SAN DIEGO — Border Patrol agents rescued two children, a 5-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother, after they were abandoned along the U.S.-Mexico border in southeastern San Diego County this week, officials said. About 3 p.m. Monday, the agents spotted a man and a woman walking with the two children just south of the border near the community of Jacumba Hot Springs. The agents observed as the man and woman "hoisted" the children over large boulders in an area near the side of a mountain where the border wall ends, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jeff Stephenson said in a statement. When age...
I once lived next door to a guy in Memphis who owned more than a hundred firearms, some of which were strewn around his two-bedroom house and even lying on the kitchen counter. I saw them when he asked me to come over one afternoon to help him move his 700-pound gun safe.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Neil, as I'll call him, also kept two large dogs, one of which was a cane corso that was so unpredictable it couldn't be allowed near his two young children. Neil was a nice guy but perpetually anxious and nervous, which in turn made me uneasy about his family's safety. I worried about a gun accident or one of the dogs getting loose and mauling a passerby.
The fact is, there are a lot of Neils in America — white guys in a near-constant state of fear about their personal safety. And rather than being merely pitiful, guys like Neil are actually dangerous.
They're the hyper-armed neighbors with itchy trigger fingers, who are convinced they'll be the victims of a home invasion; who treat any Black or brown person as an imminent threat; who see foreign terrorists behind every bush; who believe the government is trying to poison them, plant a chip inside them, or take away their hunting rifles; who think that crime is far worse than it is and on the verge of spilling into outright anarchy.
For a particular type of frightened man, this fear manifests itself in bullying and performative machismo. You see this in many viral videos:
- a raging airline passenger denied a seat on a plane at Miami International Airport, who huffs and puffs and knocks over stanchions before throwing a weak punch that makes him fall over;
- a Los Angeles anti-masker, who looks as though he never exercises, wearing weightlifting gloves while standing outside and ranting that people should "sharpen their knives" and "get their guns";
- a personal trainer and Pennsylvania political candidate, Steve Lynch, threatening school board members by saying he'd lead "20 strong men in to remove them" because they'd voted for a mask mandate;
- several Williamson County, Tennessee, residents following health care workers out to the parking lot after a school board meeting and screaming threats that they "know where you live."
In foreign policy, this deep-seated insecurity results in chicken-hawk syndrome: men who couldn't be bothered to serve in the armed forces yet pretend to be steely-eyed gladiators if it means sending someone else's kids off to fight a war. But real American soldiers generally haven't been its biggest warmongers. In fact, like Dwight Eisenhower or John McCain, they've usually cautioned against cheap talk and artificial courage. The paper tigers, by contrast, talk a big game and seem to care only about superficial appearances.
Donald Trump is the poster child for this feigned valor. When an actual battle presents itself, he discovers bone spurs in his foot, but then years later crows about what a warrior he is. Anyone who's been around a loudmouth blowhard will recognize the personality: a wimp masquerading as a tough guy. As Jay-Z described the type in "99 Problems," he's "loud as a motorbike but couldn't bust a grape in a food fight."
That's the case for so many of these performers. Their bravado is all for show. But in advocating violence, hiding behind a mob or inciting mentally ill people, they can do damage.
Where does this troubling insecurity come from? It is no doubt stoked by the purveyors of outrage on talk radio, cult TV and social media. Fear sells — literally, in some cases — and it also turns out the vote and increases audience share. Talk about demographic change also appears to scare some white people into more racist attitudes. Couple that with feelings of inadequacy or weakness, and perhaps that's why noticeable numbers of American men act out with belligerence. Internet trolls are the most notorious exemplars of this angry, bullying behavior.
What can be done about it? First, it's important to stand up to bullies and not reward their tantrums. Second, we need to encourage people to participate in the political process but to do so peacefully. Once someone starts rejecting data or debate in favor of physical force, as the Pennsylvania political candidate did, it's time for the responsible adults to intervene and to remind him and other babies that violence and threats sabotage our democracy and won't be tolerated, because even bluffs are corrosive and inspire other copycats. And, third, we should treat these performances with the ridicule they deserve. They often issue from overcompensating man-boys who feel ignored and unappreciated. But there should be a social price for bad behavior, and mockery is a fitting response.
However we respond, it's important to recognize that their fear and anxiety make them dangerous and sometimes unstable neighbors. They're a public menace, so approach with caution.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, former president Donald Trump is working behind the scenes, trying to recruit a Republican senator to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his leadership position in the party.
Trump's relationship with the powerful Senate leader has been on the rocks for some time, and the president is still reportedly angry that McConnell did nothing to stand in the way of the certification of Joe Biden as the new president.
According to the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender and Lindsey Wise, Trump is now trying to take down McConnell -- but is finding no takers.
"Mr. Trump has spoken recently with senators and allies about trying to depose Mr. McConnell and whether any Republicans are interested in mounting a challenge, according to people familiar with the conversations," the report states. "There is little appetite among Senate Republicans for such a plan, lawmakers and aides said, but the discussions risk driving a wedge deeper between the most influential figure in the Republican Party and its highest-ranking member in elected office."
Stating the split between Trump and McConnell has widened since Trump's election loss, the Journal is reporting, "The feud between the two men threatens to splinter the party when Republicans could be building momentum in their bid to recapture control of Congress next year. As polls have shown Mr. Biden's approval rating dipping below 50% this summer—a troubling signal for Democrats' political fortunes—the two Republican septuagenarians remain divided over how to tilt the balance of a 50-50 Senate back toward their party."
Asked for comment about Trump's overthrow overtures, an ally of the former president said it was a non-starter with him.
"Naw, I'm not going to get in that fight," remarked Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) before adding McConnell "is doing a good job."
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Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday probed Eric Trump about the fallout from Nicki Minaj's unfounded suggestion that the Covid-19 vaccine could cause swollen testicles.
In a series of tweets last week, Minaj claimed that a friend of her cousin suffered from "swollen" testicles after getting the shot.
Bartiromo deemed the subject important enough to bring it up during an interview with the son of the former president.
"We saw what happened to Nicky Minaj this week," Bartiromo told Trump. "She's facing backlash for tweeting to her 22 million followers that a friend of her cousin had issues with the vaccine and now they're trying to cancel her."
For his part, Trump avoided talking about swollen testicles.
"They are trying to cancel everybody," he insisted. "They have weaponized the media. They have weaponized the legal system. And they have weaponized the judicial system. And they've weaponized the military."
"And if you speak out against them, if you disagree with them, they cancel you, they try and arrest you, they try and prosecute you," Trump continued. "It's amazing the kind of unjustice [sic] in this country. And America was always this country that stood for equal weights of justice on both sides."
He added: "It reminds me of a banana republic."
Watch the video below from Fox News.
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