The Good Liars confront Trump supporters

Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler are two comedians who call themselves ‘The Good Liars‘ and pull political pranks such as attending a rally for serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) and then yelling “boring” and saying that they “came here to be entertained” before they were escorted out. In the clip below, they do something similar to what Jordan Klepper does, and that is attend an SSAT rally in Greensboro, North Carolina and talk to the people waiting in line to get in.

The convoluted ‘reasoning’ of SSAT supporters is a source of endless fascination. Listen (first at the 4:58 mark and then again later) to the guy who insists that he has no problem with gay people existing (how generous of him!) but objects to how the gay community is forcing their lifestyle on everyone. When pressed by Selvig as to specifics as to how the presence of gay people adversely affects him, he of course could not say, but then finally resorts to saying that nowadays gay people are everywhere in the media, even in cartoon shows, and hence he feels oppressed.

I wished that Selvig had asked him whether, by that same logic, the much greater prevalence of heterosexual people in the media meant that heterosexuals were forcing their lifestyles on everyone else and oppressing them.

In another case, the duo interviewed school book banners and got them to confront the fact that the Bible is full of the kinds of things that they claim to deplore in books.

Film review: My Scientology Movie (2015)

I am both fascinated and disturbed by cults. Fascinated because of my interest in the psychology of the kind of people who are drawn to cults and then get indoctrinated, and disturbed because of the often tragic consequences that ensue to them and their loved ones. One of the most pernicious cults is the highly secretive Church of Scientology, notorious for the reports of how they exploit and abuse cult members and viciously attack anyone who manages to escape from their clutches, not to mention anyone that seeks to shine a light on them. As a result, even some of the people who have escaped are too frightened to talk publicly about what they went through.

This article in Vice gives the account of someone who managed to escape the church and describes the methods they use to suck people into it and what life was like once you had been recruited. The person is disguised and has their voice altered because of fear of being recognized by the church and hounded.

More comprehensive treatments can be found in the 2013 book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright and the 2015 Alex Gibney documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief based on that book. I wrote about this cult before and reviewed both the book and the film.

In an interview at the Sundance Film Festival where the film was screened, Gibney and Wright discuss how they were fascinated by the question of how it could be that people who were smart and idealistic and caring, by no means simpletons, could get sucked into an organization that was so exploitative and abusive. These people, once they left, were themselves shocked at how they did not see what was so obvious to them now.

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The ridiculous Tesla cybertruck

You may have seen photographs of the Tesla cybertruck. It is a hideous vehicle that looks like something in a futuristic dystopia.

It is the brainchild of Elon Musk and has had to be recalled because of a dangerous problem.

Tesla recalled all Cybertrucks Friday after federal safety regulators contacted the company over malfunctions with the vehicle’s accelerator pedal. New Cybertruck orders have been reportedly cancelled or stalled. The news follows numerous reports of embarrassing Cybertruck failures.

Cybertruck owners reported that their vehicles were at risk of getting stuck driving at full speed due to a loose accelerator pedal. Video showed the pedal itself falling off and the piece beneath wedging itself into the car’s interior, which would force the vehicle into maximum acceleration. One driver was able to save himself from a crash by holding down the brake pedal.

The Cybertruck, which has long been a pet project for Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO, began deliveries in late 2023 after years of delay due to production problems and battery-supply constraints. Since then, numerous failures in the vehicle’s design and function have ranged from embarrassing to outright dangerous.

The trucks – which Musk once claimed would be the “best off-road vehicle” – have been shown getting stuck in sand, snow and dirt, with one towed away by a Ford truck. Some owners have reported their new Cybertrucks have simply stopped running completely. Many have complained the truck’s stainless steel exterior rusts easily, and one owner said the windshield broke quickly in a hail storm. Musk himself claimed the car was bulletproof at its unveiling before cracking its window with a steel ball thrown by hand.

It looks like the cybertruck will not meet the EU’s safety and quality standards and so will not be sold there. Lucky Europeans! We in the US will have to deal with this monstrosity on the roads.

Here is a brutally funny review of the cybertruck, explaining why only Musk fanboys who have bought into his shtick are likely to buy this piece of trash. Astonishingly, apparently two million people have paid deposits to buy one, that will take between eight and thirteen years to be delivered to them.

College presidents, student protests, and major political issues

There has been an outpouring of student protests at university campuses in the US as a result of the unfolding atrocities in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. Many of those protestors have been condemning the horrific situation in which tens of thousands of Palestinians have been bombed, shot, and starved to death. Since it is Israel that has been behind these attacks, there is always a thin line between protesting Israeli government actions and attacking Jews. Antisemitism is reprehensible and should be condemned as much as Islamophobia or indeed any attack on people that is not due to their actions but is based on their identity, whether it be ethnicity or religion or gender or sexuality or nationality. But it has too often been used to try and silence criticisms of Israel.

Some groups, including members of congress, have tried to shut down criticisms of Israeli policies and actions and of Zionism (which is a political stance) by equating those with antisemitism and have strongly pressurized university presidents to crack down on anti-Israeli protests and have refused to take seriously their difficulty in trying to balance the rights of students to protest while at the same time protecting individual students from harm. The presidents of Harvard and University of Pennsylvania tried to make that delicate case but some members of congress were determined to make an example of them and they were forced to resign as a result of this pressure.
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How Trump can make money from his money-losing social media company

Serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) has had his Truth Social company go public by merging with a publicly traded shell company Digital World Acquisition Corp. Under the deal SSAT owns nearly 79 million shares, about 58% of the total. While the share price peaked at $79.38 on March 22, making his shares worth about $6.3 billion, it has since dropped precipitously, and as of yesterday was trading at $33, making its worth about $2.6 billion.

David Cay Johnson writes that the true value of the stock in Trump’s company is zero since it lost $58 million last year and had revenues of just $4 million with no sign that revenues will rise. Johnson says that because the stock is highly over valued, it is the target of so-called ‘short sellers’, who make money by betting correctly that a stock’s price is going to fall.
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Arizona GOP digs an even deeper hole on abortion

The ruling by the Arizona supreme court that an 1864 law that purportedly bans all abortions even in the case of rape and incest has created shock wave in GOP politics. The only exception is to save the life of the woman but, as has been pointed out, this is not as clear cut as it appears to be. It is not always evident at which point the woman’s life is in danger and doctors fearing prosecution may wait until they think death is imminent, which could well result in death or serious complications.

Even serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) and the GOP nominee for governor Kari Lake have said that they oppose the law although embarrassingly for Lake, just two years ago she enthusiastically supported the very same law, even referring to it as section 13-3603, its specific legislative number, showing that she knew exactly what she was supporting.
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John Oliver on executions

The program was especially powerful in making the case why the death penalty should be abolished. The practice is so shameful that the manufacturers of the drugs used in lethal injections have refused to allow them to be used for this purpose so states that implement the death penalty have resorted to extreme secrecy to hide the name of the companies that they have mange to persuade to give them the drugs.

The investigative team at Last Week Tonight have identified a company that is not an authorized drug manufacturer but is the secret supplier to states of one such drug.