Saturday, February 19, 2022

LGBT Americans Continue to Increase in Numbers

Even as the Republican Party and the Christofascists in the party base renew their jihad against LGBT Americans and seek to purge LGBT themed books from school and public libraries, the number of self-identified LGBT Americans is surging according to a new Gallup survey, particularly among the younger generations where nearly 1 in five say they are LGBT.  Try as they might, the Christofascista re losing this part of the culture wars and the GOP stands to further alienate younger voters. Hence the GOP effort to restrict voting rights and/or subvert democracy itself in America since otherwise over the long term the GOP is headed toward constant minority party status - a result that has been delayed due to the defects of the Electorial College and two senators per state which exaggerates the power of small, rural/backward states.  The take away from the Gallup findings is that the GOP and the Christofacists are waging a war against a growing portion of the populations.  One can only hope this ultimately isdetrimental to long term GOP prospects.  Here are highlights from the Gallup findings:

The percentage of U.S. adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something other than heterosexual has increased to a new high of 7.1%, which is double the percentage from 2012, when Gallup first measured it.

Gallup asks Americans whether they personally identify as straight or heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender as part of the demographic information it collects on all U.S. telephone surveys.

The increase in LGBT identification in recent years largely reflects the higher prevalence of such identities among the youngest U.S. adults compared with the older generations they are replacing in the U.S. adult population.

Roughly 21% of Generation Z Americans who have reached adulthood -- those born between 1997 and 2003 -- identify as LGBT. That is nearly double the proportion of millennials who do so, while the gap widens even further when compared with older generations.

Gen Z adults made up 7% of Gallup's 2017 national sample, but in 2021 accounted for 12% as more from that generation reached age 18 over the past four years. In contrast, the proportion of those born before 1946 has fallen from 11% in 2017 to 8%.

Since Gallup began measuring LGBT identification in 2012, the percentage of traditionalists, baby boomers, and Generation X adults who identify as LGBT has held relatively steady. At the same time, there has been a modest uptick among millennials, from 5.8% in 2012 (when some members of the generation had not yet turned 18) to 7.8% in 2017 and 10.5% currently.

The percentage of Gen Z who are LGBT has nearly doubled since 2017when only the leading edge of that generation -- those born between 1997 and 1999 -- had reached adulthood. . . . . Now a much greater proportion of Gen Z, but still not all of it, has become adults. The sharp increase in LGBT identification among this generation since 2017 indicates that the younger Gen Z members (those who have turned 18 since 2017) are more likely than the older members of the generation to identify as LGBT.

Should that trend within Gen Z continue, the proportion of U.S. adults in that generation who say they are LGBT will grow even higher once all members of the generation reach adulthood.

More than half of LGBT Americans, 57%, indicate they are bisexual. . . . Bisexual is the most common LGBT status among Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X, while older Americans are about as likely to say they are gay or lesbian as to say they are bisexual.

Overall, 15% of Gen Z adults say they are bisexual, as do 6% of millennials and slightly less than 2% of Gen X.

The proportion of U.S. adults who consider themselves to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender has grown at a faster pace over the past year than in prior years. This is occurring as more of Gen Z is reaching adulthood. These young adults are coming of age, including coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity, at a time when Americans increasingly accept gays, lesbians and transgender people, and LGBT individuals enjoy increasing legal protection against discrimination.

Given the large disparities in LGBT identification between younger and older generations of Americans, the proportion of all Americans who identify as LGBT can be expected to grow in the future as younger generations will constitute a larger share of the total U.S. adult population. With one in 10 millennials and one in five Gen Z members identifying as LGBT, the proportion of LGBT Americans should exceed 10% in the near future.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty


Friday, February 18, 2022

More Friday Male Beauty


The GOP Once Again Hopes to Ride the Culture War to Victory

For decades the Republican Party has used culture war issues to (i) motivate its base and (ii) distract its base from the reality that overall GOP policies are adverse to the economic interests of the vast majority of that same party base.   Reverse Robin Hood tax cuts which mainly help the 1% actually defund programs that aid the majority of voters.  The perenial use of "god, guns and gays" by Republicans is in full force and combined with a thinly disguised call to racist whites remenisent of Nixon's "Southern Strategy" in the guise of fighting "critical race theory" and erasing any unpleasant truths - and gays - from America's history.  Sadly, polls show far too many voters inclined to again fall for the GOP's voodoo economics and Democrats appear to have no unifying message to combat the GOP culture war machine.  Virginia's horrific election last November shows the dangers of not addressing GOP culture war sound bites and disinformation campaigns head on.  Meanwhile the left wing of the Democrats continues to grasp that winning elections is more important than remaining pure to ideology, not to mention that far left agendas drive away centrest voters.  A piece in Salon looks at the mess and danger facing Democrats.  Here are excerpts:

Democrats are already facing a potential red wave in this year's midterm elections — but November could turn into a virtual bloodbath if vulnerable incumbents don't respond to Republican "culture war" attacks, according to an internal Democratic poll.

A poll conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last month showed Democrats trailing Republicans by four points in a generic ballot of swing districts, even though voters generally support Democratic policies, according to Politico. But if Democrats don't respond to Republican culture-war attacks accusing them of supporting efforts to "defund the police" and "open borders," the GOP lead swells to a whopping 14 points, the survey found.

The DCCC warned battleground members that its research shows voters in those districts view the party as "preachy," "judgmental" and "focused on culture wars," according to the report. Republican attacks focused on public safety, critical race theory and parental rights in education have proven "alarmingly potent," warned a recent DCCC presentation.

The presentation did offer some hope to vulnerable House Democrats, finding that the Republicans' 14-point lead drops to 6 points if Democratic candidates hit back at GOP attacks. But with Republicans just five seats away from regaining a House majority, that might not shift the likely outcome.

Party officials in recent weeks urged Democrats not to ignore the attacks, pushing them to reiterate their support for police, reject policies of "open borders or amnesty" and talk about their efforts to keep the border safe instead, according to Politico.

The party's polling found that the Republican attacks are most effective with center-left voters, independents and Hispanics – groups that have begun to trend away from the Democrats in recent elections.

A growing number of Democrats also balked at the group's focus on linking Republican candidates to former President Donald Trump, a move that appeared to backfire for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in his loss to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin last November. The DCCC also backed a small group of House Democrats who insisted on passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill without attaching it to the Build Back Better proposal, a maneuver that effectively doomed Biden's dual-track effort by removing his leverage to pressure moderate members into backing the larger bill.

Maloney is now urging Democrats to drop their support for mask requirements and focus on efforts to support law enforcement and immigration restrictions. Some progressives, who would prefer to focus on turning out new voters rather than luring back moderates, say that kind of pivot isn't likely to win elections either.

The DCCC told members that policy solutions will not win them many races because "voters are not generally opposed to Democratic policies," according to Politico. "Rather, Democrats need to demonstrate they fully understand and care about stressors in people's lives" and focus on the issues "without stoking divisive cultural debates," the group said in a presentation.

Many Democrats have tried to focus on positive economic numbers, pointing to rising wages, GDP growth and improved hiring. But Republicans have sharpened their attacks by blaming Biden and Democrats for rising gas prices and inflation, which affect more people more directly.

"One thing that we know pretty reliably from political science is that economic performance, especially indicators like inflation, gas prices, are strongly predictive of the electoral success of the incumbent party," Josh McCrain, a political scientist at the University of Utah, told Insider. "If Democrats don't want to get absolutely destroyed in the midterms, they need to make it clear to voters that inflation is high but overall economic indicators are still good. That's a tough sell."

[S]ome progressives say Biden and party leaders need to do a better job of making good on their promises. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said that the president needs to follow through on his campaign promise to cancel student debt if he wants to appeal to a larger electorate.

"I can't underscore how much the hesitancy of the Biden administration to pursue student-loan cancellation has demoralized a very critical voting block that the president, the House, and the Senate need in order to have any chance at preserving any of our majority," she told The New Yorker. She urged Biden to use executive power to compensate for the stalled Democratic agenda in Congress, which she called a "shit show."

Don't expect morality or decency from Republicans - something Democrats must find a way to counter.

Friday Morning Male Beauty


Thursday, February 17, 2022

More Thursday Male Beauty


As Climate Change Worsens, Republicans Insist on Doing Nothing

A post yesterday looked at the findings of a new NOAA study that predicts a foot or more of sea level rise by 2050 pretty much no matter what is done to address climate change.  Beyond 2050, opportunity exists to make changes and slow or prevent what could be catostropic sea level rise by the year 2100. This is something that thinking residents of coastal areas - save brain dead Republicans - ought to take seriously since it will have very real impacts in the Hampton Roads area, including the nearby Poqouson area (a Republican stronghold) where tidal flooding is already a problem.  Add another foot to the sea level and flooding there and in other areas of the region will become much more prevailent and property values will fall.  Indeed, one reason the husband and I moved in 2020 was to move to higher ground given our former home's vulnerability to flooding which will only be exaserbated by another foot rise in sea level. Despite the reality of the future and the loss and/or diminution in value of coastal properties, as a whole the Republican Party wants to do nothing as it continues to stick its collective head in the sand and prostitutes itself to the fossil fuel industry.  A column in the Washington Post looks at this insanity.  Here are highlights: 

Back in 2008, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former speaker Newt Gingrich recorded a television ad in which they acknowledged their bitter political differences, but made a shared commitment on one critical issue.

“We do agree,” said Gingrich, “our country must take action to address climate change.” He added: “If enough of us demand action from our leaders, we can spark the innovation we need.”

Somehow, that new Republican understanding of the importance of addressing climate change never quite caught on. If anything, as the effects of climate change intensify, the GOP has become more committed to opposing any and all efforts to do something about it.

Let’s take a look at some of the latest major climate news:

    • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report showing that coastal sea levels will rise by an entire foot between now and 2050, “intensifying the threat of flooding and erosion to coastal communities across the country.”
    • A new study shows that the ongoing drought in the western states has made this the driest period there in 1,200 years.
    • The climate provisions in the Build Back Better bill are on ice, now that BBB has stalled amid lockstep Republican opposition. The Post reports that this has “frozen hundreds of billions of dollars in private capital” earmarked for climate projects across the country, which has “complicated America’s much-touted clean energy revolution.”
    • Republicans are trying to block President Biden’s nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin as chief banking regulator at the Federal Reserve. Why? Because she has advocated for the financial industry to do more to plan for the economic effects of climate change.
    • In Florida — where there is ample sunshine — Republicans in the legislature are working with the state’s largest utility to undermine net metering, the hugely popular system under which customers with solar panels send back surplus energy to the grid. Solar companies in Florida say if the bill passes, they’ll have to shut down and move to other states.

It wouldn’t be fair to portray the Republican Party as an absolute monolith on climate — a smattering of Republican officials here and there say they would like to do something on climate, even if their solutions always seem to include uninterrupted drilling and burning of fossil fuels.

And the Republican electorate has complicated views on the topic. Depending on how pollsters ask them, a majority of Republicans sometimes express concern about climate and support various ideas to reduce emissions. But by other measures, Republicans have actually grown less concerned about climate in recent years.

If that’s the case, it could be partly because the administration of Republican god-king Donald Trump was the most aggressively anti-environment in history.

Take the Sarah Bloom Raskin situation. The Senate Banking Committee isn’t filled with fire-breathing Republican culture warriors; . . . . But every one of them has joined in boycotting her nomination — not just voting against it, but denying the committee a quorum so it can’t take a vote at all.

What sane people like Raskin suggest is that the Fed help banks understand the risks climate change poses to their own stability, to limit economic fallout from future disasters, whether sudden or slow-moving.

For instance, in 2021 natural disasters caused $145 billion in damage, a figure that included 20 separate wildfires, hurricanes, floods and storms with price tags over a billion dollars. To say the increasing frequency of such events isn’t something banks need to prepare for is utterly bonkers.

Yet Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the committee, is waging a crusade against Raskin. . . . saying Raskin’s “demonstrated hostility” to fossil fuels is “unacceptable.” The other Republicans on the committee seem to agree.

So today, the consensus Republican position appears to be that even thinking about climate change in economic policy is a threat to prosperity, a stunningly upside-down perspective on the future of the economy. Meanwhile, the more liberal position within the GOP is essentially that while climate change is real and perhaps we shouldn’t actively work to make it worse, we shouldn’t do much of anything to make it better either.

This means that every step of progress we make on climate will only come after a fight. And with the power they wield, Republicans will make those fights as long and difficult as possible.

It's utter insanity, but insanity defines today's GOP.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

More Wednesday Male Beauty


A Foot or More of Sea Level Rise by 2050

While many Republicans continue to deny the reality of climate change, Senators Manchin and Sinema  block the Build Back Better bill with its climate change funding, and mindless suburban voters in places like Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Alexandria voted for the ignorance embracing GOP triumverate in last November's Virginia elections, a sobering report by NOAA and other agencies confirms that (i) climate change is real and (ii) America's coastal areas are facing at least a foot increase in sea level within the time span of new residential mortgages.  With this sea level rise will come more flooding, disruption of port facilities - which will impact right wing voters in the heartland through supply chain issues - and the erosion of property values.  The silver lining? If action is taken a far worse future in the second half of the century can be avoided.  This, of course, will require political courage, planning and large amounts of money not to mention acceptance that climate change is real.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at the report and its findings.  Here are excerpts:

The shorelines of the United States are projected to face an additional foot of rising seas over the next three decades, intensifying the threat of flooding and erosion to coastal communities across the country, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Human-caused climate change, driven mostly by the burning of fossil fuels, has accelerated global sea level rise to the fastest rate in more than 3,000 years. The report by NOAA and other federal agencies — updating a study from 2017 — predicts that ocean levels along U.S. coasts will increase as much by 2050 as they did over the past century.

This amount of water battering the coasts “will create a profound increase in the frequency of coastal flooding, even in the absence of storms or heavy rainfall,” NOAA said.

“We’re unfortunately headed for a flood regime shift,” said William Sweet, an oceanographer at the NOAA National Ocean Service and the nation’s top scientist on sea level rise. “There will be water in the streets unless action is taken in more and more communities.”

[T]he NOAA analysis gives decade-by-decade projections for sea-level rise for all U.S. states and territories over the next 100 years. Advances in ice sheet modeling and better observational data allowed the authors to give more definitive near-term projections than ever before, Sweet said.

Even if the world takes swift action to curb carbon emissions, he said, the trajectory for sea level rise “is more or less set over the next 30 years.”

Kristina Dahl, a principal climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said research she and colleagues have done suggest that 10 to 12 inches of sea level rise by 2050 would put roughly 140,000 homes at risk of “chronic inundation,” or flooding every other week on average.

Already, she said, high-tide flooding in places such as Charleston, S.C., has quadrupled in frequency since the 1970s. Other regions, from Louisiana to New Jersey to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, have wrestled with flooding that has become more common and costly.

Looking ahead to the end of the century, the amount of planet-warming pollution people release into the atmosphere could mean the difference between sea levels stabilizing at about two feet above the historical average or surging by almost eight feet, NOAA reports.

“This report is a wake-up call for the U.S., but it’s a wake-up call with a silver lining,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad told journalists in a teleconference Tuesday. “It provides us with information needed to act now to best position ourselves for the future.”

[A]s surging seas raise the level of high tides, communities from the Gulf Coast and the Pacific Northwest to the beaches of Hawaii and the barrier islands of North Carolina increasingly suffer from “sunny day” floods, when saltwater bubbles up from storm drains and spills into streets without a drop of rain.

“What we are trying to communicate to folks is these are real-life impacts that will influence their day-to-day decision-making,” Sweet said.

Coastal communities must start planning for regular inundation, scientists warned, especially in places where coastal development and sinking land compound the risks of sea level rise.

Storm and wastewater systems may need to be upgraded to cope with the influx of seawater. Homes and important infrastructure located within the new upper bounds of high tides might have to relocate.

The consequences could go beyond floods. Saltwater threatens to infiltrate coastal aquifers, affecting water quality and sterilizing farm fields. The septic systems used in many coastal communities won’t be able to safely handle waste as water tables rise.

Ports could see severe damage, said NOAA National Ocean Service Director Nicole LeBoeuf — disrupting supply chains and raising costs even for people who live hundreds of miles from coastlines.

While Tuesday’s report makes clear that a certain amount of sea level rise is essentially guaranteed based on the world’s past emissions, Dahl said that reality only underscores the importance of reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

“The fact that there’s this locked-in sea level rise is not a reason to throw up our hands and say there’s nothing we can do about this, because there absolutely is,” she said. “This decade we’re in right now is one of the most consequential decades for our climate future.”

That is because only by acting rapidly to reduce global emissions can the world limit Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial levels — the most ambitious goal of the Paris climate agreement.

If nations fail to hit that target, she said, it risks destabilizing the Antarctic ice sheet and creating conditions for catastrophic amounts of sea level rise in the future.

Reide Corbett, dean of Integrated Coastal Programs at East Carolina University and executive director at Coastal Studies Institute, said the NOAA report is important because it so clearly and definitively details a real-world threat posed by climate change.

“We need to make people understand this isn’t just a bunch of scientists talking and arm-waving. This is really happening, and it’s happening on time scales that matter to the individual,” said Corbett, who was not involved in the study.

“If we’re talking about 2050 — for someone buying a house today, that’s within the range of their mortgage.”

For Corbett, who lives on the flood-prone Outer Banks of North Carolina, the prospect of sea level rise is deeply personal. Just last week, he said, beach erosion caused a house in nearby Rodanthe to collapse into the sea.

He hoped the NOAA findings will spur vulnerable communities to invest in adaptation measures — restoring ecosystems that help hold back floodwaters, rerouting roads and bridges to steer away from the most vulnerable spots. In some cases, he said, communities will have to make hard decisions about what places are worth protecting and when it’s time to retreat.

“We need to really start working through these challenging conversations now,” he said. “Not right after the next storm, but before.”

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Fantasy of a Sane GOP Majority

Many in the media, political pundit class and even the few truly sane Republicans continue to cling to the myth - fantasy is a better term - that hidden beneath the surface the majority of Republican Party supporterd are sane and reasonable.  This despite poll after poll that shows that such is anything but true. The result is continued false equivalence in the media which refuses to admit and expose the reality that the base of the GOP is about as sane as a  bunch rabid dogs and just as likely to attack people.  The further result is a continued threat to democracy itself in America.  With the Republican National Committee having basically endorsed the January 6, 2021, insurrection as "legitimate political discourse" despite its dancy around the issue, it should be obvious that sanity - and loyalty to the U.S. Constitution - have been flushed down the toilet.  The prospects for changing the GOP from within is a fantasy as well.  Only sustained election defeats by Democrats and/or coalitions of Democrats and independent voters has the ability to force a return to sanity within the GOP.  For now, the crazies, religious etremists and white supremacists control the GOP and the media and pundits need to grasp this reality.  A column in the Washington Post looks at this relity.  Here are highlights:  

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that “there is a pretty large lane of sane Republicans” who could support a presidential candidate like him if he ran in 2024. I suppose that depends on one’s definition of “large.”

In reality, the sane lane remains a narrow fairway in the GOP. My colleague Philip Bump notes: “Pew [Research Center] found that only about 1 in 3 Republicans think Joe Biden won the 2020 election, and only about 14 percent of them say he definitely won, which he did. In other words, six out of every seven Republicans are unwilling to say that Biden definitely won.”

To understand the swell of anger and lunacy that has washed over her party, one need only see the grass-roots reaction to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), censured this month by the Republican National Committee for participating in the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. Cheney recently told the New York Times: “I’m not going to convince the crazies and I reject the crazies. I reject the notion that somehow we don’t have to abide by the rule of law. And the people right now who are in the leadership of our state party, I’m not trying to get their support because they’ve abandoned the Constitution.”

Hillary Clinton deserves an apology from the political class for their faux outrage over her statement in 2016 criticizing some Republicans as “deplorables.”

Hogan acknowledged in his CNN interview, “To say it’s legitimate political discourse to attack the seat of our Capitol, and smash windows, and attack police officers, and threaten to hang vice president, and threaten to overthrow the election, it’s insanity.” But that is precisely what the RNC did in its censure resolution.

And as Cheney’s fellow censured Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), explained on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” there is a faction of the GOP that is “way too big” rooting for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I think it’s an affection for authoritarianism,” he surmises. “And I think Vladimir Putin has done a decent job of engaging in culture battles and culture war, and he is seen as the person defending, in essence, the culture of the past. And so it’s very frightening.”

Kinzinger went on . . . . I thought that every person when they swore an oath had some version of a red line they would never cross.” In some welcome advice for the media, he added:

Every Republican has to be clear and forceful on the record. Do they think January 6 was legitimate political discourse? Don’t let them avoid it. Don’t let them hem haw and don’t let them transition to some other subject they’d rather talk about. This is an answer every one of them have to give, and then we can move on once they’re clear and on the record. But this is definitive to our democracy. How do you feel? Was it legitimate?

Kinzinger singled out RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for pretending that the RNC censure resolution’s use of “legitimate political discourse” was not referring to Jan. 6 insurgents. . . . . “We’re looking at the corruption that led up to the moment and what happened since. . . . Marco Rubio knows that. Ronna McDaniel knows that. All these folks know it. But they’re trying to kind of pass around it because they don’t want to tick off the base.”

Shorter: Cowardice is still the order of the day in the GOP. There are a few brave souls in the party, but the censure motion, consistent GOP rhetoric and polling tell us that MAGA Republicans are firmly in control. It’s not even close.

Here’s an idea: Rather than perpetuating the fantasy that there is a sane GOP electorate waiting for a savior, why not band together in a national, pro-democracy coalition to deprive the MAGA party of power? In Utah, for example, Democrats are effectively forgoing a nominee to challenge Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) so as to form a coalition with Cheney-Kinzinger-Hogan-type Republicans and independents in support of conservative independent Evan McMullin. Cheney could consider a similar independent run to squelch the possibility of a MAGA candidate taking her seat.

Our democracy is too fragile to pretend there’s more than one sane and pro-democratic party. We must be realistic about the true state of the GOP so we can start devising strategies across ideological lines to run the MAGA “crazies” out of power.


Sunday, February 13, 2022

More Sunday Male Beauty


Youngkin and Miyares Continue to Lie About Crime in Virginia

Decades ago when I was a Republican activist and held a City Committee seat in Virginia Beach, for the most part the truth and honesty mattered to the party.  Like any other segment of society there were exceptions and liars existed within the party - escpecially among the evangelicals and Christofascists seeking to infiltrate the party - but moderates with integrity sought to minimize their influence.  Fast forward to today and if there is one defining aspect of the Republican Party it is that the truth does not matter (noe does personal integrity) and that any lie deemed to be politically useful is acceptable, Trump's "Big Lie" being but the most stark example.  Across the country lying is the GOP norm and Virginia has not been excluded for the epidemic of lying.  A piece a friend posted from prior to the November 2021 Virginia elections that should have gotten far more exposure exposes the lies of Glenn Youngkin and his ticket mates - particularly Jason Miyares who billed himself as "Virginia's top cop" even though the attorney general's office has little involvement in police law enforcement - on the issue of crime.   Now that these individuals are unfortunately in office expect the lies to continue and efforts to be made to undo gun control measures that seek to restrict guns, the principal weapon used in murders.  Here are article highlights:

You love your family. You—and all 8.6 million people living in Virginia—want to protect them from the scary world that cable news networks and social media platforms tell you we’re living in. Day after day, you receive this message. It’s so constant that you’d be forgiven for thinking much of the US has descended into violent lawlessness. . . . . you’re scared the chaos is going to find its way to your front door.

So when a seemingly upstanding gentleman in a suit knocks on that very door, tells you to blame this other guy for the violence that is supposedly everywhere, and promises to protect your family—it makes sense that you might believe him.

This, in a nutshell, is what’s happening right now in Virginia and all across America. 

Fifty-nine percent of Americans believe crime is an “extremely serious or very serious issue in America,” according to a June 2021 Washington Post poll. But the same poll found that only 17% said this was true for where they live. Another poll, this one conducted by Yahoo in July, found that 70% of Americans believe crime is up in America, but only 37% said crime is up where they live.

Clearly, those numbers don’t square. . . . . Instead, what those numbers suggest is that people think crime is up way more than it is. That’s likely because much of the Republican Party and wide swaths of the American media have been shouting about this from the rooftops for more than a year.

In Virginia, the Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin has tried to position himself as the best person to address crime in the commonwealth. . . . .But in doing so, Youngkin has misrepresented what’s really happening in Virginia. 

By virtually any metric and according to any source of data, one thing is clear: Virginia is and has long been one of the safest states in the country.

That said, Youngkin is right about one thing: murder rates did increase in 2020. . . . But some context is needed: Even as murders rose, the rate of overall violent crimes was actually down in 2020 in Virginia according to both the FBI (2.8% decrease) and VSP (1.9% decrease). These drops were driven by a 22% decrease in rapes and a 16% decrease in robberies, according to the FBI. 

Here’s another fact that Youngkin hasn’t acknowledged: Even as Virginia’s murder rate rose in 2020, it was actually lower than the national rate and lower than the state’s rate in the 1990s. 

Once again: Virginia is, by any measure, one of the least dangerous places in the US. 

In every year since 1985 (which is as far back as the FBI’s data goes), Virginia’s violent crime rate has been substantially lower than the national rate. . . . the rate of violent crimes in Virginia has been about half the national level in most years since 1985. 

But you know what also happened in 2020? 

The worst pandemic in a century, hundreds of thousands of deaths across the country due to COVID-19, the shutdown of schools and public spaces, the interruption of violence prevention and community safety programs, growing political divisions, simmering anger and trauma, and record gun sales. There was also widespread unemployment amid simultaneous public health and economic crises that spun out of control under a Republican president who minimized the pandemic, fueled racial divisions, and unleashed federal law enforcement officials on peaceful protesters. 

While we don’t have any conclusive evidence, data suggests the pandemic all but certainly played a role in the surge of murders.

Republicans—including Youngkin—have tried to pin the blame on the increase in murders on Democrats and their policies, even though Donald Trump was president and Republicans controlled more governor’s mansions than Democrats did in 2020.

Right-wing media outlets played a huge role in amplifying these baseless claims. As a report from the centrist group Third Way noted, “In conservative media outlets like Fox News there is a drumbeat that overly permissive crime policies enacted by Democrats are putting Americans at risk to violent crime. The data does not back this assertion.”

Wyoming and South Dakota, two of the reddest states in the country, saw 92% and 69% increases in murders respectively. These spikes were the highest among the 23 jurisdictions . . . . that had submitted full crime data for last year as of August 2021.

“In our 23 jurisdictions, three out of four states with the largest percentage increases in murder are governed by Republicans. As for overall crime, seven out of the twelve states with decreasing overall crime rates between 2019 and 2020 have Democratic governors,”

Youngkin has often been depicted as a reasonable, moderate Republican, but he has also taken a page out of the Trump playbook and tried to fashion himself into a law-and-order candidate.

Despite the objective nature of numbers—two plus two equals four, not five—Republicans have continued to claim that two plus two equals five by claiming that Democrats have caused a surge in crime.

Youngkin and other Republicans have continued to portray themselves as tough on crime, but it’s actually Democrats who’ve tried to do something about the main weapon used in murders: guns. Eighty-one percent of homicides in the commonwealth last year involved some form of handgun, rifle, shotgun, or other form of firearm, according to the FBI data. . . . Youngkin, meanwhile, opposes any such efforts to strengthen gun safety laws and has suggested he would repeal the Democratic-passed changes. 

Virginians need to educated themselves on the truth - which means never watching Fox News and similar propaganda outlets - and vote Democrat in 2022 and 2023 to undo the mistake they made in November, 2021.

Sunday Morning Male Beauty