4/07/2024

We Can't Rely on People to Just Vote Against Trump; They Have to Vote For Biden

All this Trump shit can get exhausting, can't it? Watching this hemorrhoid in human form day in and day out as he blusters about perceived attacks by migrants and judges, ranting his brain-fucked comparisons between himself and Nelson Mandela or Jesus or Al Capone? And then we check the news on one of his four trials, whether it's the one where he paid off the porn star he fucked to keep her quiet, or the one where he tried to get the Georgia Secretary of State to change the vote, or the one where he stole classified documents and refused to give them back, or the one where he tried to get people to violently overthrow the government for him, and we see them moving at a speed that would make glaciers say, "Jesus, pick it up already." But we get signs and omens, reading every filing, every decision, with voices echoing on social media that this time he's fucked up and it'll all come crashing down or this time Judge Cannon has gone too far and will be booted from the case or this time he's violated a gag order and will have to be jailed, all the tweets and threads and memes and toks that tik ready to soothe and satisfy that raging hard-on for Trump to finally be undone, for this to be over, when, really, truly, we know in our heart of hearts, that it will never be over, that we are damned to the mental Sisyphean task of rolling that boulder of hope up the hill of justice, only to see it tumble back down once again, and we know, as much as we try to resist, that we're gonna roll that fucker up one more time. 

The exhaustion is of a piece. It's much like he's trying to exhaust the court with his lawyers filing endless motions in an effort to delay his trials (or, more precisely, the verdicts) until after the election when enough dumb voters doom the country to four more years of Trumpian fuckery and lawlessness. I've read a bunch of Trump's motions, and even though I'm not a lawyer, they come across as ludicrous and desperate, like a starving methhead firing his AR into the woods, hoping it hits something that he can eat later. And our attention to all that plays into the exhaustion. 

Worse, this attempt to put order into the chaos Trump continues to force us to experience has made the public not see that, by most measures, the presidency of Joe Biden has been something of a miracle. If the zone wasn't flooded with MAGA bullshit, we'd understand that we're living through an incredible time in the United States.

Look at this shit:

The surging labor market has been defying expectations for so long that experts now say we're in a "sweet spot" for employment. Job openings are "historically high," and layoffs have been "near a historic low" for the last two years. Support for unions has grown tremendously, and now we need to move that into growth in membership. Sure, wages aren't where they need to be, which has been true for decades, and the refusal of corporations to lower prices in the wake of inflation subsiding is aggravating as hell. But I'll bet your 401k is doing pretty damn well.

Despite what the bloodbath-mongers on the right say, violent crime in the United States has been declining for the last two years after rising during peak Covid (the combination of lockdowns, no sports, and lots of guns is dangerous, it seems). It's all falling: murder, rape, assault, robbery. And even though Republicans keep humping the story that New York City is an unlivable hellhole like it's a Mom for Liberty they're not married to, it's so goddamned safe up here that I tell friends when they're going to New Orleans or Memphis that they need to be careful because it's way more dangerous there. 

Where else do you wanna go? Prescription drugs? Infrastructure investment? The continuing success of the Affordable Care Act and its huge popularity? All incredible successes. And when shit doesn't work out, like canceling most student loan debt, it's the fault of courts with right-wing judges. You want Trump to appoint more of those?

In a sane country, Biden should have already all but won the 2024 election, his age and verbal gaffes be damned. He's been a historically successful president, and that's not me saying that. That's historians. In a survey of them, they already have Biden as the 14th-best president after just one term, ahead of Reagan, ahead of Wilson, tied with John fuckin' Adams himself. You already know who's last.

I get the idea that more attention needs to be paid to Trump's obviously declining mental faculties, and, sure, we always need to be reminded of just how fucking bugfuck insane and just downright fuckin' weird Trump is. Seriously, he's a creepy weirdo. But we're not gonna convince the MAGA cretins to jump ship now. They've mortgaged their souls to get that dumb orange motherfucker back into office. Trump could impregnate a 10 year-old girl during one of his wannabe Nuremberg rallies and laugh because she can't get an abortion, and his idiot hordes would cheer his virility. They're gone. Forget about them for now. So it's about making sure that anyone opposed to Trump gets out and votes for Biden.

Look, I'm not fucking blind or a slavering fanboy high on hopium. I also get that Biden has done shit that drives the left mad, that drives me mad. His pride in the amount of gas and oil being produced in this country is bizarre, considering how much his administration has done to actually help on climate change. His inability to stick to one path on immigration is frustrating as fuck; no, immigration is not wrecking this country. In fact, its effect is quite the opposite. Democrats have a very American story to tell about migrants, and they just don't tell it. 

And then there's Gaza.

When people on the left say they won't vote for Biden because of how the US has helped enable the horror in Gaza, it's understandable. Absolutely. Don't discount that rage because it's justified. My one bit of hope is that Biden's finally getting it. In case you're new to how American politicians react to conflict between Israel and Palestine, you should know that for decades it was poisonous for an elected official in DC to be supportive of the Palestinians. You had to have knee-jerk support for Israel, even when Likudnik maniacs were in charge, even when a savage and corrupt cockscab like Netanyahu is the leader. And voters punished politicians who veered away from that unquestioning support (for the most part). But things have finally shifted and I believe that Biden, Chuck Schumer, and others are catching up that they don't have to let Israel get away with genocide. Or ethnic cleansing. Or mass murder. Whichever one of those you're comfortable with. I just hope that shift happens faster and with greater clarity and before the number of deaths goes to six figures and before the mindset of voters gets locked in.

So the response to those voters for whom Gaza is a main issue can't just be "Well, would you rather have Trump, who is a fucking nightmare and wouldn't give a fuck about getting humanitarian aid in because a massacre would let Jared Kushner develop the beaches?" No, it's gotta also be about what Biden has done besides that. It's gotta be enough to overcome that.

What I would say is that Biden actually gives a shit about the future. I would say he hasn't gotten everything right, but he wants us to have a future, he wants us to evolve as a nation, and, unlike so many in his generation on the Republican side, he is working to build something he won't even be around to see come to fruition. That's genuine and hopeful. Meanwhile, Trump would gleefully drag us back to a repressive past of limited opportunities and greater threats all around us if it got him one more day as the focal point of the American psyche so he can sleep knowing that he pissed off his haters one more time. I'm not gonna vote for the guy who wants to deport millions of people and shoot shoplifters. I'll go with the guy who doesn't fucking exhaust me every time I hear his simpering, whiny, nasal, incoherent garble of bullshit, narcissism, and hate. I'll go with the guy who actually seems to give a fuck.

(I'll talk more about this kind of thing as we get closer to the election because I have long believed that, except for those of us damned to keep writing about this shit, most Americans won't pay attention to the election until after Labor Day because who the hell has the time? But narratives about polls, about perceived weaknesses have a way of cementing in the zeitgeist, and I'd rather wash it away than need to use a jackhammer.)

3/31/2024

It's Not Just the Pandemic. We're Traumatized Because of Trump and the MAGA Movement.

Look, I'm not disagreeing with the pair of doctors who wrote in The Atlantic that everyone is grappling  with at least residual emotional detritus from the Covid pandemic that fucked us up 4 years ago and that's why shit just seems so weird. I mean, how can you disagree with "In our lifetime, COVID posed an unprecedented threat in both its overwhelming scope and severity; it left most Americans unable to protect themselves and, at times, at a loss to comprehend what was happening. That meets the clinical definition of trauma: an overwhelming experience in which you are threatened with serious physical or psychological harm." Yeah, no shit. 

In my real job, I say all the time that we haven't dealt with the effects of that asshole virus, and not just with all the students who had formative experiences cockblocked by lockdown. Senior years of high school, first years of college, graduations, to have all that over Zoom is gonna mess you up. And I know too many people who had to handle the worst of Covid firsthand, who said goodbye to loved ones through windows, who had empty funerals. Fuck, my stepfather (who really was my dad in all but sperm) caught it and didn't treat it fast enough and it cashed in his check. Yeah, I'm traumatized, too.

But blaming Covid for the reaming of the American psyche lets too many motherfuckers off the hook. It's like you came home from a trip and found out that your house was robbed. That stinks, no doubt. It's a goddamn trauma And then you call the cops who ransack your house looking for evidence but find nothing they think is helpful and they tell you there's nothing they can do about it and they can't make out anyone's face on your doorbell camera and they're hungry and they empty your refrigerator while telling you how grateful you should be that they're there and don't worry because in the future they'll be able to do something but you're just kind of fucked right now, oh, well. Yeah, the robbery sucks. But everything else didn't need to suck so much, too. Now you're not only paranoid about crime but about the people who were supposed to fucking help you and you have a huge mess to clean up that you didn't make and wait, did someone shit on the bed? Was it the robbers or the cops? Fuck, it doesn't even matter anymore.

When we say that the pandemic has brain-raped us, we're letting the real rapists off the hook, and one of them is an actual and not metaphorical rapist. We don't definitely know if the start of the pandemic would have gone differently if literally anyone else had been president other than Donald Trump, but, c'mon, we know. We all fucking know. We all fucking watched as Trump played the raging dickhole with a panicked public, as if he could bully everyone into relaxing and just taking it. We watched him brag about the high ratings for his daily briefings in March and April as he moronically performed the part of an authority figure, suggesting that the pandemic would be over in a couple of weeks, that shit that didn't work or was outright dangerous would get rid of Covid, and then berating anyone in the media who tried to get him to acknowledge that people were dying in large numbers. That was fucking traumatic, too. Jesus, we were so traumatized by Trump's utter failure that we turned to Andrew Cuomo for comfort, and that led to a lot of us making walks of shame afterwards.

And it wasn't enough that Trump and the U.S. government was failing us horrendously, however much Anthony Fauci and a few others desperately attempted to offer comfort while warning us that shit was going to get really bad. We watched as millions of Americans, responding to Trump's refusal to treat the crisis like a crisis and not an opportunity, follow the worst fucking leaders in the nation to want to cause violence over mask-wearing or social distancing or online schooling. 

There was a calculated effort to tear this country apart, to set the red and blue states, hell, the red and blue regions within states against each other. Instead of unifying us, instead of demanding we all give a shit about each other, we had politicians earnestly saying that the elderly should just allow themselves to die so that we could get out and go shopping more. The leaders of the MAGA right wanted us at each other's throats, and that was even before the murder of George Floyd and the summer of Black Lives Matter protesters where our trauma was exacerbated by the failure of so many institutions around us.

And the anxiety and panic attack existence of the majority of Americans who are not Trumpist drones didn't come out of just the pandemic. No, no, no, we had already been through nearly 5 years of the rise of Donald Trump and the mainstreaming of open extremism in the form of the MAGA movement (Republicans had at least pretended to hide it pre-Trump). We had been through 3 years of the Trump presidency, with the threat of nuclear war with North Korea and the attempts to gut health care repeatedly and one goddamned impeachment investigation and vote. And then, going into 2021, we had January 6, election denialism, and anti-vax insanity, and then the eternal 2024 election and the multiple indictments of Trump that don't seem to go anywhere and the rise in MAGA violence and what the fucking fuck? How the hell are we supposed to process all of this? And I haven't even mentioned the conservative cockmites on the Supreme Court gutting precedents like abortion rights, something that was semi-stable for nearly 50 years, undermining confidence in the federal government to protect even the most basic right, to bodily autonomy. And let's not even get started on the wars around the world now and the United States's diminished position as a global power that nations can fully trust.

You can date it back to whenever you want: to January 6 or the start of the pandemic or the 2016 election or the MAGA hate rallies or when Trump came down his magical escalator in 2015, but it's way more than Covid. It's fucking everything. We're traumatized because we have lived nothing but trauma for years now with no break, and a click-driven media tries to act like this entirely abnormal time is totally normal when we know, we know it isn't. 

And if we can't appreciate what President Joe Biden has accomplished, maybe it's because we've seen how easily it can be taken away, whether it's civil rights or health care or infrastructure weeks that never arrive. The Trump years taught us how precarious it all is and we haven't done anything to build a nation that isn't constantly dancing on the edge of disaster. The last significant change to the Constitution was the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age, and that was in 1971. (The 27th is from 1992 and is about congressional pay raises, and who the fuck cares?) The idea of the Constitution was that if it became apparent that something wasn't working, fucking fix it. But we don't do that in this country that worships the false idol of the imagined past.

We are stuck in this fucking doom loop, like a cosmic algorithm of despair is keeping our content chaotic. If it's the "era of bad feelings," as some have called it, it's not just the pandemic. It's because it's the Trump era. It's the MAGA era. It's the era of fucking around and not finding out so far for the fuck-arounds. Sure, though, the rest of us are finding out because it's making us feel like everything's a house of cards that's one breath from collapsing, from violence, from explosion, literal and figurative. 

And it's why we so desperately need Trump convicted and not just defeated at the polls. We need to say that someone is to fucking blame and punish them for it. It won't solve the trauma, but at least we know he won't be able to inflict more. Maybe then we can get to work restoring our feeling of safety in this America.

(Things I didn't cover here that contribute to our general anxiety every goddamn day: Our dumb fucking gun laws, school shootings, mall shootings, restaurant shootings, school lockdowns for shootings, shelter in place orders for shootings, street shootings, home shootings, accidental shootings...)

3/25/2024

Abortion in Louisiana: The Real Criminals Are the Ones Enforcing the Bans

It must be terrifying to be pregnant in Louisiana right now. The state broadly banned abortion, thanks to a 2006 trigger law that went into effect after the savages on the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the 2022 Dobbs decision and handed control of women's bodies to the states, subject to the whims of insane Christian nationalists and terrible leaders. It's awful in many states, and Louisiana is one of the worst. The only exceptions to the abortion bans in Louisiana are if the mother's life is in imminent danger and if the fetus is considered "medically futile," a term not recognized by, you know the medical community, and wouldn't survive. No exceptions for rape or incest.

A study came out last week from Physicians for Human Rights, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Lift Louisiana, and Reproductive Health Impact, and it chronicles the bleak terrain that Louisiana's pregnant people and medical personnel must negotiate in the scorched post-Dobbs reproductive health landscape.  Its conclusion couldn't be more stark: "The findings contained in this report are alarming: the research shows how Louisiana’s abortion bans violate federal law meant to protect patients, disregard evidence-based public health guidance, degrade long-standing medical ethical standards, and, worst of all, deny basic human rights to Louisianans seeking reproductive health care in their state." The report is filled with the words of doctors, nurses, and others who live constantly with the fear that they will lose their careers or their freedom if they are accused of violating the statute. It's also got the words of women, who fear they will lose their ability to have children or their lives if they don't receive the care they need.  It's beyond a confusing mess. It's a catastrophe in slow, but quickening, motion. 

For instance, "most recent iteration of the emergency rule contains 25 'medically futile' conditions and allows abortion care for a fatal fetal condition that is not explicitly named on the list only if it can be certified by two physicians licensed in Louisiana." So your doctor is willing to take the risk in trying to get you the medical help you need, but, sorry, you gotta get another doctor to sign on. And the rules on this are vague as hell. In 2022, "because the Department of Health’s declaration did not resolve clinicians’ lack of clarity, they requested greater insight into what kinds of conditions would qualify a pregnant person to receive legal abortion care. In response, the Department refused to provide clarity and instead referred clinicians to the state’s Attorney General." That Attorney General, by the way, was Jeff Landry, who is now the governor, and he is gonna make damn sure that anyone who violates the law can face its punishments: up to 15 years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines. 

It's just nightmare scenario after nightmare scenario: "clinicians described how the bans have adversely affected their ability to provide evidence-based pregnancy care in circumstances including the management of miscarriages, preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), ectopic pregnancies, medical emergencies that may not be perceived as immediately life-threatening, but which may well threaten a pregnant patient’s life, and lethal fetal conditions not included in the state’s 'medically futile' emergency rule."

How do they try to do something for their patients but not go to jail? "Clinicians described how the bans have increased the use of medical procedures and treatments that do not meet the standard of care—heightening risk to patients—and which could have been avoided if they had been able to provide abortion care." In other words, they're giving cesarean sections instead of abortion procedures because somehow that's a way around the bans. That's major surgery instead of a simple outpatient visit. But it's how afraid doctors are. This is not to mention that "to avoid the risk of criminal penalties under the bans, nearly every clinician relayed an account in which they and/or their colleagues delayed abortion care until complications worsened to the point where the patient’s life was irrefutably at risk." Some OB/GYNs won't see pregnant patients until after 12 weeks because the risk of miscarriage is much lower then. 

It gets even worse. If doctors screw up on the paperwork, they can face legal ramifications: "An OB-GYN shared how the bans’ lack of clarity and the risk of professional and legal consequences is causing stress for clinicians as they cautiously document and seek to clearly demonstrate that their medical decisions adhered to the law. One OB-GYN noted: 'I can go to jail for documenting something the wrong way. Even if it was the medically necessary thing to do.'" Clinicians are worried about giving information on out-of-state care for patients who need abortion, even though the laws don't prohibit it. Some have been told not to do it because their hospital's lawyers believe they could possibly be prosecuted for doing so. 

Another conclusion: "Clinicians in Louisiana are facing an impossible choice: to comply with the law or to violate their medical, ethical, and human rights obligations, all the while harming pregnant patients by delaying or denying care or information. The difficulties with this coerced choice are only exacerbated by the harsh civil, criminal, and professional penalties a clinician may face for violating the bans." One definite response to this is that some doctors stop practicing in the state or medical students go elsewhere to do their residency. "In 2023, one year after the bans took effect, there was a decline in numbers of applicants to Louisiana’s OB-GYN residencies."

Louisiana is number one in the United States for percentage of households in poverty, with 1 in 5 people living below the poverty line. Maternal mortality is incredibly high in the state, especially for Black women. The health care system is broken, especially for rural hospitals, where they simply can't handle medical emergencies in pregnancy due to a lack of doctors and lawyers not wanting the hospitals to deal with it. The women are sent to urban hospitals, which are overwhelmed with patients. 

And the thing is that this ban, like all the wide abortion bans, violates federal law, especially the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, although the savages on the Supreme Court have put a hold on enforcement of that. It also violates several international treaties on human rights that the United States is a party to. You could make a case that the federal government should arrest anyone enforcing the laws. 

Two kickers here: many of the most severe aspects of the law, including the banning of abortion pills, were signed into law by the state's previous governor, a Democrat, John Bel Edwards, who was pretty liberal on many other things, but the only way to get elected statewide as a Democrat now is to be anti-choice. Yet a majority of people in the state oppose the abortion bans. 53% are against the new law, with 41% in support and 6% too stupid to decide. 

That's fine and all, but the state is in for a hell of a time on abortion for the next few years, at least. Harming women and sending doctors elsewhere, which harms everyone.

3/17/2024

Regarding Bloodbaths: Let's Remember What Trump Said Would Happen If Biden Was Elected in 2020 That Didn't Happen

Republican presidential nominee and a shit-filled garbage bag with a bewigged, rotting rump roast on top, Donald Trump, loves to promise that violence and horror is coming unless he is elected. Forget that actual horror and violence happened while he was president. Oh, no. We're supposed to look back at the riots and disease four years ago and nod, like delusional fucks, that, yes, we were better off then than we are now. 

In every "speech" (if by "speech," you mean, "a maniacal march through a miasma of mendacity and madness that would make Lovecraft scream for it to stop"), Trump paints a Brueghelesque picture of streets overrun with immigrant demons who drag precious white maidens into a gaping Hellmouth, where pig-faced criminals run through innocent chain stores and ransack them, dragging their booty to their homes made of fetus bones, where cities crumble as a demonic leader cackles while cutting off the genitals of children and forcing them to use unholy pronouns. If you think I'm making this up or exaggerating for grotesque effect, check out what Trump really said this past weekend. From migrants being "not human" to a "bloodbath" for the economy if he's not restored to the White House, Trump gleefully baits and bashes with abandon. If Joe Biden is re-elected, Trump ominously intones, the world as we know it will cease to be and we will become slaves. 

The thing is, though, that Trump promised the same thing 4 years ago if Biden defeated him. In every campaign stop after the nominations were clinched, Trump would talk about the damage Biden would definitely do. Spoiler: None of it happened. 

It's such a broad array of ways that Trump claimed the country and individual states would suffer under a Biden presidency that I'm just gonna pull a few quotes from 2020 and see where we stand.

"He wants to destroy your energy jobs in Pennsylvania." Trump said this in Allentown in October 2020. The unemployment rate in PA when he left office in January 2021 was 7.4%. It's currently 3.4%, and I don't think I'm going out on a limb here to say that some of that growth was in the energy industry (especially clean energy, but, shh, don't say anything). Now you might wanna argue that the first number there was still part of the Covid shutdown, and, yeah, but prior to Covid, unemployment in PA was at 4.9%. So, yeah, no matter how you wanna look at it, Pennsylvania should be fucking grateful Biden is president.

"If Biden wins, China wins. And if China has anything to do with this whole deal, if he wins, let me tell you, China will own the United States of America. They will own it." China does not, in fact, own the United States. If we're talking facts, China's investments in the United States have shrunk substantially during the Biden administration. I'm too stupid to understand why, but it is the opposite of what Trump promised. 

"The Biden Harris plan would also increase refugees coming into our country by more than 700%. It would be the highest level anywhere in the world." Now this one is kind of interesting because, see, in 2020, during Covid and under the racist Trump administration, the number of refugees the US accepted went down to around 11,400. It's back up to 60,000, so, by my awesome power to do math, that's like a 500% increase, which sounds scary if you're a fucking moron. That's around where it was during some of the George W. Bush presidency. But the United States sucks ass when it comes to taking in our share of refugees. Even if it had been a 700% increase, that would be a pittance compared to countries like Germany, Turkiye, and, yeah, Iran. The US is nowhere in the ballpark of "highest level" in the world.

"They pledged to terminate all national security travel bans, opening the flood gates to radical Islamic terrorism." Yeah, virtually the only actual terrorism during the Biden administration came from MAGA troglodytes and threats from Trump himself. The anarchy that might come has always been from Trump's terrorist organization. 

"He wants to terminate religious liberty, destroy the suburbs." Neither of these things are even on the radar of shit that's happening. Of course, the latter thing there was pure racism: "I’m getting rid of a regulation that will move a project next to your beautiful house. Congratulations. You like having a nice project next to your house, I don’t think so. And with it comes plenty of crime," Trump said back in 2020, which was his way of trying to scare white suburban women into his flabby, orange arms.

"They’re going to take your guns away, sure as you’re there. If something happened with me, the guns are gone. Your Second Amendment will be either obliterated totally or almost totally." The guns are fine. You don't have to worry about the guns. This is the United States of America, goddamnit. We will kill each other and ourselves before we give up guns. 

You get the idea. Trump promised the collapse of civilization and all we got were more jobs, lower crime rates, and booming infrastructure spending. He told us in 2020 that Biden was a doddering old man who couldn't function, and yet everything, including Biden, functioned amazingly well. Rather than offer a vision for the country that is based on reality, Trump instead is running the same fucking playbook, and he's heightening the fearmongering because the only other option would be to actually promise to do something more than to close the border, round up anyone who doesn't look right, and shoot shoplifters on sight. 

If there's a bloodbath after a Biden victory in 2024, it won't be because of Biden. It will be because Trump's idiot hordes think they have to burn the country down. 

3/10/2024

The State of the Union is, Finally, "Eat Shit, Republicans"

One of my greatest worries in Joe Biden becoming president was that he "believes that his capacity to forgive and forget with Republicans is an asset" and that he could "work in partnership with Republicans." I said that back in 2019 as one reason that I didn't support him in our innocent, pre-pandemic period. And in his previous State of the Union in 2023, that Joe Biden was still on display as he praised vile hate-goblin Mitch McConnell and said, "To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress," adding multiple pleas for such unity of purpose.

Well, something shook loose because the President Biden who delivered the 2024 State of the Union last week was fucking done trying win over the savages on the GOP side. And, amid the right-wing commentariat's hand-wringing about how "political" and "angry" Biden's speech was, there was an air of "oh, fuck" to their typical nonsense. Some of that "oh, fuck" came from Biden's display of energy, which threw them off their game of endlessly calling Biden "sleepy" or "weak." Over on Fox "news," Sean  Hannity, who always looks like he's about to burp up a little bit of that puppy he ate, hilariously said Biden's speech was "frightening" and called Biden "Jacked-Up Joe" because "he sounded like a hyper-caffeinated, angry old man." Frankly, "Jacked-Up Joe" is an awesome nickname. Nutzoid right-wing spoogesock the Washington Times got a doctor to say that Biden had to be on Adderall to have that much energy. (This same psychiatrist told paper in 2021 that "parents are losing their teens...to the influence of teachers, peers and social media pushing political agendas," so, really, she's just there to polish the bullshit the Washington Times craps out.)

But the other thing that must have shocked the GOP and sure as hell surprised me and a great many more on my side of the political stadium was that Biden finally seems to have realized that every single time he reached his hand across the aisle, the gnarled orange claw of the 21st-century Republican Party raked its talons across his flesh. He didn't even mention McConnell this time, even though that gargoyle is stepping down as leader of the Senate Republicans after the election. The final straw for Biden with the GOP sure seems to have been the deal on the border that would have also included funding for Ukraine's war with Russia. Yes, he asked Trump to "join me in telling the Congress to pass it," but that was after he condemned congressional Republicans for bowing to Trump's demand to kill a bill that they had negotiated so he doesn't lose the border and racist attacks on migrants as issues he can bitch about incoherently in his hysterical, bizarre campaign rants. Biden had given the GOP nearly everything it fucking wanted and one word from a soon-to-be broke rapist and they drop everything. Man, that had to piss Biden off. 

Sure, Biden's willing to work with Republicans. He'll use the well-worn "my Republican friends," even if it sounds kind of facetious now. But he's obviously fucking sick of the chicanery and, well, the malarkey coming from a party that supports an anti-American rapist for president. "Not one of your Republican buddies voted for it," he said about the bill that lowers prescription drug costs. While he didn't go as far as I would have liked, he did call out Republicans who take credit for funding from the infrastructure and other bills that go to their districts, saying, "I noticed some of you who’ve strongly voted against it are there cheering on that money coming in," twisting the shiv with "And if any of you don’t want that money in your district, just let me know." I had wanted him to name GOP members and what they now pretend that they got for their constituents. And he's not even disguising his hope for 2024: "Send me a Congress that supports the right to choose," Biden said, meaning, quite clearly, tell the Republicans to eat shit and get the fuck out the way. 

As for whether or not the speech was "partisan" or like a campaign rally, as much as he took credit for his successes and praised those who voted for them, as much as he baited Republicans for ignoring reality and sucking Trump's dick as if his jizz is their only source of protein (and, within that sticky metaphor, it pretty much is), Biden barely mentioned the Democratic Party. Sure, sure, the implication was there, much like pointing at your pussy carries the implication that you want to get eaten out (or have a medical issue - it's context dependent, of course). But it wasn't over the top, like Trump giving Rush Limbaugh a goddamn medal at his last (fuck, I hope) State of the Union. Yeah, that really fucking happened. Hell, I wish Biden had been more partisan because one party gives a shit about the future of the country and the other wants to destroy democracy and turn us over to white Christian fascists.

One more thing probably fucked with the heads of the Republicans there, as well as their media partners in crime. It was reported that feckless House Speaker Mike Johnson, who always looks like he's wondering if he remembered to feed that tween boy he keeps in a pit in his basement, told his caucus to have "decorum" and not be braying asses at the speech, but asses will bray. I think animals like Marjorie Taylor Greene believed if they kept yelling shit out at Biden that they'd throw the doddering, ancient man they believe he is off his game. But it not only didn't work, it showed that Biden could think on his feet. He could pick up their shit and throw it back at them. And he looked like he was having fun at times while doing it. Of course he stumbled a bit. He's an 81 year-old with a stutter. Fuck, I hope I'm that coherent if I make it to that age. 

And the cherry on this fuckin' sundae that we got on Thursday was the absolute shitshow of a performance of Alabama Senator and mom most likely to be murdered by her children Katie Britt. Her Republican response to Biden's speech was totally overwrought and tone deaf, giving off Big Karen Energy.  She lied about a rape victim and blanket condemned everything Biden. Of course, even as she intensely spat, "His reckless spending dug our economy into a hole and sent the cost-of-living through the roof" (which, no, that's not what caused inflation), she sure as fuck doesn't seem to have a problem with Alabama getting billions of dollars in projects for roads, water, and high-speed internet for rural areas. Her fellow Republican senator from Alabama, Tommy Tuberville, who also voted against the infrastructure bill, tweeted, "Great to see Alabama receive crucial funds to boost ongoing broadband efforts." Just the dumbest motherfuckers are elected from that state.

So, yeah, it was a big fucking sigh of relief over here in Democratville. But it was more than that. It was a sign that this fight is not going to be as hard as we thought it might be. It's going to be tougher than it should be, sure, because we have too many dumbfucks in this country. But we don't have to keep making excuses for Biden. We don't have to keep saying that Biden's slowed down but he's still a better leader than Trump. No, goddamnit. We get to say, "Fuck, yeah, look at the old bastard go," like watching an octogenarian complete the Boston Marathon. We can support him without compensating. Hell, yeah. 

3/03/2024

Democrats Should Go on the Offensive Against the Supreme Court

Look, the Supreme Court is not some super secret cabal of demigods who fly above the filthy, earthbound realm of politics. No, they are nine human being who shit and fart and fuck (one would hope), and you only need to look at the highly political negotiations behind the scenes when decisions are being made to understand that. 

And Supreme Court is the top of the Judiciary, one of three supposedly co-equal branches of government. It's like the president is the top of the Executive branch and the leaders of the Congress...you get the fuckin' idea. And the president has no problem talking shit about Congress and vice versa. But, for some reason, while it's fine to talk shit about lower courts, there's this bright line around the Supreme Court.

When Barack Obama mildly reproached the court for the bullshit Citizens United decision, which unlocked the hell of unlimited election spending by "outside" groups, you'd have thought he was eating Grey Poupon on a hamburger with Common at the White House while wearing a tan suit. (And, yes, kids, those are all things that right-wing fucknuts criticized Obama for because everything is stupid.)

Last week, the Supreme Court not only decided to hear Trump's appeal of the ironclad, unanimous ruling by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals that "no, you motherfucker, you're not fucking immune from crimes because you were president, what fucking bullshit is that, get the fuck out of our court, fuck" or words to that effect, while legal scholars across the political spectrum agreed, adding "Go fuck yourself. You're not a king." But the high court took over two weeks to make that decision and, instead of saying, "We know both sides are ready to go. Let's do this," set the week April 22 as when they'll hear the case. Then it might not rule until some fuckin' time in June.

It was such obvious election interference in Trump's favor that you almost have to respect how blatant the whole thing was, like a coordinated effort to bring a dictatorship into being. They are doing everything they can to push the January 6 case back as far as possible, to after the election, if they can, because they've put a hold on the case progressing until they rule. It's fucked beyond fucked, and I'm kind of pissed that liberal Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Jackson didn't at least issue a dissent, if not spill all the tea about what the hell is going on.

So, fuck it. The Judiciary is co-equal, right? Democratic leaders should act like it and go on the attack. They should call into question the ethics of all of the conservatives, especially that dick Clarence Thomas, whose wife was literally coordinating with people during the insurrection. They should demand an explanation for why the case was taken, since none was given. They should organize protests and behave like the court has gone rogue because the court has fucking well gone rogue against democracy. (Although, for fuck's sake, don't show up at their houses or SWAT them. Just fucking don't.)

And make changing the court's makeup a focus of the 2024 election. I guarantee that if it were a 6-3 liberal court, Republicans would be running on how a GOP Senate and president could add justices until it shifted ideologically. The court has decided once again to help out one side in the election of a president, like it did in 2000. It's gotten political. So drag it off its pedestal and make it fight in the mud with the rest of the branches of government. 

Sure, it might not have an effect on a decision. But it will affect how the decision is seen by voters. The court's already full of shit to the majority of Americans because of the Dobbs decision declaring that states can turn women into brood mares. A good dose of political condemnation can prep voters to get even angrier if the court actually dares to grant some measure of immunity to Trump. It can hammer home that we are the only ones who can save this goddamn country from catastrophe. (And I don't want to hear what the tea-leaf readers say about what the court might do. They were all sure that the case wouldn't be taken and the appeals decision would stand. They told us that was what the delay meant. Their tea leaves were wrong, as vegetation-based predictions usually are.)

The hands-off approach to attacking the Supreme Court hasn't done a goddamn thing. Well, screw it. Let them know that they may be human beings who shit and fart and fuck, but so are the rest of us.

2/23/2024

Get Your Filthy Faith Out of Our Secular Legal System

One of the hopes and dreams for Jesus-fellating right-wingers and fascists who know how to manipulate the Jesus fellaters is that the 2024 election will hasten the establishment of a Christian nationalist government for this damned country. That means, among other scary shit, laws come directly from an invisible sky wizard or, you know, "God," and the book of fiction that is the Christian bible. (Just to be fair and clear, all books of fables about sky wizards and their earth-bound superfriends and relatives are fictional, no matter which flavor they happen to be.) And it means that you will need to follow what they claim their sky wizard tells them, whether you believe in that sky wizard or not.

In the past week. two judges, one on the Alabama Supreme Court and one on the U.S. Supreme Court, issued opinions that they didn't have to issue just to put forth the idea that the law needs to take into account what "God" thinks about shit. Seriously, the decisions in the cases, which they agree with, were completed and then they went and added their own bullshit side opinions just so they could flog for crazed right-wing Christianity.

Over at the Supreme Court (motto: "Harming as many people as possible as quickly as we can"), the justices declined to hear a case from Missouri "about people removed from a jury after voicing religious objections to gay relationships." More precisely, Jean Finney, a female employee for the Missouri Department of Corrections, was suing because a male co-worker retaliated against her for being in a same-sex relationship with the man's ex-wife. During jury selection, which, again, was in Missouri, Finney's attorney asked prospective jurors, "How many of you went to a religious organization growing up where it was taught that people that are homosexuals shouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else because it was a sin with what they did?" A bunch raised their hands because, again, Missouri. Three jurors were excluded by the judge for their anti-gay bias when they said they couldn't set aside their belief that their sky wizard will be angry with them if they're nice to a lesbian. The state lost the case and appealed based on the exclusion of homophobes for Jesus. Other courts denied the appeal, and the Supreme Court let the verdict stand.

And that should have been that. It's a rational decision, one that even the conservatives went along with because of procedural issues with the state. But then fuckin' Samuel Alito, who wrote a dickish dissent in the Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage, had to say fuckin' something. See, Sammy's sad because he feels this is unfair, that people who say they have to deny rights to the gays shouldn't be treated any differently when they're in a position to deny rights to the gays. Scribbles Sammy, "Americans who do not hide their adherence to traditional religious beliefs about homosexual conduct will be 'labeled as bigots and treated as such' by the government." He's quoting his own Obergefell dissent there. 

Finney's lawyer was worried, quite rightly, that the "conduct" of her client involved activities that the Christ brigade thinks should be punished, you know, eternally. But Sammy doesn't think that's enough to exclude them from the jury. "When a court, a quintessential state actor, finds that a person is ineligible to serve on a jury because of his or her religious beliefs, that decision implicates fundamental rights," he whines. He says he would have wanted the court to take the case because of the constitutional issues, but the state fucked up procedural stuff and so, sorry, not this time. However, Alito is indicating he wants jurors to be allowed to bring their religious prejudices to the justice system.

Let's be perfectly clear, though. If you think an invisible sky wizard is commanding you to be a bigot, you're just a fucking bigot, and you should be treated like a fucking bigot. The rest of us don't give a fuck about your faith unless you try to impose it on the rest of us. You can choose to believe or not. You can choose to act on those beliefs. And that's on you. But you'll have to wait until Sammy gets his chance to baptize the law.

However, down in Alabama (state motto: "Are we worse than Mississippi? Maybe"), by a 7-2 decision, the state's Supreme Court declared that frozen embryos are the legal equivalent of children and thus if you dispose of unused embryos after your IVF treatment is successful, you've essentially killed kids. The mad legal reasoning on this is some clusterfuck of Alabama bullshit: the Sanctity of Life Amendment to the state constitution, as well as the Wrongful Death of a Minor law. The motherfuckers on the state court have long said that "unborn" children fall under the law. And the horrific implications of the decision are just being felt as hospitals and clinics that do IVF are saying that they can't risk their employees, doctors, nurses, whoever going to jail, so they are pausing something that is literally about women who definitely want children. In saving the zygotesicles, the court majority is preventing actual births.

The majority opinion is batshit enough, but Chief Justice Tom Parker, whose look says, "I really want to enslave women," took the extra step of writing a concurring opinion because he wanted to kick out the Jesus jams hard. After leaps of legal and theological logic that would make a kangaroo jealous, at the end, Parker gets to what he really, really wants to say. And, fuck it, I'm just gonna quote it in full because you need to behold the bonkers fuckery in all its wretchedness:

"The People of Alabama have declared the public policy of this State to be that unborn human life is sacred. We believe that each human being, from the moment of conception, is made in the image of God, created by Him to reflect His likeness. It is as if the People of Alabama took what was spoken of the prophet Jeremiah and applied it to every unborn person in this state: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were born I sanctified you.' Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV 1982). All three branches of government are subject to a constitutional mandate to treat each unborn human life with reverence. Carving out an exception for the people in this case, small as they were, would be unacceptable to the People of this State, who have required us to treat every human being in accordance with the fear of a holy God who made them in His image."

How about that? Everyone in Alabama has to abide by this jackass's ultra-conservative imaginary friend. 

First off, I know this isn't the most important part of the whole thing, but that line from the Book of Jeremiah is tossed around by anti-choicers all the time. It even shows up on their posters and bumper stickers and shit. And it doesn't fucking mean what they are saying it means. This isn't God making some general statement about loving everyone. No, it's God trying to convince Jeremiah to get off his ass and go be a prophet. That's why he sanctified Jeremiah. The rest of the verse is "Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." It's a guilt trip by God before he gets all pissy about it. God's saying, "Look at all the shit I did so you could go be my spokesman." Seems way more specific in context. Then Jeremiah is all, "But I'm too young," and then God is all, "The fuck you say. I'll tell you what to do. Now fucking do it." So even Parker's cheap use of a bible verse to back him up is garbage.

But think of what that piece of the concurrence means. Imagine being Muslim or Jewish or, god forbid, an atheist in Alabama, and reading this shit. It's a big "fuck you" to anyone who doesn't believe in the cruelest version of Christianity. Parker believes it. He fucking well said, "God created government, and the fact that we have let it go into the possession of others, it’s heartbreaking." He totally supports this weirdo thing called the Seven Mountain Mandate, which is not some gay fun on a long camping trip. No, it's this bugfuck nuts idea that seven "mountains" that have "cultural influence" should be filtered through Jesus's ball hair: religion, family, government, education, media, arts/entertainment, and business. Speaker of the House and man who definitely isn't watching chicken porn Mike Johnson is into it. So is rat-bearded Ted Cruz. Or so they say. Who knows what these fucks really believe.

And to those of us who don't believe, it's madness. It's undemocratic. And it's filled with hate for women, for LGBTQ people, for anyone who isn't willing to say, "Yes, I believe an invisible sky wizard controls us all and will grant us wishes if we tell him we love him all the time." I mean, I might think that people like Alito and Parker actually believe this shit if they didn't constantly make decisions that seem to be the exact opposite of what the sky wizard says you should do for the poor, the hungry, the less fortunate right there in his Big Book of Stories. 

What's even scarier is how willing con men like noted rapist and fraud Donald Trump are willing to use Christian nationalism as a tool in their fascist chest. We're just gonna bumblefuck into Gilead.

(Bonus quote: Parker dismisses one of his fellow justices who wrote a dissent in the Alabama decision. He says, "To the extent that Justice Cook is predicting that IVF will now end in Alabama, that prediction does not seem to be well-founded." If Parker were capable of anything like self-reflection, he sure as fuck owes Cook an apology.)