that they’ve heard him say “pussy,” “fuck,” “bitch,” and “tits.” (Never mind that his contempt for women and just about every other non-white male demographic you can name has been well known for ages—he crossed the line when he was caught on a hot mic using a few of the seven dirty words.)

So now we’re hearing a lot of variations on “I won’t vote for Hillary Clinton because I think she would be catastrophic for this country, but I won’t vote for Donald Trump either.” This reveals a deeper well of cowardice than it’s probably even possible to articulate, but let me just make a couple points about it.

First, grow the fuck up. Stop your insipid whining, grab yourselves by your pussies and/or balls, and make a goddamned adult decision based on the valid options in front of you. One of these two people is going to be President of the United States and you don’t get to take your toys and go home just because your party liquid-shit the bed when your wife came home while you were having meth-addled butt sex with an underage prostitute.

But I understand why they’re walking this line and that brings me to my second point: I have often said that while Democrats think Republicans are greedy, bigoted, sexist, and wrong about almost everything under the sun, Republicans think Democrats are evil. That’s partly due to the fact that a lot of them actually believe more concretely in the concept of evil because of their religious inclinations, but on a practical level it’s also just the weapon Republican operatives and politicians have chosen to carry into battle.

And so they’ve spent decades condemning Hillary Clinton (and countless other Democrats) in language that is just manifestly ridiculous. What they mean by “catastrophic” is “less-than-ideal within the normal range of political discourse and disagreement.” They’ve left no room on the good-to-apocalyptic spectrum to describe something worse than Hillary Clinton, even though they’re now tacitly acknowledging that Trump is worse than Hillary Clinton.

They’ve been bringing napalm to a game of chess. They’ve attacked her in language that makes it impossible for them to now deal honestly with the reality that their candidate is an unhinged maniac who endangers the republic while she’s just a politician they don’t care for who they must now admit is the infinitely superior choice and who must be elected to the highest office in the land.

It’s a twist on The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf. This particular little boy cried wolf every time a certain little girl came anywhere near his flock. He regarded that little bitch as a threat to his job security (she did have her eye on the position) and also he just found her to be super fucking annoying, so he tried to get the villagers to shoot her every time she came around. Fortunately, the villagers knew she was just little girl and not a wolf.

Well go figure, a goddamned wolf came along one day and ate the little boy’s fucking leg off and mangled his ugly face and already deformed genitals and now the only person left to finish off the wolf and save the boy and the flock is the little girl because the villagers are drunk and sleeping. Or some shit like that. I’ve lost the thread of the metaphor, but you get my drift…

We get it. You don’t like Hillary Clinton. Sorry, not sorry. You fucked up. You fucked up bad. Donald “Grab Em By The Pussy” Trump is your party’s nominee and standard bearer. You don’t get to pretend anymore that she’s a wolf. You get to suck it up and do whatever needs to be done to clean up the mess you created—and that means telling Americans to vote for Hillary Clinton.

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It Is Your Patriotic Duty To Humiliate Trump With Your Vote

610602226Surely you’ve taken a moment or two at some point to consider the Baby Hitler Time Travel Paradox which asks, obviously, “If you had a time machine, would you go back and murder baby Hitler?” It’s an interesting little thought experiment but also maybe a little dangerous and probably your answer ought to be “no,” because baby Hitler wasn’t guilty of anything and, also, importantly, was a baby.

If you’re going to murder baby Hitler, you should probably also take out millions of acquiescent citizens of Germany and the world who stood by and let that shit get horrifyingly out of hand. And that, I think, is really what the question is asking us to think about. Are there maybe things short of time traveling to kill babies that we can do to stamp out hatred and prevent terrible things from happening like, say, genocide?

For example, if you could go back to 1930 and, knowing then what you know now, deal a decisive and humiliating blow to the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (the Nazis) simply by lining up behind the Social Democratic Party, which stood the best chance of holding the line against Hitler, rather than wasting your vote on one of the other four niche parties—would you? That seems like a pretty easy call to me.

Or maybe, if you could only go back as far as 1932, you’d tell Thälmann and Duesterberg to fuck off in order to give von Hindenburg, whatever quibbles you might have with the man, a more decisive victory over Adolf Fucking Hitler in order to prevent him from gaining the clout he needed to be appointed chancellor?

I’d like to think I’d do that much to prevent the extermination of six million Jews.

Now look, I’m not saying Donald Trump is baby Hitler, but at the very least he’s an intellectually and emotionally stunted baby-man who, even if he’s not really the dangerous bigot he plays on TV, could very easily get a lot of people unnecessarily killed accidentally. 

Personally, I think he’s a empty vessel filling himself up with and then spouting whatever hateful nonsense will make a bunch of cranky old white men erect for the first time in decades. But he’s spouting it nonetheless and thus represents the very worst of America and humanity and is giving fresh energy to ideas that should have been taken out behind the barn and clubbed to death a long, long time ago.

If you are a person who agrees with the assessment that Donald Trump represents something simultaneously old and new, something frightening and potentially calamitous, then I’m here to tell you this:

You have a patriotic duty to humiliate this motherfucker into the dark ages with your vote. 

I would much rather be telling you why I think Hillary Clinton will make a terrific President of the United States—and I do—but that is way beside the point now. She will win and she will make a terrific President of the United States—but winning is not enough.

I don’t give care one bit what you think Clinton’s flaws are. They pale in comparison and, more importantly, they don’t represent a corresponding cesspool of aggressive hate in the electorate. We must stamp out this racist, sexist, low class, low information flame. We must crush it with the force of a hundred billion drunken make-up fucks. An America that defeats Donald Trump decisively is objectively a far better America—morally, intellectually, politically—than an America in which he comes within a hundred miles of the White House.

And no, I’m sorry, but a vote for Dumb Gary or Kooky Jill doesn’t cut it. Perception is everything: Clinton 45/Trump 43/Johnson 11/Stein 1 looks like a close shave; Clinton 60/Trump 40 looks like we resolutely rejected this big orange pile of festering hot shit and everything he claims to stand for. I would like to think we could do even better than that, but I won’t get too hopeful.

We must deal the death blow to his ego that the Republican Party couldn’t muster. We must show the fringe lunatics supporting him that they truly are the fringe. We must make it clear that this is not welcome here. We must put this rabid dog down or it will come back to bite us in the ass.

So please accept this phenomenally reasonable bargain. No time machines, no baby killing—just a vote against dangerous demagoguery before people start getting hurt.

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The Political Revolution Is Dead! Long Live Politics!

So, on your way to the camps, I want you to know that I just couldn’t get myself to vote for that woman because I hated everything about her. I’m sorry you’re going to have to live in a detention center for a while, but her voice, you’ll have to agree, is really irritating. Hopefully they let you out in two to three years when we figure this all out, like he promised.

That’s an excerpt from “On Your Way To The Camps, I Just Want You To Know…,” Aaron Loeb’s stunning modernization and twist on the famous poem that ends “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” You should absolutely read the entire piece.

Loeb said eloquently something that I’d like to now be more direct about.

Yes, I’m an old man. Well, I’ll be 40 in November…so, you know, I’m not a millennial. I’ve striven these last nine months to not spend every waking moment screaming the political equivalent of “Get the fuck off my lawn you stupid fucking douchebag kids!” (Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent some time doing just that, but I’ve tried to restrict myself to select private Facebook arguments.)

It’s time to embrace the curmudgeon who lives inside of me.

Look, anyone who has a lot of time on their hands could (privacy settings permitting) go back through my personal Facebook page and see that I’ve been nothing short of a blisteringly loud-and-proud, socialist-atheist, far-left liberal nut for all of my adult life. I’ve been particularly loquacious around the issues of wealth inequality, systemic racism, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. My positions on other issues are every bit as libtardy as Sean Hannity would expect.

I am also a voracious consumer of information. My liberal beliefs were not inculcated in me during my childhood; I came by them honestly—after 13 years of Catholic education—through books and newspapers and periodicals and conversations and speeches. I’m not a genius, but I am very well informed.

I am also, as the title of this blog suggests, exceedingly and virulently rational. It is the rationalist in me that knows the following things:

At the macro level, there are two ways to change the things we don’t like about our society—politics and revolution. Politics and revolution are not compatible; revolution is practically the opposite of politics.

Revolution only happens if and when a critical mass of people in a society determine that things are so bad that they’re ready to sacrifice everything they have to go out in the streets and fight for a better future for those who will come after them. The things they might have to give up include but are not limited to jobs, possessions, time, blood, sweat, tears, money, regular showers, regular meals, family, friends, their lives, and maybe—just maybe—even Netflix.

Not voting is not a revolution.

Voting for a third party candidate is not a revolution.

Saying you’ll reluctantly vote for the “lesser of two evils” is not a revolution.

For reference, anything that might rightfully be called revolution probably involves you breaking a sweat.

Short of revolution, we have politics. Politics is a big, cumbersome, frustrating thing that requires cumulatively more sustained attention and effort over a longer period of time, but far less dramatic and immediate sacrifice. It requires patience and cooperation and compromise. Politics frees us up to pursue our lives while devoting as much or as little extracirricular time and energy as we so choose to the work of shaping our society through activism, speech, volunteerism, donating and voting.

Politics requires a capacity for delayed gratification. Now I get that you want to jizz in this particular sock right this very second, but unless you’re ready for actual revolution you’re going to have to slow your fucking roll and wait a minute.

I know…Bernie didn’t win so you want a third party and/or the Democratic establishment to learn a lesson and/or Hillary to coddle your delicate, fragile fucking ego by pandering to every boutique issue you’ve cared about for the last three minutes and/or whatever it takes to validate your newfound rage against a system you had precious little interest in or knowledge of until a bird landed on a podium and you saw Jesus—but again, unless you’re so angry that you’re ready to get off Facebook and go be an unwashed hippie in the streets, those are ridiculous requests that you can shove.

Politics is fundamentally a struggle between two poles that correspond to the the extent to which we think government should play a role in the lives of its citizens—i.e. liberalism argues for a robust role for government, conservatism for a minimal one—and at any given point in time the question is essentially whether we want to inch to the left or the right. (Please see this fantastic Twitter thread from @SheWhoVotes for more on this subject.)

The question is not whether we want to leap to the left or the right; politics simply doesn’t allow for leaps. In fact, our system was specifically designed to prevent such leaps so that we would not be susceptible to waves of reckless and shortsighted populism. It is called incrementalism and it is what has made our system incredibly stable over time. It’s why you have a tiny computer in your pocket that will find you someone within a one-mile radius who wants to fuck.

There’s just one small but important thing we have to do to keep the system stable: not elect an ignorant psychopath.

If an ignorant psychopath had secured the Democratic nomination (unlikely given the rules governing the Democratic primary process), I would be arguing that it would be better to inch to the right than elect that person to the highest office in the land—and that’s essentially what principled, intelligent Republicans are saying right now. They’ve done the cost-benefit analysis and determined that they’d rather lose a little ground to the left than hand the nuclear codes to a deranged clown with Tiny Penis Overcompensation Syndrome.

More importantly, they’ve determined that they have a better chance of reaching their long-term goals by working to elect someone they have despised for decades and with whom they disagree on just about every issue you can think of. And make no mistake, they’re counting on you to minimize the leftward inching by depressing voter turnout and ensuring that Clinton doesn’t have the mandate or the votes in Congress to get much of anything done.

It’s time for you to do the math and realize that you have an even better chance of reaching your long-term goals by working to elect someone you’ve hated for whatever short span of time you’ve been paying attention to politics but who agrees with you on at least 90% of the issues you care about—and that you have the ability to maximize the leftward inching based on the extent to which you rally support and drive voter turnout in this and every other election.

It’s time for you to quit the pathetic fucking pity party over Bernie and act like a grown ass person who understands that sometimes we have to make choices that don’t boil down to a) the best thing ever and b) the worst thing ever.

If you actually care about the things you say you care about, it’s time to start acting like it.

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Deplorables In Disguise

14237511_10154455047669804_6064811346713249621_nAmong the basket of interesting things I encountered on Day One of my drive along I-90 from Spokane, Washington to Milwaukee, Wisconsin were: the continental divide, a sign for the 33rd Annual Testicle Festival in Clinton, Montana, and the fun fact that a 26-foot Penske rental truck packed with all of one’s earthly belongings and towing a car can’t do much better than 30 miles per hour on an incline of any degree greater than 0%.

I also encountered Linda the Cashier.

I pulled my rig up to a diesel pump at the The Town Pump truck stop in Three Forks, Montana and discovered that there was a confusing array of fuel choices at this establishment—diesel #1, diesel #2, 50/50 diesel, diesel exhaust fluid. Unsure how to proceed, amateur truck driver that I am, I went inside to seek guidance from the friendly staff.

And the staff was friendly—especially Linda the Cashier. When the first attendant I spoke with couldn’t answer my stupid question, she referred me to Linda. Linda was happy to explain, “You want diesel #1 because it’s not winter yet, honey.”

Seeing that this process was new to me, Linda forewarned me that I wouldn’t be able to pay at the pump and asked me how much fuel I’d like. Not yet sure how much the truck would take, I asked if I could just prepay $100 and have the balance refunded. “Sure,” Linda offered, “but just so you know, honey, depending on your bank it can take a little while to put the money back on your card.”

Then my card was declined. It turns out that my bank had grown suspicious of my debit card’s travels and needed me to verify some transactions to prevent fraud. All the while, Linda was exceedingly patient with me. I stepped to the side and let another customer step up to transact with the lovely Linda.

That’s when the following interaction occurred:

Customer: [out of the clear fucking blue] Well, it’s just like Obama says – none of us should even have jobs, we should all just sit around like bums and take government checks.
Linda the Cashier: [full throated and matter-of-factly] He’s not even a citizen.
Customer: Like he’s ever held a real job in his life.
Cashier Linda: [Looking around to make sure she’s being heard.] He’s not even a citizen. He’s not even a citizen.

I steeled myself, realizing that I was in the wrong place to get into a debate about the President’s provenance. It’s not that I don’t know these people exist—I do—but it’s always a shock to the system to hear these things uttered aloud. My blood boiled and I honestly had to take a few deep breaths before stepping back up to complete my fuel purchase.

Yes, I thought about leaving. Instead, I calmly and politely told Linda “I doubt that it will matter, but I want you to know that I’ll be contacting Town Pump to let them know that they have an employee who actively and repeatedly questioned the citizenship of the president of the United States in front of customers. Have a nice day.”

But here’s the point I really want to make about this experience: Linda the Cashier is exactly the sort of person the Trump campaign is defending in their manufactured furor over Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment. They say that Clinton is “viciously demonizing hard working people like you.”

You know…people like hard working, sweet-as-honey, corn-fed, church-going charmers like Linda.

Feel the phony indignation:

NEW Trump TV ad responds to “Basket of Deplorables” comment by Hillary Clinton

NEW Trump TV ad responds to “Basket of Deplorables” comment by Hillary Clinton NEW Trump TV ad Trump TV Ad Deplorables Deplorable Attack Ad Hillary Clinton Basket of Deplorables Donald Trump 2016 General Election Television Ads Campaign Racist Sexist Homphobic Racism Sexism Pepe Alt Right 4chan AntiMuslim Syrian

Here’s the conundrum. Yes, in her everyday life, Linda is a real slice of home-cooked apple pie in the eyes of those who encounter her (just as she would have remained in my eyes had I not overheard this idiotic exchange). And in that extremely limited sphere, they’re 100% right.

But Linda the Cashier is also a deplorably ignorant fucking bigot who is actively making America a more hateful, less functional, more dangerous, less prosperous place. I suppose we could argue about whether it’s Linda herself who is deplorable or Linda’s ideas that are deplorable—but that strikes me as a distinction without a difference.

On the surface, the deplorables are paragons of American virtue. Beneath the surface, they believe very stupid, very noxious things:

  • Two-thirds of Trump supporters believe Obama is a Muslim
  • 59 percent of Trump supporters believe Obama was not born in the United States
  • 40% of Trump supporters believed that blacks were more “lazy” than whites and nearly 50% believed blacks were more “violent” than whites
  • A substantial portion supported banning LGBT people from the United States

The deplorables are out there—and they look and act like Linda the Cashier. Pointing to however many characteristics they possess that are not inherently deplorable is not a valid defense against their ghastly views. Their positive traits do not outweigh their hatred of non-white people. Their work ethic does not cancel out their support for hateful, discriminatory policies. Linda’s folksy smile does not mitigate the harm done by her execrable worldview.

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Cleveland Steamer

Cleveland Steamer \ˈklēv-lənd\ \ˈstē-mər\ — colloquial term for a form of coprophilia, wherein someone defecates on someone else’s chest.

We hope you enjoyed Hyperationalist’s first commissioned piece of art. We’re very happy with the the work of the artist, a gentleman who prefers not to be named because…well, because we asked him to draw a picture of an elephant shitting on Uncle Sam’s corpse.

We think the image speaks for itself.

Now please follow us on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook for more of this shit.

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Omar Mateen Was Not A Terrorist – He Was A Loser With A Big Gun

I need to expand just a bit on something I wrote earlier in the week.

The Orlando LGBTQ massacre was not an act of terrorism—irrespective of how one chooses to define the word, by which I mean this: conservatives tend to define violent attacks by brown people from the middle east as terrorism, while liberals are rightly concerned with expanding that definition to include any instance in which, as Wikipedia puts it, violence is used “in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim.”

Omar Mateen had no political, religious, or ideological aim. This was a murder-suicide. This was an act of self-destruction masquerading as an act of martyrdom.

Omar Mateen was gay, this much has become clear. Unfortunately, in addition to whatever psychological disorders were present, his religion fostered, as many religions do, a deep resistance to and hatred of his own inherent homosexuality—and thus the existential anguish of deep self-loathing. This led to a life of lashing out and hurting others until he could bear it no more and began to look for the exit strategy that would make him feel important for the first and only time in his life.

This makes religion a proximate cause, but not a proximate motive.

That he chose to pledge allegiance to ISIS at the end is no more significant than if he had declared a mandate from the Supreme Intergalactic Ambassador for Zarabathia Quadrant Four, Zone Forty Seven. He was a nobody, with no connection or commitment to any stable political, religious, or ideological organization or philosophy, playing war games in his head as an escape from the misery of his reality.

And this is extremely important because it is manifestly distinct from the type of intellectual radicalization that leads to real terrorismBy calling Omar Mateen’s horrific act “terrorism,” we are elevating (degrading?) the act to a status that makes the future commission of similar acts all the more attractive to delusional loners looking for glory. We are granting the dubious prestige he claimed for himself even though he lacked the credentials—and inviting others to do the same.

Of course, we’re only really inviting brown people from the Middle East to do the same, aren’t we?

Remember James Wesley Howell? He was the guy arrested near the Los Angeles Pride festival last Sunday with a trunk full of guns and explosive material, just as the nation was reeling from the news of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

It remains unclear exactly what Howell intended to do in Los Angeles, but here are two things we do know: he was on the run from charges that he molested a 12-year old girl and he has had homosexual relationships but “He didn’t like anybody to know about it,” according to an ex-boyfriend who also claims that Howell had been violent with him. In other words, he was a similarly troubled loner savagely smashing his way through a life he couldn’t make sense of.

There are other white guys who fit this bill and who achieved their aims to greater and lesser extents, but the parallels and timing here are uncanny. James Wesley Howell could have been Omar Mateen and vice versa; that one “succeeded” and the other “failed” does not preclude us from comparing the two—and the salient point of comparison appears to be shame over their shared sexual orientation.

Omar Mateen’s shame may well have originated in harsh disapproval of homosexuality within his religion of birth (Islam), but it might just as well have been informed by the pockets of virulent anti-gay sentiment that persist in his nation of birth (the U.S.)—and so it is especially hypocritical for certain conservatives to point to Islam’s view of homosexuality as evidence of Mateen’s radicalization while ignoring the role that domestic homophobia may have played in either case.

There was no radicalization. Neither had anything resembling a coherent goal tied to any kind of political, religious or ideological set of beliefs. And so the problem is not, as some would argue, that we fail to refer to guys like James Wesley Howell as terrorists; the problem is that we insist on referring to guys like Omar Mateen as terrorists. This sets them apart as a separate and transcendent threat, one that is not inextricably connected to the issue of guns.

But it is entirely about guns.

One can sympathize or not with the set of psychosocial factors that drove these guys to their respective fates, but one cannot make the case that either of them should have had access to guns, let alone big guns, given what was already known about them before last weekend. It was not masterful planning or international support that made Omar Mateen’s pathetic denouement so deadly—it was just a very big gun in the hands of an unhinged loner.

James Wesley Howell also had some very big guns and was able to keep them while on probation for pointing a gun at a neighbor. And there are others like him out there—ticking time bombs with arsenals in their basements and garages and trunks. And they all have different fears and frustrations driving them inexorably toward acts of violence against gays, co-workers, minorities, children, you, me, our families.

Now, please come ‘Like’ Hyperationalist—the page that brought you the satirical petition to allow guns at the GOP convention—on Facebook for more anti-gun, pro-reason content. 

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Literally Everything Donald Trump Says About Orlando Is Fucking Wrong

First, there was the tweet that was reviled around the world:

Trump is insinuating that his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States was prescient and could have prevented the attack. Given that the shooter was born in the United States 29 years ago, it is difficult to see how a 2016 ban on Muslims entering the United States could have prevented an attack that occurred two days ago. Unless Trump has a time machine, this is fucking wrong.

But also, he’s fucking wrong about the genesis of the shooter’s hate. It is becoming increasingly clear that Mateen was a closeted homosexual who hated himself so much that he needed to kill dozens of happy, un-closeted homosexuals on his way out of a life he couldn’t bear. Yes, he turned to the extreme voices in his religion for justification, as many Christians and Muslims have done before him. Unless Trump can show that anti-gay sentiment wasn’t the prime motivator here, it doesn’t matter what religion the guy subscribed to and Trump is fucking wrong.

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Donald Trump with NRA Executive Director Chris Cox and Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre.

“If you had some guns in that club the night that this took place,” Trump said, “if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn’t have had the tragedy that you had.”

The problem with this is that Pulse is a nightclub where alcoholic beverages are served and consumed into the wee hours of the morning. In Florida, as in most states, it is illegal to have guns in such establishments. Unless Trump is advocating a change in the laws concerning guns and booze, this is fucking wrong. 

Finally, Trump insinuated that President Barack Obama might be a Trojan Horse who was in on the massacre, stringing together the following sentiments in a Fox “News” interview this morning:

[Obama] doesn’t get it—or he gets it better than anyone understands. It’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable…

This is a mentality, this is a state, and you have thousands of shooters like this with the same mentality out there in this country and we’re bringing thousands and thousands of them back into the country..This could be the all-time great Trojan Horse…

We’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart or he’s got something else in mind—and the something else in mind.

Yes, Donald, Barack Obama came here as a brainwashed child from Kenya for the sole purpose of ascending to the presidency so that, in his last year of office, he could somehow conspire to kill scores of homosexuals with one closet-case loser who was able to purchase an AR-15 last week despite having been investigated twice by the FBI for “possible links to terrorism.” Unless Trump has evidence that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim terrorist and/or that the shooter’s access to guns isn’t a more likely explanation, this is fucking wrong. 

Also, the Big Orange Man has failed to mention James Wesley Howell, the white man who was found near the Los Angeles Pride Festival, “sitting in a car registered in Indiana and a search turned up three assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, ammunition and a 5-gallon bucket with chemicals that could be used to create an explosive device,” according to CNN.

Sure, Howell didn’t end up killing anyone, but it sure looks like he wanted to—and given the temporal proximity of his arrest to the massacre in Orlando, one would think that maybe it would be important to discussing the parallels between homegrown hate and what Trump perceives as foreign hate (even though he’s fucking wrong about that). He’d rather paint Barack Obama as foreign than face the reality of domestic terror.

James Wesley Howell doesn’t fit into the Narrative of the Other that Trump is pushing. We don’t yet know Howell’s motive, but from the color of his skin we can guess that it was not related to Islam and so Trump doesn’t feel the need to address another incident in which homosexuals appear to have been targeted. But what will he say if a white person shoots up another bunch of gays, or another abortion clinic, or a mosque full of praying Muslims? Trump’s failure to talk about James Wesley Howell is fucking wrong. 

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