They’ll keep vibrating until they explode

Have you noticed that Republican politicians have all jumped on a particular bandwagon?

There’s a simple explanation: it’s the electorate.

Although…these two phenomena are in a rather intense feedback loop. Why are the voters lying awake in fear? Because the politicians keep obsessing over it.


  1. hemidactylus says

    It’s been over 20 years since 9-11 so keeping people fearful of Muslims and that tiny minority of people enacting sharia law in the precious Heartland has gotten more difficult to sustain. Targeting trans people means a more novel and helpless target for a couple elections cycles or so.

    Oddly some of the prominent atheist reactionaries who also stoked anti-Muslim flames are now foaming at the mouth about trans people and went from fighting Islam and Christianity to the the new made up danger of “woke religion”. These atheist reactionaries aren’t much different than Desantis and his freedom caucus…Moms for Liberty ilk. Both subsets were influenced by ideologues like Chris Rufo and James Lindsay.

    I think the authoritarian right is playing this game using rules crafted by Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt (eg- the friends-enemies dynamic). The reactionary atheists OTOH are merely trying to stay relevant as worn out tropes of Islam and the pesky accommodationist faithiests have lost their selling power.

  2. moonslicer says

    Talk about naive. (“Who me?”) (“Yeah, you!”)

    With the collapse of the Soviet Union, I thought the US might enter a new golden era. The long hated and feared enemy was defeated. Americans could relax, they could put paid to their exhausting and irrational struggle. They could focus on building a more just and prosperous society, contribute to the building of a more just and prosperous world, etc., etc.

    I wasn’t thinking, was I? What were they going to do without someone to hate? Well, they’d just find somebody else. It’s not as if the irrational mob is suddenly going to become rational and sensible. The leopard isn’t going to change his stripes.

  3. hemidactylus says

    @3- moonslicer
    I those halcyon days where we were lunging into the inevitable end of history…market fundamentalism (sensu Soros) which was kinda captured I presume by Francis Fukuyama. Trilateralist Samuel Huntington (a friend of Zbig’s) had warned of a civilizational clash which would as it actually happened eventually become convenient but not deliberate (fuck truthers) fodder for the Dubya admins. The balanced budget Slick Willie era ended.

    Yeah a bogey is needed. Though the right is overall ambivalent about Tsar Vlad (some are fans), they still have the ChiComs and still haven’t quite gotten over “losing China”. Sad for Formosa. The McCarthy cultural daemon is able to multitask, fomenting paranoia about both China AND woke mobs at the same time.

  4. StevoR says

    Scapegoats and distractions. They always gotta have scapegoats and distractions to displace and reflect and hide the real threats which they are or paid by.

    This time the unlucky targets of their baseless hysteria and hate are Trans people.

    Becoz different and strange to many people and today’s easily demonised minority right now as usual.

  5. wzrd1 says

    That’s OK, I suspect that I finally found the source of one of their bogeymen. The litterbox in the bathroom bullshit actually did have a real event, a quite sad reason and it just took since 1999 to be mutated into a useful weapon to divide us together.
    Yes. that was intentional.
    Back in 1999, when we finally had recovered from the satanic cults that overran and depopulated invisible, I mean innumerable schools (hey, that’s actually accurate, as one cannot enumerate negative numbers if you are innumerate), the tragedy of Columbine happened. In reaction, one school in the entire land had a lockdown plan that had buckets with litter in them for the students to relieve themselves should the school be attacked by a shooter.
    Obviously, pissing in a bucket full of litter is bad, teachers should’ve just sent the kids into machine gun nuke alley to use their bathroom or something. And besides, “your a commie” remains a refrain even today.

    The right has precisely zero solutions to any problem, so they hawk their only product: fear. They will protect you from that which they told you to fear and thus happily preserve the purity of essence of the loyal (to them) American.
    Remember, these are the same assholes who branded the ACLU as communist and still do, as rights are a commie thing. I even had one spittle spewer tell me that, when I mentioned the Bill of Rights was championed by no less than George Washington, “George Washington was a commie too!”. Those listening to the exchange laughed at him and walked away.

  6. jsrtheta says

    The Right, which has always flirted with insanity, is now barking mad.

    And openly dangerous.

  7. KG says

    Oddly some of the prominent atheist reactionaries who also stoked anti-Muslim flames are now foaming at the mouth about trans people – hemidactylus@2

    Ophelia Benson, for one, started foaming at the mouth about both around the same time – shortly before she departed these shores. And I don’t think there’s anything particularly odd about it: some atheists who were posing (even to themselves) as progressives found a hate group or two to target, and released their inner reactionary. Christopher Hitchens died before fanatical (rather than routine) transphobia became popular, but I’ll bet he’d have gone with it.

  8. robro says

    The first one is right on. As noted, the second one is contingent on the first one. But all together they miss one thing — Where’s the money? I’m pretty sure it’s behind the curtain.

  9. raven says

    Targeting trans people means a more novel and helpless target for a couple elections cycles or so.

    Trans people are ideal for mindless haters and bullies.

    .1. There aren’t very many of them.
    There is no point on picking on a large segment of the population.
    Because they can and will defend themselves and fight back.

    .2. Trans people don’t have much in the way of legal protections from discrimination.
    What rights they do have are being continually attacked by the GOP/fundie xians.

  10. HidariMak says

    There seems to be two main roads that politics can take. It’s either…
    1. sufficiently sum up a threat to the national interests, and propose your plan to address that threat.
    … or…
    2. jingly keys.

  11. StevoR says

    @wzrd1 :

    Remember, these are the same assholes who branded the ACLU as communist and still do, as rights are a commie thing. I even had one spittle spewer tell me that, when I mentioned the Bill of Rights was championed by no less than George Washington, “George Washington was a commie too!”. Those listening to the exchange laughed at him and walked away.

    Huh. Jesus was kinda Communist long before Marx too yet they literally, well at least claim to, worship him too. Whiklst ignoring almost everyuthing that ancient Judaean actually supposedly said in New Testament. For all we know, and it ain’t impossible, Jesus was even a trans man himself! I mean if Monty Python’s life of Brian has taugh us anything it’s just how easily a fake beard can make a beliveable passing man. I mean the most fmaous ever Nazarene never married or had kids, showed an extraordinary amount of empathy for women and outcasts at the time – even those durn heretical Samaritans – and tax collecters so.. who knows? Maybe? We can’t even really be sure he existed at all so.. can’t rule it out.

    Anyhow. Yeah. Sweet bebe trans Jeebus..

  12. says

    It’s a shame that the targets of this obvious strategy – “conservative” voters – can’t see it for what it is. Humans keep chosing the worst examples of humanity to lead them. Why isn’t evolutionary psychology explaining that?

  13. says

    It is difficult to tell which is worse: the rtwingnut xtian terrorist hate mongers or the gullible sheople who are triggered by them. Sadly, when you look around you and read carefully, you will see humanity has made no meaningful progress toward being a decent, caring, enlightened society. And, I think most will agree with my postulation that human society is mostly a terrible, murderous failure.

  14. says

    Just had an odd dream last night. Yes, this is on topic, more or less.
    I was sitting in the back row in some sort of classroom, full of people, when a guy comes in and walks around in front of the class. Everyone was oohing and ahhing like he was somebody famous. I didn’t recognize him and was wondering who he was that everyone would fawn over him so. Then he walked over to the blackboard and wrote his name in cursive–Kid Rock.
    Then, with a smug smile on his face, he left the room. At that point, I asked with a little anger in my voice, “he’s not coming back, is he?”
    Everyone turned around and stared at me like I had said some ghastly, horrible thing. “Hey, I don’t like the man or his music,” I said. “I mean, for one thing, he’s a goddamn transphobe.” This seemed to satisfy everyone, who maybe realized I had a valid point.
    Even in my dreams, I’m woke.

  15. wzrd1 says

    StevoR @ 12, I have fun with the antisemetic idiots, countering their drivel with a simple observation.
    “Well, Jesus was a Jew”.
    The ones with three or more functional brain cells then wander off in frustrated silence to kick rocks.
    The brain trust will exclaim loudly, as volume proves one’s points or something, “No, he wasn’t! Jesus was a Christian!”.
    I then slap the table, “No wonder he got into trouble! He ran around worshiping himself and telling everyone to worship him, because he worshiped himself!”.
    Yeah, they leave kicking a rock.
    I am surprised none wanted to try to start a fight, but then, at each closing, everyone in the room had turned against them.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    wzrd1 @ # 16: “Well, Jesus was a Jew”.

    Kindly recall the rebuttal to that line from the immortal Archie Bunker:

    “Only on his mother’s side!”

  17. says

    And WHY do politicians keep obsessing over it? One word: scapegoating. It’s obvious to most of us by now that, beneath all the Founding-Fathers-y rhetoric, EVERYTHING the Republicans have done for/to America since 1981 has been shown to be either an utter failure or a scam. They literally have NOTHING decent or substantive to offer anymore, but they can’t bear to admit that liberal-Democrats were right the whole time. So they really have no choice but to keep everyone distracted and divided with one imaginary boogeyperson after another, otherwise the people would call them out and soundly purge them from power and public life.

    And this is what the reactionary right in America have always done. When was the Ku Klux Klan created? After (relatively) liberal-progressives abolished slavery. When was the John Birch Society created? After liberal-democratic regimes thoroughly discredited and defeated fascism. When was the Tea Party created? After the next generation of fascists discredited themselves and a liberal Democrat — a BLACK liberal Democrat no less — got elected President.

  18. wzrd1 says

    Pierce R. Butler @ 17, true, his father being Roman. ;)

    Ray Ceeya, which explains nicely why Trump having a book with Hitler’s speeches on his nightstand didn’t hurt his popularity one iota and why Moms for Liberty tripled down on a Hitler quote.
    They back down only when they start taking HEAT rounds, as their armor is tissue paper thin. And Trump, his skin’s so thin as to be nonexistent.

  19. says

    Distraction and misdirection. I’ve been cataloguing since January (and should shift myself and post a list of them) how many cis hetero males in the US, most openly religious, have been arrested for sexual abuse of children or possession of Child Sex Abuse Material (aka child p@@@). It’s an average of more than two per day.

  20. John Morales says

    Perhaps now you should look for when they diverge from your own lineage, birgerjohansson.

  21. unclefrogy says

    I have been thinking about the conservative and reactionary people and the ones I have had any dealing with personally with and the thing that they all share is a kind of conformity that is all most obsessive.
    They must conform to what they see as the right way to be and do not like anyone else to be unconventional they have a difficulty with none conformity and always judge the none conformist negatively.
    any thing that is different is seen as a threat to what is . Even those who are “liberal” in some areas are very conformist in other areas, why are you growing a beard or black people not in “their part of town” a million other things you different like boys holding hands. It is no wonder that there is trouble when everyone must conform to such pointlessly narrow parameters on how to be
    I have noticed this ever since high school back in the 60’s. It always seems to go along with not questioning the familiar old re-assuring stories of their youth. the funny thing is all of the threatening non-conformist things gradually change and are not threatening as before. The only thing about that is it is very slow on it’s own and appears to need loud in your face confrontation to speed things along. The need to control everyone and force conformity is very strong in some and that fear of the none-conformist is used by the ruthless greedy and cruel to hold on to and acquire political power.

  22. microraptor says

    One observation I saw over the weekend regarding why Republican politicians started flogging transphobia so hard in the last year: the Dobbs Decision.

    With ending abortion no longer something they can use as a means of getting evangelicals to the polls, they’re desperately trying to push a new agenda in order to avoid having evangelicals fail to show up in 2024.

  23. StevoR says

    @17. Pierce R. Butler :

    wzrd1 @ # 16: “Well, Jesus was a Jew”.

    Kindly recall the rebuttal to that line from the immortal Archie Bunker:

    “Only on his mother’s side!”

    Wait, weren’t both Joseph the actual parental and responsible figure and sperm donor, and absent, deadbeat biological dad here the diety Jehovah, Jewish too?

    Admittedly, in “reality” (such as that may be in this case given mythology of whole thing) Mary was probly raped as a young child then lacking ability to abort with a father of unknown ethnic and religious background, likely Jewish too, but maybe Roman or any number of possible other groups.

    Respect to Joseph for taking the “Virgin” Mary in and not having her executed for adultery – as low a bar as that is.Then raising Jesus as his own kid although details on that are all very murky as. IF this plausible scenario is true then it seems likely that both Jesus and his mother where looked down upon disdainfully by the contemporary Judaeans of the time and maybe even his other family members perhaps causing him to feel more empathy for other outcasts and lower class people? (Kinda my headcannon – extrapolation mix here anyhow.)

  24. wzrd1 says

    Well, not quite addressing the question of whether or not Jehovah was/is a Jew, Jehovah isn’t exactly something that actually existed, apparently invented by one pope’s confessor.
    But, one never knows, maybe whoever He is converted and worships his son and himself or something. Not gonna explore that one, as I do have to draw my limit in defining circular thinking when its diameter falls below one Planck length.

    birgerjohansson @ 22, people butchering people?! Unheard of! Excuse me while I put my sword back into the closet…
    Hey, can someone toss me a packet of Soylent Green?

  25. microraptor says

    StevoR @26: IIRC, calling someone the offspring of their mother rather than their father was a fairly common insult at the time. Functionally, it was a 2000 year old version of saying “your mom’s a slut.” And IIRC that was the only thing said about Jesus’s parentage in the oldest Gospels. The part about the virgin birth didn’t show up until later, so it’s possible it was a case of someone trying to eliminate the insult (or missing the point of it), similar to the fictitious story about how Caesar Augustus ordered all his subjects to travel around to different cities so that Jesus of Nazareth met the prophecy of the messiah being born in Bethlehem.