An unsurprising result

I think most of us expected this:

In spring 2017, not long after President Trump took office, bullying rates among Virginia middle school students were 18 percent higher in places where voters had chosen Trump over Hillary Clinton, a study says.

There were no meaningful differences in bullying and teasing rates between Democratic and Republican localities before the 2016 election. But a statewide sample of more than 155,000 seventh- and eighth-grade students across Virginia’s 132 school districts suggested a correlation between voter preference and the rise in bullying after Trump was inaugurated.

They found that a 10-percentage-point increase in voters supporting Trump was associated with a 5 percent jump in middle school teasing because of race or ethnicity and an 8 percent increase in middle school bullying.

The paper is here. It includes this in their explanation for why they did the study:

Although rates of bullying have decreased since 2005 (Musu-Gillette et al., 2017), numerous media reports have claimed that racially and sexually related incidents are on the rise as a result of the 2016 presidential campaign (Bazelon, 2016). There have been more than 50 news reports of school bullying since the election in which students made statements linked to the newly elected president (Samaha, Hayes, & Ansari, 2017). The assumption of these reports is that the election of Donald Trump stimulated an increase in bullying behavior. The National Education Association (Blad, 2016), news analysts (Page, 2017), as well as experts on bullying (Juvonen, 2017) have characterized President Trump as engaging in bullying with his harsh and demeaning statements.

It is obviously difficult to demonstrate a causal link between statements by a public figure and schoolyard bullying. Nevertheless, there are incidents in which youth made threats and jeering statements that closely matched language used by President Trump (Thomsen, 2017). Such incidents are suggestive of the social learning model of aggression and classic studies showing how easily children model the aggressive behavior of adults (Bandura, 1971). However, skeptics have understandably questioned the evidential value of anecdotal observations (Kamenetz, 2016).

The President is a classic bully so it’s not surprising that some students might emulate him.

National emergency should mean impeachment

Democrats have said that they will not put funding for a border wall in the budget. President Trump’s response:

“We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. Absolutely. We can do it,” Mr. Trump said. “I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it. But we can call a national emergency and do it very quickly. It’s another way of doing it. But, if we can do it through a negotiated process, we’re giving that a shot.”

If the president calls a national emergency when there is no emergency to get money for something the Congress has specifically failed to fund, I would think that would be grounds for impeachment even if it’s technically legal. Really, this would be the act of a dictator.

It’s also important to note that the president doesn’t care about the federal workers not being paid:

Mr. Trump expressed very little sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of federal employees going without a paycheck, saying many of them support his agenda.

“This really does have a higher purpose than next week’s pay,” Mr. Trump said. “And the people that won’t get next week’s pay or the following week’s pay, I think if you ever really looked at those people, I think they’d say Mr. President, keep going. This is far more important.”

Really, he doesn’t care:

Trump seemed to display little empathy for the 800,000 federal employees who have been furloughed or are working without being paid, saying that most workers support the shutdown and that the “safety net is going to be having a strong border because we’re going to be safe.” For workers who will not be able to pay their rent, Trump suggested that landlords would “work with” them and that he would encourage them to “be nice and easy” on their tenants.

I wonder how he thinks they’re going to buy food?

Trump makes America polluted again

It’s difficult to see how bad the Trump administration has been on the environment until you see a complete list like the NY Times has put together. It’s a list of 78 rules that have either been revoked or are in the process of being revoked. None of the rules by themselves are too terrible but put them together and you get:

All told, the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could lead to at least 80,000 extra deaths per decade and cause respiratory problems for more than one million people, according to a separate analysis conducted by researchers from Harvard. That number, however, is likely to be “a major underestimate of the global public health impact,” said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health.

It might lead to an extra 8000 deaths a year, but it also might lead to higher corporate profits so who’s to say if it’s bad. Ok, I do.

Yeah, global warming is real

Donald Trump is being stupid again (or is that still) on Twitter:

Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?

And there’s no hunger in the world since I just ate lunch. Also, his government just released a report:

A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the U.S. economy by century’s end.

The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Donald Trump’s agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth.

Trump has taken aggressive steps to allow more planet-warming pollution from vehicle tailpipes and power plant smokestacks, and has vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, under which nearly every country in the world pledged to cut carbon emissions.

The report puts the most precise price tags to date on the cost to the U.S. economy of projected climate impacts: $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise and $32 billion from infrastructure damage by the end of the century, among others.

For some reason, President Trump didn’t tweet about the report. He ignores stuff that doesn’t reinforce his worldview.

Fucking vote

It’s election day tomorrow which means it’s time to do your civic duty and vote. Voting is the absolute least you can do to keep this experiment called democracy going, so vote. The difference between the two parties is the starkest in my lifetime so you have a clear choice.

 

Of course, I urge you to support the party that:

extended health insurance to tens of millions and put in safeguards if you have pre-existing conditions;

believes we can afford to give everyone healthcare like every other rich country;

isn’t supported by racists, sexists, and xenophobes;

believes Nazis and white nationalists are self-evidently bad;

doesn’t claim to care about the deficit and then give trillions to the rich and corporations;

doesn’t want to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid;

believes we should regulate the financial industry so they don’t cause another Great Recession;

supports a secular government as given in the Constitution;

believes in the science saying we are causing global warming and need to do something to stop it;

believes that renewable energy is not only good for the planet but will help our economy;

doesn’t tear children away from their parents;

believes we should follow international and US laws that say people have a right to ask for asylum;

thinks that LGBT are real people deserving of rights;

talks well of our international allies not our enemies;.

 

I could go on, but I urge you to vote even if you don’t agree with me.

Words have consequences

When asked if soldiers would fire on immigrants, Donald Trump answered that he hoped not but he said he told the military that if anyone threw rocks they should consider it a rifle. It seems the Nigerian army was listening:

The Nigerian Army on Friday shared a clip of President Donald Trump saying US troops would open fire on rock-throwing migrants to justify firing on and killing Shia protesters earlier in the week.

Nigerian troops fired on a group of roughly 1000 Shia protesters on Monday, killing over 40 people, according to Amnesty International and leaders of the march. Nigeria’s military has repeatedly been decried for ongoing human rights abuses, but the US government has continued to sell it warplanes and other military equipment.

John Agim, a spokesman for the Nigerian Army, on Friday said the video was released as a response to Amnesty International’s condemnation of Monday’s incident, The New York Times reports.

“We released that video to say if President Trump can say that rocks are as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International?” he said. “What are they then saying? What did David use to kill Goliath? So a stone is a weapon.”

Trump now says he didn’t mean the military would shoot anyone:

 “They do that with us, they’re going to be arrested,” he added. “There are going to be problems. I didn’t say shoot. I didn’t say shoot.”

As usual, I don’t know if he’s so stupid or if he thinks we all are–of course it could be both.

In related news, it seems the Army doesn’t consider the caravan much of a threat:

According to military planning documents, about 20 percent of the roughly 7,000 migrants traveling through Mexico are likely to complete the journey. The unclassified report was obtained and published by Newsweek on Thursday. If the military’s assessment is accurate, it would mean the United States is positioning five soldiers on the border for every one caravan member expected to arrive there.

‘‘Based on historic trends, it is assessed that only a small percentage of the migrants will likely reach the border,’’ the report says. It was prepared by US Army North, a component of US Northern Command, which oversees the mission dubbed Operation Faithful Patriot.

The President has decided that out and out racism will help Republicans next Tuesday. I certainly hope he’s wrong.

Hate week

This caps off a horrible week:

 Armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and at least three handguns, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire inside a crowded Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, killing at least 11 congregants and wounding four police officers and two others, authorities said.

The week started with news of bombs being sent to Donald Trump’s enemies:

 

a pipe bomb delivered via mail to an estate in Bedford, New York, belonging to billionaire liberal activist George Soros.
That same day, Sayoc, still under the radar of law enforcement, retweeted a post saying, ‘‘The world is waking up to the horrors of George Soros.’’

Additional packages followed, delivered the next day for Clinton and Obama and after that to the cable network CNN, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Vice President Joe Biden — and other Democratic targets of conservative ire.

In the middle of the bombs, a racist tried to bomb a church:

A white man with a history of violence and mental illness was recorded on surveillance video apparently trying to get inside a predominantly black church in Kentucky before he went to a grocery store and fatally shot two African-Americans, police said.

It was a horrible week but there have indications for a while:

‘‘Prior to the election of President Donald Trump, anti-Semitic harassment and attacks were rare and unexpected, even for Jewish Americans who were prominently situated in the public eye. Following his election, anti-Semitism has become normalized and harassment is a daily occurrence,’’ the report says.

The New York City-based ADL has commissioned other studies of online hate, including a report in May that estimated about 3 million Twitter users posted or reposted at least 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets in English over a 12-month period ending Jan. 28. An earlier report said anti-Semitic incidents in the United States the previous year had reached the highest tally it has counted in more than two decades.

And it didn’t stop President Trump from ramping up the Xenophobia:

 The Trump administration is planning to dispatch 800 more troops to the border at the direction of a president who has declared illegal immigration a ‘‘national emergency’’ and has been stoking fears about it ahead of the fast-approaching midterms just as he did before his own election.

He threatens to close the border, Republicans call a caravan of people seeking asylum an invasion, and obviously stupid conspiracy theories are now believed and acted on. It’s a depressing and frightening time.

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